On December 15, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards presented a comprehensive plan to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Edwards' policy establishes new standards and safeguards to stop the spread of unconventional weapons, gives the international community new tools to punish nations that violate these standards, and improves America's ability to become an international leader in this effort. Governor Howard Dean and Senator John Kerry also recently advanced strong, new proposals. Below, we summarize each of the three initiatives, and we will track all of the candidates' positions though the campaign.
Despite more than 10 years of direct and indirect negotiations, threats, confrontations, and analysis, the United States still does not know with any certainty the answer to the question: Will North Korea verifiably eliminate all of its nuclear capabilities if the terms are right?
Charles Krauthammer has been an influential columnist and longtime critic of arms control and multilateral non-proliferation treaties. In February 2004, the American Enterprise Institute will present Dr. Krauthammer, who "profoundly influenced both American foreign policy doctrine and debate," with the Irving Kristol Award for making "extraordinary intellectual or practical contributions to improved government policy, social welfare, or political understanding." Those who support and want to reinforce the non-proliferation regime have a responsibility to understand the criticisms of the regime. Below are excerpts from two of Krauthammer's articles that AEI cites as highlights of his writing:
The Taliban are regrouping in the lawless tribal region in the Afghan-Pakistan border. Poor strategy in Afghanistan is partly to blame but a key part of the problem is Pakistan. U.S. support for Musharraf who has helped capture most Al-Qaeda operatives, has meant that jihadi terrorists which the regime employs against India have been ignored. This will aggravate the problems in Afghanistan.
The failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has led to a close scrutiny of the role of intelligence agencies in both the United States and Britain. As Brigadier General (ret.) Shlomo Brom, points out, Israeli intelligence, which was in full agreement with American and British intelligence estimates, has, however, remained "in the shadows." General Brom, a senior research associate at Tel Aviv University's Jaffe Center, calls for an inquiry into the performance of Israeli intelligence agencies. In an article titled "The War in Iraq: An Intelligence Failure," first published in "Strategic Assessment," General Brom makes three key points: (1) Israeli intelligence agencies failed because they did not realize that Saddam Hussein's main goal was survival; (2) Israeli intelligence tends to adopt the worst-case scenario; (3) Inflated threat assessments exact a heavy price.
It is unlikely that the meeting between Wen Jiabao and George Bush will result in any drastic changes in either country's policies. Nonetheless, it will provide a valuable opportunity for the two leaders to clarify their respective positions and hopefully bridge some of the differences that exist on key issues between China and the United States.
Given the centrality of the Taiwan issue in U.S.-China relations, Democratic and Republican administrations alike have supported democracy and freedom for Taiwan while maintaining a stable and cooperative relationship with China. When American policy loses its balance, the Washington-Beijing-Taipei triangular relationship begins to come apart, to the detriment of all.