The new U.S. National Security Strategy says America "may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran."
Asked yesterday if the U.S. would defend Israel from Iran militarily, Mister Bush said, "You bet, we'll defend Israel."
Mister Bush neglected to mention that Iran at present has nothing for us to defend Israel against. As I outlined in "Iran and Irrational Security Strategy," Iran has no nuclear weapons, claims to have no ambition to acquire or develop them, and its conventional forces are incapable of projecting power against Israel. Iran's conventional forces could conceivably engage U.S. forces in combat, but only because U.S. forces are stationed in two countries adjacent to Iran (Iraq and Afghanistan). And they'd be crazy to do it.
The Security Strategy also states that, "Iran has violated its Non-Proliferation Treaty safeguards obligations."
In February, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made ominous noises about "other means" of making Iran live up to these obligations.
America recently agreed to provide India with fissile materials for its nuclear power plants, but the pact provides no restrictions on India's 8 reactors that produce plutonium for weapons. India has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The Strategy further says that "The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism[.]" Saudi Arabia and Egypt have also been known to harbor terrorists. The Strategy doesn't say anything about that, though it does refer to Egypt and Saudi Arabia as our "traditional allies."
Korea Cat Calls
The Security Strategy maintains the Bush administration's policy of preemption.
Yesterday, North Korea North Korea announced that it had built nuclear weapons to counter the U.S. nuclear threat.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said, "As we declared, our strong revolutionary might put in place all measures to counter possible U.S. pre-emptive strike… Pre-emptive strike is not the monopoly of the United States."
The U.S. urged North Korea to return to international nuclear negotiations instead of making "inflammatory statements."
The National Security Strategy accuses North Korean of posing "a serious nuclear proliferation challenge."
A North Korean spokesman called that accusation "…a robbery-like declaration of war. Through this document, the Bush administration declared to the world that it is a group of war fanatics."
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said America has no plans to invade or attack North Korea, although joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises are scheduled for this weekend.
The Security Strategy also says that America's relationships with long-time nuclear power Russia will depend on that country improving its democracy record and foreign policies.
On March 20, the Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement that said:
Should we understand this means that in the immediate future U.S.-Russian relations face far from the best of times? One cannot escape the impression that [Washington] is using populist slogans in its own interests… No one has, or can have, a monopoly on the interpretation of democracy. One can contribute to the creation of democracy, but each state must follow its own path toward democracy, as did and does the United States.
On March 1, Mister Bush paid a "surprise" visit to Afghanistan and praised the country on its "progress toward democracy."
CNN reports today that Afghani Abdul Rahman has been arrested and is on trial for converting to Christianity. Democratic Afghanistan's constitution forbids rejection of Islam. Rahman and other Christian converts are eligible for the death penalty.
Security Strategy Scorecard
We've entered the fourth year of a war with a country that supposedly had an active nuclear weapons program but turned out not to.
We're making boo-noise about taking military action against a country that doesn't have nuclear weapons and says it doesn’t seek any.
We've promised a country that admits it has nuclear weapons and has threatened to use them preemptively that we won't attack or invade it.
We're supporting the nuclear program of a country that hasn't signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
We're criticizing the democratic process of the country with the world's second largest nuclear arsenal.
We're praising the democratic process of a country in which being Christian is a capital crime.
And that's just the goofy stuff we're doing overseas.
On the Home Front
This morning, Don Imus criticized Helen Thomas for being disrespectful to Mister Bush at yesterday's White House press conference.
What Helen did that Don considered so impertinent was ask Bush why he went to war in Iraq, and persisted on getting an answer when Bush didn't give her one.
How dare anyone expect a straight answer from the president of the United States? This one, anyway.
Mister Bush has said the Iraq invasion wasn't about oil or Israel.
Mister Bush's Iraq policy was formulated by the conservative think tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
In 1998, the PNAC wrote a letter to President Clinton urging him to remove Saddam Hussein from power through military force in order to protect "…our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil…"
Among the signatories of that letter were future key figures in the Bush II administration: Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Richard Perle, Richard Armitage, Paula Dobriansky, Zalmay Khalilzad, Peter Rodman, and William Schneider, Jr.
Current Vice President Dick Cheney was a PNAC charter member, as was his former chief of staff Lewis Libby.
I haven't heard anyone else mention this, but I find it interesting that Mister Bush claims we didn't invade Iraq to defend Israel, but we'll use military force to defend Israel from Iran. Iraq conceivably could have brought military force to bear on Israel, but Iran, at present, poses no military threat to Israel.
At yesterday's White House press conference, Mister Bush said that it would be up to a "future president" to decide when to bring the troops home.
Heck, if you didn't know better, you might think the purpose of our foreign policy and strategy is to make sure we have an excuse to be in a war for as long as Mister Bush is in the White House.
I pity the poor slob who has to clean up the mess Bush leaves.