Despite predictions that the American march into Baghdad would unleash either a wave of democratization or a plague of repression throughout the region, in reality most Middle Eastern states are too preoccupied with domestic problems to be moved profoundly by events in Iraq. Iraq will have a political impact on the region, but changes are likely to come in smaller steps than commonly predicted.
The experience of recent decades shows that while the direct application of military force can certainly oust defiant dictators, military threats and bluster almost never do. While rapid regime change seemingly offers a quick fix, the U.S. will still need sustained diplomatic solutions to its security problems.
Ever since the Soviet Union collapsed, the independent states that emerged from the wreckage have tried to sort out their trade relations. But the flow of goods between countries continues to contract even more than it should. What is needed is free trade.
The heat is on for Iran to clarify its nuclear ambitions. On June 19, the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on Tehran to stop plans to begin enriching uranium and to allow "all access deemed necessary" to clarify questions over Iran's nuclear program. But the Board stopped short of declaring Iran in violation of its treaty obligations, nor did it refer the matter to the UN Security Council, as some U.S. officials had urged.
Regardless of whether Saddam Hussein had actual chemical or biological weapons, it is known with absolute certainty that Iraq had a large and well-trained cadre of scientists and technicians capable of producing such arms.
The only appropriate and useful basis for evaluating labor provisions of free trade agreements is whether those provisions are likely to be an effective means of protecting labor rights in the specific countries party to the agreement. This is too heavy a burden to place on any one trade agreement. When it comes to labor provisions, it is certainly true that "one size does not fit all".
On June 7, 2003, the Defense Department released an unclassified excerpt of a 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency study on Iraq's chemical warfare program in which it stated that there is "no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, or where Iraq has -- or will -- establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities." Significantly, the DIA study also implied that UN inspections could stop Iraq from restarting any chemical weapons program, when the analysts concluded, "...we believe Iraq ...can reconstitute a chemical warfare program in the absence of an international inspection regime."
The United States is currently pushing the International Atomic Energy Agency to press charges against Iran for technical violations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. But the answer to this nuclear challenge is in Iraq, not Vienna. Post-war, Iran's leaders are nervous enough to look for accommodations with Washington.
For the first time, Congress made the environment a principal negotiating objective, challenging the administration the executive branch to incorporate environmental provisions directly into trade agreements, and to strengthen our trading partner's capacity to protect the environment and human health.