Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Security Strategy: Comedy or Tragedy?

No, it's not a remake of the film Doctor Strangelove. It's the real foreign policy and security strategy really being conducted in real-time by the real United States of America in the real world.

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.

Bear Hunting

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

In summary:

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.


  1. You mention a number of times that Iran says it isn't seeking nuclear weapons. Does that mean you trust the government of Iran to tell you if they were seeking them?

  2. I don't know what to think. I don't trust the govt. of Iran, but I don't trust the Bush administration either.

    Between Iran's president and our president, which one do you estimate has told you the most whoppers?

  3. Joffan12:26 PM

    It seems to me that the contrast is between Iran, which says it isn't seeking nuclear weapons, and other states who say they are seeking or already have them. At least the Iranians are making the right noises (on this subject).

  4. I think the President of Iran has told some whoppers that rank up there with the biggest ones I've ever heard (i.e. the holocaust never happened).

    I agree with you on the threat from Iran (or lack thereof) but I don't include "because they said so" among the reasons why I don't think they're a threat. On the contrary, I am fairly convinced they'd be happy to acquire nuclear weapons if they could do so.

    But no, I don't trust the President of Iran (or, unforunately, the President of the U.S.).

  5. The issue is about who's being made out to be the biggest villian--for now we've chosen the one with the biggest mouth and the least amount of rear end to back it up.

  6. Much of our present foreign policy makes sense via a playground analogy. We're the bully who only picks on kids who we know can do us minimal damage. The other kids (e.g., that brat with the fugly eyeglasses, North Korea), we kiss up to.

    What I think is an interesting question: if our govt is dead set on military action against Iran, is there anything we the constituents can do to stop them? Even if the Dems take Congress in November, Congress doesn't have the best record when it comes to checking the Admin's military desires.

  7. Doug:

    I'm not sure there is a whole lot we can do. 1) I don't think the Dems will take Congress in November; particularly not both chambers, and if the election were tomorrow I'm not sure they'd take either; and 2) I don't think the Bush administration cares what the constitutents think and they'd probably frame any action as part of the war on terror and try to cite authority from existing resolutions/acts of congress, etc., or, if Congress came right out against it, they'd say it was an inherent authority of the President.

  8. We are set upon a road
    And that road is mankind
    It is dangerous
    It is loathsome
    It is beautiful
    Perhaps you have seen its path
    In paintings most stunning
    In the pirouette of night
    In the openhanded gesture
    Or glanced in the sleeping child

    We are set upon this road
    And that road is mankind
    Try as we might
    We cannot take another
    It is this one we’ve been granted
    This one we’ve oft smiled upon
    This is the path of our founding
    We may decorate it with laughter
    And desecrate it, sully it, with dread
    But we may not absolve its occasion
    When wars conjure the spirit’s bed

    We are set upon this road
    And that road is mankind
    A shower of stars cannot tap it
    The impoverishment of man's good
    May slim chance alter living’s course
    It is this chance, this aperture
    Of which we must seize, grasp of
    Shilly-shallying of this anointed gift
    Would be man’s greatest sin
    Grasp and hold dear friends
    Take hold of this and begin again

  9. William Bollinger7:58 AM

    Actually, there's plenty we could do, but too many of "us" are staring slack-jawed and glassy-eyed at Faux Nooz, sucking up the "truth" the government wants "us" to think. Until the American sheeple are willing to put a brick through the tube and start thinking for themselves, this problem will continue.

  10. Good point, William. I supposed I should say there is not a lot a few of us can do, but it will take a huge galvanization of the American people to do something about it, and I don't see that happening.

  11. Jeff, I haven't been in here in a long time, but I have followed a lot of your posts and never once have I disagreed with anything you have posted.

    We both have served our country honorably, without deceit, without a what's in it for me. We knew why we were there and why we served.

    I see people who are, in my opinion, unsure of which way to lean on this.

    I ask you as a Chief to a Commander, would you trust any of those in Bush's circle of advisors today, knowing what you know today and knowing their records of service for the past 5 and a half years? Being a Chief and a Motu Chief I wouldn't trust a one of these people.. I had seamen deuces with better judgement in their jobs than this group of loosers.. There is only one person that I trust less than a thief and that is a liar.. And these people are both...

    Commander, I would have been proud to have worked for you and I believe that you more than likely would have taken advice I passed to you. At least you would have weighed it and examined it and made a decision that we both could have lived with.. That is what the military does... Not this group... I place a deserter at the bottom of the human dregs and to have this morsel of fecal matter as commander in chief sickens me to no end...

    As we used to say in the old Navy, "Feather Merchants, each and every one of them." They make me ashamed of my government and ashamed to be called an american. I still worship the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I feel that they are 2 of the greatest documents ever written.. It's too bad that they are being shredded and thrown in the garbage...

  12. Ken,

    Thanks for stopping by again.

    This stuff is so difficult to discuss. It saddens me to no end to see the troops used this way. To see the administration behave so irresponsibly and getting away with it by demonizing the media and its opposition and hiding behind the troops (support our war or we'll shoot this dog.)

    For what it's worth, I think you can be ashamed of your government and still be proud of your country. Maybe I'm just compartmentalizing, but I've always thought of the two as separate things. The country's what real. The government is just a collection of public servants, whether they're elected, drafted, appointed, what have you.

    Thanks again for coming by and posting shipmate. Have a great weekend.


  13. Oh, I didn't answer your question. No, I don't trust any of them, or believe a single word they say.

  14. Jeff, I didn't mean American as my country, I meant american as a citizen, or populace, or a people...

    Don't really know how to word this, but I will fight against the situation and never lay down... I am one of the lucky ones, I have 2 nationalities... One that I am proud of, the other one that I am proud of for what has happend before but ashamed of for what is happening now.

    I no longer travel with a US Passport.
    I just don't want to be classified with all the extra baggage that comes with that passport and the distaste for what the present government has done to the reputation of the USA through out the world today...

    BTW, headed home on 1 April for a long deserved rest with my wife, kids, and grandkids... Been over 2 years since I have been home and my hands are missing the feel of the grip on an 80 lb. stump puller with a marlin on the other end...

    Oh and photos... Lots and Lots of photos... July is Fete and the Tahitians sure know how to party.. Get ready for some of the most lushious (?) ladies in the most exotic dance costumes that you will ever see...

  15. Ken,

    Sounds like a great time coming up. Enjoy!