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Bush Reaffirms Doctrine of 
Pre-emptive Strikes 

DEB RIECHMANN / AP 16mar2006

[National Security Strategy index at Whitehouse.gov | alternate website whitehouse.org ]

 

WASHINGTON —  Undaunted by the difficult war in Iraq, President George W. Bush reaffirmed Thursday his strike-first policy against perceived enemy countries while declaring that Iran may pose the biggest challenge of all for the United States.

In a 49-page national security report, the president said diplomacy is the U.S. preference in halting the spread of nuclear and other heinous weapons.

graphic by göttlich -- Bush uses terror as a means to justify his very existence in office.

Mindfully.org note:
The trouble is that Bush et al get to decide if a pre-emptive strike is justified. Judging by their record, they are incapable of dealing with reality or even recognizing it. We strongly suggest reading about the possible causes of the World Trade Center collapses?

"If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self-defence, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur — even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack," Bush wrote.

Titled National Security Strategy, the report summarizes Bush's plan for protecting the United States and directing U.S. relations with other countries. It is an updated version of a report Bush issued in 2002.

In the earlier report, a year after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush underscored his administration's adoption of a pre-emptive policy, marking the end of a deterrent military strategy that dominated the Cold War.

The latest report makes it clear Bush hasn't changed his mind, even though no weapons of mass destruction — the primary reason given for invading Iraq — were ever found.

"When the consequences of an attack with weapons of mass destruction are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize. . . . The place of pre-emption in our national security strategy remains the same," Bush wrote.

The report had harsh words for Iran. It accused Tehran of supporting terrorists, threatening Israel and disrupting democratic reform in Iraq. Bush said diplomacy to halt Tehran's suspected nuclear weapons work must prevail to avert a conflict.

"This diplomatic effort must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided," Bush said.

He did not say what would happen if international negotiations with Iran failed. The Bush administration currently is working to persuade Russia and China to support a proposed UN Security Council resolution demanding that Iran end its uranium enrichment program.

Bush had similar words for North Korea, which he said poses a serious nuclear proliferation challenge. Bush also accused North Korea of counterfeiting U.S. currency, trafficking in narcotics, threatening its neighbours and starving its people.

"The North Korean regime needs to change these polices, open up its political system and afford freedom to its people," Bush said. "In the interim, we will continue to take all necessary measures to protect our national and economic security against the adverse effects of their bad conduct."

Bush issued rebukes to Russia and China and called Syria a tyranny that harbours terrorists and sponsors terrorist activity.

On Russia, Bush said recent trends show a waning commitment to democratic freedoms and institutions. "Strengthening our relationship will depend on the policies, foreign and domestic, that Russia adopts," he said.

The United States was also nudging China down a road of reform and openness.

"China's leaders must realize, however, that they cannot stay on this peaceful path while holding on to old ways of thinking and acting that exacerbate concerns throughout the region and the world," Bush wrote.

These "old ways" include enlarging China's military in a non-transparent way, expanding trade, yet seeking to direct markets rather than opening them up, and supporting energy-rich countries without regard to their misrule or misbehaviour at home or abroad, Bush said.

The report is laden with strategies for advancing democracy across the globe, a theme of Bush's second inaugural address.

The president said his administration was advancing this goal by holding high-level meetings at the White House with democratic reformers in repressive counties; using foreign aid to support fair elections, women's rights and religious freedom and pushing to abolish human trafficking.

Countering suggestions that he favours a go-it-alone approach to foreign policy, Bush emphasized multilateral problem-solving.

"Many of the problems we face — from the threat of pandemic disease to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to terrorism, to human trafficking, to natural disasters — reach across borders," he said.

"Effective multinational efforts are essential to solve these problems. Yet history has shown that only when we do our part will others do theirs. America must continue to lead."

source: http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2006/03/16/1491097-ap.html 16mar2006


Bush to Reassert U.S. Right to Pre-emptive Attacks 

PETER BAKER / Washington Post Published 16mar2006

 

WASHINGTON — President Bush plans to issue a new national security strategy Thursday reaffirming his doctrine of pre-emptive war against terrorists and hostile states with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, despite the troubled experience in Iraq.

The document, an articulation of U.S. strategic priorities required by law every four years, lays out a robust view of the country's power and an assertive view of its responsibility to bring change around the world. On everything from genocide to human trafficking to AIDS, the strategy describes itself as "idealistic about goals and realistic about means."

The strategy expands on the original security framework developed by the Bush administration in September 2002, before the invasion of Iraq. That strategy shifted U.S. foreign policy away from decades of deterrence and containment toward a more aggressive stance of attacking enemies before they attack the United States.

The pre-emption doctrine generated fierce debate at the time, and many critics believe the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has fatally undermined an essential assumption of the strategy—that intelligence about an enemy's capabilities and intentions can be sufficiently reliable to justify preventive war.

In his revised version, Bush offers no second thoughts about the pre-emption policy.

In a nod to critics in Europe, the document places a greater emphasis on working in concert with allies and declares diplomacy to be "our strong preference" in tackling the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

"If necessary, however, under longstanding principles of self-defense, we do not rule out use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack," the document continues.

The White House planned to release the 49-page National Security Strategy on Thursday. The White House gave advance copies to The Washington Post and two other newspapers.

The strategy has no legal force but serves as a guide for policies in a range of military, diplomatic and other arenas.

Without saying what action would be taken against them, the strategy singles out seven nations as prime examples of "despotic systems"—North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Burma and Zimbabwe. Iran and North Korea receive special attention because of their nuclear programs, and the strategy vows in both cases "to take all necessary measures" to protect the United States against them.

source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0603160178mar16,1,7033001.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed 16mar2006


Updated Strategy Backs Iraq Strike and Cites Iran Peril

DAVID E. SANGER / New York Times 16mar2006

 

WASHINGTON, March 15 — An updated version of the Bush administration's national security strategy, the first in more than three years, gives no ground on the decision to order a pre-emptive attack on Iraq in 2003, and identifies Iran as the country likely to present the single greatest future challenge to the United States.

The strategy document declares that American-led diplomacy to halt Iran's program to enrich nuclear fuel "must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided," a near final draft of the document says. But it carefully avoids spelling out what steps the United States might take if diplomacy fails, and it makes no such direct threat of confrontation with North Korea, which boasts that it has already developed nuclear weapons.

When asked about the omission in an interview today, Stephen J. Hadley, President Bush's national security adviser and the principal author of the new report, said "the sentence applies to both Iran and North Korea."

The 48-page draft of the new "National Security Strategy of the United States," which was released by the White House before a formal presentation by Mr. Hadley on Thursday, is an effort to both expand on and assess the security strategy published by the administration in September 2002, a year after the terrorist attacks against New York and the Pentagon upended American foreign policy.

But in a reflection of new challenges, the document also covers territory that the first strategy sidestepped, warning China, for example, against "old ways of thinking and acting" in its competition for energy resources.

China's leaders, it says, are "expanding trade, but acting as if they can somehow 'lock up' energy supplies around the world or seek to direct markets rather than opening them up — as if they can follow a mercantilism borrowed from a discredited era."

No such discussion appears in the earlier version of the strategy, and Mr. Hadley said the warning was an effort to get China's leaders to think about "the broader constellation" of their interests.

In a reflection of growing tensions between Washington and Moscow, the administration also expresses deep worry that Russia is falling off the path to democracy that Mr. Bush spent much of his first term celebrating.

"Recent trends regrettably point toward a diminishing commitment to democratic freedoms and institutions," the document reads. In a much tougher tone than the 2002 document, it emphasizes that the future of the relationship with Russia "will depend on the policies, foreign and domestic, that Russia adopts."

Mr. Hadley, who was the deputy to Condoleezza Rice, who was the national security adviser when the 2002 document was produced, said the effort was not intended to formulate new strategy, but to "take stock of what has been accomplished and describe the new challenges we face."

He noted, for example, that dealing with economic globalization — a subject the administration rarely talked about directly until recently — constituted a new chapter, and that in other areas "we've learned something over the past four years."

But chief among the sections that remain unchanged is the most controversial section of the 2002 strategy: the elevation of pre-emptive strikes to a central part of United States strategy.

"The world is better off if tyrants know that they pursue W.M.D. at their own peril," the strategy says. It acknowledges misjudgments about Iraq's weapons program that preceded the invasion three years ago, but it is clearly unwilling to give ground on that decision. The report notes that "there will always be some uncertainty about the status of hidden programs since proliferators are often brutal regimes that go to great lengths to conceal their activities."

While the new document hews to many of the administration's familiar themes, it contains changes that seem born of bitter experience. Throughout the document there is talk of the need for "effective democracies," a code phrase, some of its drafters said, for countries that do not just hold free elections but also build democratic institutions and spread their benefits to their populations. "I don't think there was as much of an appreciation of the need for that in 2002," one senior official said.

The new document is also less ideological in tone, and far more country-specific. Syria, for example, received no mention in the older document, but it is cited as a sponsor of terrorism in this one.

Mr. Hadley and other officials said that in using the word "confrontation" the administration did not intend to signal a greater willingness to use military force against Iran's nuclear production sites. But it did indicate a willingness to step up pressure against Iranian leaders, including the threat of penalties that the United States is pressing in the United Nations Security Council.

Even as the White House edited the final drafts of the strategy, the House International Relations Committee voted 37 to 3 for legislation to end American economic aid to any country that invests in Iran's energy sector. The administration has opposed the bill out of concern that it would interfere with efforts to form a common front against Iran in the Security Council.

Still, the wording of the warning about confrontation with Iran comes just two pages after the strategy reiterates the 2002 warning that the United States reserves the right to take "anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack." The juxtaposition is unlikely to be lost on Iran's leaders.

Sections of the new document discuss at greater length the need to strengthen alliances, with specific references to supporting NATO and reforming the United Nations.

Following Mr. Bush's new push to ward off what he has called a dangerous shift toward isolationism, there is a section that refers to the need to "engage the opportunities and confront the challenges of globalization," a word that did not appear in the 2002 document.

The passage hails the "new flows of trade, investment, information and technology," which it says are transforming national security in every area from the spread of H.I.V./AIDS to avian flu to "environmental destruction, whether caused by human behavior or cataclysmic megadisasters such as flood, hurricanes, earthquakes or tsunamis." It stays away from the subject of global warming.

source: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/16/politics/16strategy.html?_r=1&ei=5094&en=fcc3c73dec0f63f4&hp=&ex=1142485200&oref=slogin&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print 16mar2006

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