May 15, 2005

What Is World Order For?

How should the United States approach problems overseas that in the short term affect our interests only indirectly or in a minor way, but in the long term may become serious issues?

A temptation in such cases -- it is not unique to American officials -- is to do and say the minimum possible. Especially in administrations focused on the requirements of domestic campaign politics, the exercise of leadership is not often thought worthwhile if it does not bring some kind of domestic political return. A second temptation is to "stand on principle," the operative word in that expression being the verb. Sometimes there is no alternative to this, but standing in place as it involves taking no action and no risk is no more attractive when it is wise as when it is merely easy.

A final temptation is to treat each problem as a case, unrelated to anything else and to be resolved or not depending primarily on what the United States does about it directly. Henry Kissinger among others thought lawyers were particularly apt to look at foreign policy in this way, perhaps because in his own experience as National Security Adviser his chief bureaucratic obstacle was an able and dignified but somewhat obtuse former Attorney General. But arguably the most successful Secretary of State in our modern history, Dean Acheson, was a very good lawyer, a protege of Brandeis and Frankfurter. Proving, I suppose, that even those most subject to temptation needn't yield to it.

Resisting these temptations can leave one open to the wisdom that everything in foreign policy is related to everything else, and that while there are many things America cannot do itself we may be able to cause others to do some of them.

Let's first of all be clear about what this does not mean. It does not mean looking to the UN or any other international organization as the essential part of a solution to every problem. I am not anti-UN; I think it can be an aid to diplomacy, and a means for diverse countries to address technical issues or those involving no major controversy between nations. But that's about it. Count on the UN to address controversial, pressing international problems and you'll be waiting till doomsday.

Nor should we count on a more generally defined "world community" and its conception of international law. International law, like the UN, has its uses, removing from the realm of the political any number of routine disputes that it is more convenient to resolve through appeal to rule and precedent. But law to be effective must reflect shared values, and to be just cannot restrain only the powerful while leaving the wicked to do as they please. It now gratifies the vanity of the French buristocracy and its European disciples to think of both the UN and international law primarily as tools with which to constrain the options of the United States. In some circumstances they might be of some use in addressing difficult and disruptive regional situations, but their advocates in Europe are not interested.

Finally, it does not mean predicating every American effort to cooperate with another country on whether we approve of its domestic political arrangements. It never has before, and perhaps this point may seem so obvious as to not require restatement. The current bipartisan enthusiasm for democratization in all countries around the globe, however, leaves me in some doubt as to whether everyone in Washington has this clearly in mind.

The domestic arrangements of some countries, of course, are matters of legitimate American and international concern. Fifteen years ago Zimbabwe could feed itself, and even export food; it was an example other small African countries seeking to develop could hope to emulate. Now it is a basket case, its government dependent on international handouts to keep part of its population from starving to death and willing to use its food aid as a political weapon. Sudan is expelling refugees by the tens of thousands while killing many of those left behind; it has done this, in different parts of its territory, for about two decades now. And of course North Korea is seeking a nuclear arsenal even as its government's policies drive its people toward starvation and itself toward collapse.

These situations ought to concern us. They ought to concern other countries even more, though, and we do not use that fact to our advantage nearly as often as we could. It is too glib to say that the solution to the Zimbabwe problem has to go through South Africa; to Sudan, through Egypt; to North Korea, through China. Each of the larger countries in these instances have reasons for the actions they have taken, or rather and for the most part have not taken. But in each case those reasons have led them to follow a course fraught with indignity, dishonor or great physical risk. Other governments are no less likely to do foolish things than ours is, and as we are able to correct our mistakes, so are they.

North Korea is the most urgent problem for the United States, both because a North Korean nuclear arsenal is a grave regional threat and because our relations with China are involved. China has supported North Korea over the years for reasons touching on the internal politics of the Chinese Communist Party, and has been rewarded not only by the current nuclear crisis but by the threat that a North Korean collapse could bring a flood of refugees and turmoil to China's northeastern provinces. Understandably but unwisely China has sought to sweep this latter problem under the rug and hope that time eases the threat. It won't. The Chinese leadership may also consider that even a nuclear-armed North Korea would not provoke the Japanese into seeking their own nuclear deterrent, which is probably wrong also. Finally, China has something of an international reputation for indifference to human suffering, a reputation that would get much worse should North Korea's internal situation deteriorate suddenly and an unsympathetic Chinese response be widely publicized.

Propping up a Communist government does give nominal Communists in Beijing such gratification as they can find in a regime that daily shakes rhetorical fists at the United States. But from the standpoint of China's own interests its government's policy toward North Korea -- not just the regime's nuclear program, but the regime itself -- has been massively unwise. It could not hurt for the American government to make this diagnosis public, and in private offer its prescription: Chinese cooperation in stopping North Korea's nuclear program, and steps by Beijing to remove the current North Korean leadership and replace it with one amenable to Chinese direction on developing the country and keeping its population where it is, in which cause the United States would be willing to provide assistance.

There are many potential difficulties in this course of action. China's historical memory of foreign interference in its own affairs, the bloody history of the Chinese Communist senior leadership that -- let us be frank -- makes it less sensitive than Westerners are to the vast human suffering in North Korea, and the temptation for Chinese officials faced with many other difficult issues to wait for the United States to solve China's North Korean problem for it somehow are all reasons or at least excuses for Beijing to kick this problem down the road as far as it can, and worry about a North Korean collapse when it happens.

The problem for China is that it will happen, and when it does it will not happen quietly. Pyongyang has already demonstrated that it is likely to break any agreement it reaches with the United States on nuclear weapons, and if Kim Jong-il had ever wanted to take his country in a direction that didn't put it on a course for economic collapse he would have done it by now. By waiting on the United States to negotiate a settlement of the nuclear question while ignoring the threat to regional stability posed by the Pyongyang regime's internal policies the Chinese are liable to end up with faced with both problems at once. We cannot force Beijing to act to avoid them, but we can encourage it.

I have already written several times here about Darfur and its relation to our problems with the broader Arab culture. Quite evidently I am in a small minority that even acknowledges there might be such a relation and is not concerned that mentioning the possibility is unforgiveably impolite. I will not reprise the arguments on this subject other than to express doubt that an Arab culture indifferent to genocide will ever be reliably hostile to terrorism. That is the implication of Darfur of most immediate concern to us.

But for Egypt in particular there is another implication of the interminable fighting in Sudan, having to do with Egypt's position as a leader in the Arab world. To be honest I don't know if Egyptians today even want such a position, and in particular if their government has any ambitions beyond continuing its own existence with as little change as possible. At one time, though, Egypt sought with great energy, and was willing to pay a heavy price for the role of Arab leader -- in the '50s and '60s on behalf of romantic objectives of dubious worth, and with more calculation under Sadat in the 1970s. There is some truth in the idea that within the Arab world Egypt is the only nation amidst a collection of tribes, and it may strike Egyptians as something of an indignity that its government's official statements on the crisis in Darfur parrot those of the notoriously bloodthirsty government in Khartoum. Then, too, the victims are Darfur are almost all fellow Muslims; their killers presumably have reasons for killing them, but these can't mean anything to Egyptian Muslims. Finally Egypt could lead other Arab governments troubled by American pressures to democratize and wishing to buy some time, to distract their people with a worthy and pious cause that would not for a change involve clashes with the West. Quite a bit of time could be bought through an Egyptian-led campaign to end genocide against African Muslims.

Obviously, if this were an easy call for the government in Cairo it would have happened already. Governments that rule in defiance of public opinion are not always good at manipulating it, and sadly it is also true that while Arabs tend to expect that their problems should be the problems of all Muslims they do not expect that the reverse is true at all. And is it really true that Egyptians can believe that before Egypt can be free she must be great?

What we do know is that the West cannot end the genocide in Sudan without the help of the Arab countries, and that the Arab countries, led by Egypt, could end the genocide without help from the West beyond the humanitarian activities underway now. And we have seen, within living memory, an Egyptian leader who conducted himself the way he thought the leader of a great nation should. We will not know what is possible unless we ask.

Zimbabwe should be the easiest case of all. South Africa's economy has been hurt by the politically-imposed economic collapse of its northern neighbor; a steady stream of economic refugees flows across the border every day. Hardly anything done by Robert "The Beast" Mugabe's government over the last five years or so has benefited South Africa at all, and South Africa has many means of pressuring the government in Harare economically. Outside of Africa, most powerful countries are sympathetic to South Africa and regard Mugabe with distaste; they would prefer that the strongest country in the region lead the way in promoting stability where it is needed so desperately.

Unfortunately South Africa, while a democracy, is effectively a one-party state. Its leaders, particularly President Thabo Mbeki, identify with other leaders of the long struggle against minority white rule that ended for them only fifteen years ago, and being somewhat less than vigilant against protecting their own people against deadly threats such as HIV/AIDS are hardly more concerned about the plight of ordinary people in another country. Add to that the legacy of the former Pretoria government's frequent and usually unhelpful interventions in the politics of countries throughout the region and you have most of the explanation for why the promising Zimbabwean experiment can be allowed to disintegrate amidst great hardship while the only country in the region with any real strength refuses to use it.

In all these cases, but especially the last two, an honest assessment of American national interests would have to conclude that a policy of benign neglect has much to recommend it. The North Korean nuclear situation is a serious issue, but unless Pyongyang's nuclear weapons were exported or made deliverable over long distances -- both of which we should be able to prevent -- even a North Korean nuclear arsenal, by itself, is something we could probably live with. What happens to North Korea's people does not effect us. Genocide in Rwanda didn't inflict much damage to American interests; genocide in Darfur isn't either, and apart from tourists and the makers of wildlife documentaries Zimbabwe's long slide out of the light isn't even an inconvenience.

Beyond the calculation of immediate national interest there is the matter of timing. In each of the three cases I have mentioned enormous, deliberately inflicted suffering has already happened. If Robert Mugabe dropped dead tomorrow, Sudan's Arab tribes retreated to the lands they occupied three years ago and Kim Jong-il's government disappeared, Zimbabwe would still take years to recover, Darfur decades, North Korea centuries. The effort required to make painless gestures toward easing suffering in such places is minimal; the effort, and the risks, involved in doing something serious to stop it could be pretty large.

One of those risks in the course I am suggesting -- deliberate American encouragement of regional powers to lead the way in quelling or preventing upheavals in smaller neighboring states -- ought to be clear enough. It is a policy that could be deliberately misinterpreted: by China with respect to Taiwan, by Russia with respect to several of its neighbors, by any number of African countries. An even more obvious risk is that this course just wouldn't work: if a free and prosperous Zimbabwe really does mean less to South Africa's leadership than its solidarity with Harare's "big man" or Arab Muslims really do think that mass murder of non-Arab Muslims is just not that big a deal our trying to shame or otherwise encourage them to action would get nowhere and risk making us look ineffectual.

Should that be the last word? Most of the factors I'm aware of suggest it should be, and will be. Asking any of the larger regional powers named above to assume a role similar to or even greater than that the Australian government played in the East Timor situation is asking a lot. But if we are working toward some kind of world order -- however one chooses to define it -- what is it for? How useful or durable is it likely to be if when presented with the very worst cases of human suffering and wasted potential the first things it looks for is excuses not to do anything about them? Europe quailed at the legal justification for America's overthrowing one of the vilest governments in recent history two years ago; to listen to discussion in the United States one would think that whether Egypt permits a few free labor unions eventually is more important than whether it does anything about genocide just across its border right now. Is this really the best we can do?

If mass murder and deliberately created famines don't always do the wider world direct harm -- millions starved during China's Great Leap Forward and the outside world barely knew it was happening -- they surely don't do it any good. It can't be to anyone's advantage that Africa is a perpetual basket case, ridden with incredibly violent conflicts and diseases much of its political leadership is hardly able to keep up with even when it is interested. North Korea's government is not just a menace to its neighbors because of its nuclear program, but is laying the groundwork for a human catastrophe that will burden at least two of the world's leading economies -- South Korea's and China's -- for years. Surely there is sense in using some ingenuity to induce neighboring countries that, left to themselves, may not be overly concerned with human suffering on a large scale to do something about it anyway.

If there is to be a stable, multipolar world order some of the poles in it will have to play a larger role than they do now, or than they are now inclined to do. I am skeptical of the value of pressing countries around the world to become democracies whether their people and cultures are advanced enough to adapt to this very demanding form of government or not. There are cases in which pressing nations to alter their foreign policies to serve the interests of civilization seems a more promising means of making this world a less brutal, a less morally degraded and perhaps a less dangerous place.

Posted by at May 15, 2005 02:12 PM | TrackBack (18)

The US is doing a lot without the aid of the UN and NATO. We’ve got military missions training troops in something like 63 nations. Our biggest effort along those lines is the counterproliferation effort known as the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) which kicked off in 2003, with our allies Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

For more on the events leading up to its creation and early PSI successes against North Korea, look here:

Canada, Norway, Russia, and Singapore have since joined the effort and some 40 additional states have voiced support for the initiative. Did you know that Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton is a chief architect of PSI? Bolton said in a November 2003 interview that there have been successful interdictions since the initiative's launch. He and other U.S. and foreign government officials indicate that there are no plans to announce when such interdictions occur because of concerns about compromising future PSI activities.

The one successful interdiction that has come to light was an October 2003 operation to seize centrifuge components destined for Libya. U.S. officials credit the interdiction with helping to further convince Libya, which had been conducting secret disarmament negotiations with the United States and United Kingdom for several months, to publicly renounce its WMD ambitions and programs two months later.

Regarding your other points, the situation in Africa is horrific. Egypt acts like an irresponsible teenager – it gets an allowance from the US and should help clean up its part of the neighborhood, but it looks more to the Middle East South Africa has gone mad and almost half of its military is infected with AIDS. The few responsible countries are poor, and most non-African countries involved in that continent still seem to act like colonial powers, extracting natural resources while exploiting the indigenous peoples.

I really hate to write this, but it seems that only the Anglosphere can be trusted to right the wrongs, but we English-speakers have put up with enough of the blather from the Europeans and others that we’re better off if we just try to defend ourselves. Bush’s AIDS aid to Africa is generous – it may prove essential to saving the innocent – but corruption within Africa and bumbling by NGOs limits its effectiveness.

Posted by: The Kid at May 15, 2005 08:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

funny how you don't bother to mention Uzbekistan....

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 15, 2005 11:17 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

That was a compelling post. Is there any type of pressure we can apply to China & Egypt to handle their basket case neighbors engaging in wholesale slaughter and acts of evil that only serve to destabilize the present and endanger the future?

Posted by: Eddie Beaver at May 15, 2005 11:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It all comes down to making countries PAY for ignoring the obvious on their borders. Publicly withdraw all funds from Mubarak unless he steps in to stop Darfur Genocide. Put the Taiwanese up to buying North Korean Nukes, publicly, promising Kim Jong-Il the best price possible (and hey their missiles too). Publicly demand that South Africa step in (announce this with St. Frickin Bono at your side) to save lives in Zimbabwe or no aid for Thabo.

The rest of the world is a joke. The only thing that the OIC and Arab League could get together on was ... yes a demand to have the "horrible American soldiers who flushed the Koran down the toilet" extradited for punishment to an Arab country. Despite the fact that it never happened, at best a terrorist tore pages out of his own Koran to plug a toilet (presumably to assault a guard or escape).

Posted by: Jim Rockford at May 16, 2005 05:16 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

the key flaw of your argument lies in your assumption that it is always in the interest of other nations to interfere in the affairs of their neighbors.

But the fact is that China is far less threatened by the prospect of a few North Korean nukes than it is by the reality of America's massive nuclear arsenal. China is far better off having cordial relations with North Korea than it is trying to disarm NK; and as long as the US has military bases in the pacific rim, that situation is not going to change.

Blaming Arab nations for not intervening more strenuously in Sudan is based on the assumption that the Arab League is an organization capable of concerted action . Its not, of course --- its just a collection of autocratic regimes whose leadership is far more concerned with maintaining personal power than with "foreign affairs." And, it should be noted, this is how the United States wants it --- the last thing that the Bush regime wants is a "United States of Arabia" which would be capable of holding the world's economy hostage by shutting off the oil valve. If the Arab League was capable of intervention in the Sudan in 2005, it would have been capable of action with regard to Iraq in 2003 --- it is only because these nations are not capable of concerted action that there was no oil embargo.

The Arab League's take on what is happening in Darfur is mirrored by the Bush regime's take on what is happening in Uzbekistan. The Arab League continues to support (and make excuses for) the Sudenese government despite its gross violations of human rights; the same holds true for the Bush regime's support and excuses for the leadership of Uzbekistan. The world has just witnessed government sanctioned mass murder in Uzbekistan, and the US doesn't even protest --- instead, our "official" position is that we support "change" through non-violent means, while placing the blame for the mass murder on the victims who were exercising the right to assemble and protest government policies.

Like most conservatives, you seem to be incapable of looking at situations from the perspective of others, and instead project your own priorities on other nations and then wonder why they don't act "in their own best interest."

The essential contradiction lies in your desire for the world to act as if were "multipolar" based on "unipolar" (i.e., American) priorities. But a nuclear armed Iran or North Korea is not seen by the rest of the world as agressive actions designed to empower those nations to engage in nuclear blackmail, rather it is seen as a response to the agression and "nuclear blackmail" undertaken by the Bush regime and its allies. The world sees the absurdity of the US complaining about nuclear weapons development in Iran when it remains silent on Israel's nuclear arsenal.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 16, 2005 11:49 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

P. l. is quite right. A large element in each of the three situations I mentioned is that genocide, politically created famine and general beastliness matters a lot less to nations like China and Egypt and to the government (I will not say to the people) of South Africa than it does to us. I don't believe in any wooliness about there being no clear lines dividing countries and cultures that are civilized and those that are not. I'm simply trying to find ways, as I say in this post, to induce governments otherwise indifferent to the very worst human rights situations in this world to do something about them anyway, because the United States cannot be everywhere. Per e. b.'s query above, I am not satisfied that I have succeeded or that the policy direction I've outlined is one this administration or any other we are likely to get would be able to implement. But it seemed worth the effort.

Incidentally, the "absurdity" you speak of with regard to the difference in American attitudes toard Israeli and Iranian nuclear weapons is based on a belief that the Israelis would use theirs only if they were on the verge of being overrun, which essentially means there is little risk of these weapons being used. This is not thought to be the case with Iran under its current government. Do you really disagree?

Posted by: JEB at May 16, 2005 03:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

JEB, I like your blogging and all, but this posting is 2,910 words (according to the MS Word counter).

Could you, like, edit a bit?

Posted by: Joel at May 16, 2005 03:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Incidentally, the "absurdity" you speak of with regard to the difference in American attitudes toard Israeli and Iranian nuclear weapons is based on a belief that the Israelis would use theirs only if they were on the verge of being overrun, which essentially means there is little risk of these weapons being used. This is not thought to be the case with Iran under its current government. Do you really disagree?

I think that there is a difference in how each nation would choose to use their nukes. although I don't think either nation would use them "agressively", I think that its far more likely that Israel would use a nuke "pre-emptively" (as in our "pre-emptive" invasion of Iraq), while Iran would only use them in a "retaliatory" capacity. (IMHO, the aggressive pursuit of nukes by both Iran and NK at this moment in time is specifically driven by their perceived need for a retaliatory capacity to prevent an attack by the USA.)

To me, the biggest tragedy of the Iraq invasion is that the US lost the ability to be perceived as an "honest broker" in international affairs.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 16, 2005 08:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I think that its far more likely that Israel would use a nuke "pre-emptively""

Yes, obviously. Israel has had nukes for twenty years, and the list of all the countries victimized by Israeli nukes continues to grow. Why doesn't somebody do something?

Posted by: Joel at May 16, 2005 09:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'm not sure as to whether this post was prompted by the article I sent you recently or not, but I'd like to make some comments around the UN and its importance.

Basically I read an article which purported that the purpose of the UN was to create a break in the international system which had led to effectively the 6 world wars (as defined by conflict between two opposing alliances of the great powers) that have occured in the last 300 odd years.

The fact that we have not had a world war in 60 years shows that in some respects it's working. That it is beset with frailities and corruption in places is absolutely true - like all instruments of man it is imperfect.

But much of that imperfectness is the result of many of the players in the UN failing to recognise that very fundamental reason for being - to put aside petty national interests for the sake of humanity at large.

For all of the world wars previously have been caused by, ultimately, petty national squabbling which driven by nationalism, religious and ethnic rivalries and outright imperialism, exploded into violence of epic proportions. Unfortunately for mankind by the end of then last of these wars we have become exceedingly efficient at killing each other.

Therefore the importance of the UN, and the need for it to become the body it SHOULD be, is imperative. For without it we will surely slide into another global conflict - in which hundreds of millions will die and the use of nuclear weapons will ensure vast tracts of the earth will be reduced to wastelands for centuries. This is inevitable without a change in the International system - for the last 300 years history has shown this to be true.

For those of you who believe that the UN should not be the ultimate place to decide upon the need for conflict, and that international law should not supercede national law I ask you this:

If not the UN then who?
Without a strong UN how will we prevent another global war?
If we don't make International Law the highest order then how do we bring Despots, Dictators and Tyrants to Justice?
How do we stop another Hitler from rising?

In terms of the last question I'd like to point out that Hitler rose to power in democratic elections. Whose to say that the next Hitler might not rise in the US, UK or Australia? I'm not suggesting that Bush is another Hitler but look at the ease with which the Patriot act was passed - without barely a whisper. How hard would it be really for someone to assume power the way Hitler did - certainly no impossible - and without a strong UN what could the rest of us do - short of resorting to a war in which as John Kennedy put it "even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth"?

The US has shown itself many times to be a great leader, but even she for all her might and power cannot lead alone, and if she is unwilling to learn the lessons of the past and put aside her national interests when they conflict with those of humanity then she too will learn the costs of war outweigh the benefits.

If the US were to take her leadeship to the UN along with her allies, to ratify international law, to operate inside the framework of the US, to drive change at the UN with as much passion and vigour as she has propagated the WOT then surely the UN would become the body it could be. The Europeans could have no excuse for their pettiness, and with the spotlight of International law and justice shining from the UN into all the dark corners of the world, the Saddam's, Milosovic's, Zaqiri's and Osama's could be bought to Justice.

Corruption aside as long as the US and other powerful nations are willing to act outside the UN and international law, the UN will never be anything other than a weak ineffectual body.

And for all that this sounds Utopian, any vision of utopia only ever remains a vision unless those who believe in the vision are willing to work hard, and make sacrifices to achieve it. The alternative is well... bleak - a bit like the sands of Iraq contaminated with DU.

Posted by: Aran Brown at May 16, 2005 10:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


although I am a supporter of the UN, I don't think the lack of another world war can be credited to that organization. To me, the existence of nuclear weapons among the great powers (and the resultant Mutually Assured Destruction) prevented the outbreak of another big war. Instead, we had a war of attrition where both sides used small nations -- and their citizens --- as pawns in a war of global domination.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 16, 2005 11:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Fair Comments PL, and I would be the first to admit attributing the lack of another world war to the UN is a big stretch. As you say Nuclear weapons have acted as a deterrant, but in addition enough people alive remember the horrors of the Second World War and the Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

However, humans have notoriously short memories and the concept Nuclear Weapons as a deterrent to another global conflict will probably only last as long as we remember what devastation they will bring. Will future generations be so reticent? Unfortunately the Genie is out of the bag, so the question that remains is can we ever remove the threat of nuclear weapons?

I say probably not - which I why I stand by the importance of developing a strong functional UN, in which all nations resolve their differences via an agreed framework bound by international law, and where all nations put aside their differences to stamp out genocide and tyranny. Again thats a very Utopian vision, but the alternative is a lot more awful than I care to contemplate.

Posted by: Aran Brown at May 17, 2005 04:21 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Will future generations be so reticent? Unfortunately the Genie is out of the bag, so the question that remains is can we ever remove the threat of nuclear weapons? I say probably not - which I why I stand by the importance of developing a strong functional UN..

I wholeheartedly agree, especially given the Bush regimes' apparent willingness to develop a new generation of "smaller" nuclear weapons--- apparently in an effort to make the use of such weapons more acceptable. Prior to Bush, the use of nuclear weapons in any but the most extreme circumstances was a line that no decent human being would consider an acceptable option. Indeed, that still holds true --- and the fact that the Bush regime wants to make nuclear weapons more acceptable demonstrates how indecent these people really are.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 17, 2005 05:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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