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>My apologies if you already subscribe to MoveOn, but this is
>important for everyone who does not subscribe to see.

I would be more impressed if Gore, or other leading Democrats, had
been saying this kind of stuff last year, when Senator Robert Byrd
was just about the only prominent Democrat making sharp criticisms of
Bush's policies and the drive to war. Now that Iraq has been
conquered and it's safe to criticize Bush because the protracted
occupation is beginning to make a section of the US population
uneasy, Gore and others speak up. They obviously hope to gain some
electoral advantage, but you can be certain that they will continue
the same imperialist policies if they retake the White House and/or
Congress.

In response to the rhetorical questions at the end of the following
analysis, one might say "Only by abandoning the interests of US
capitalism", something that no Democrat, no matter how liberal, will
ever do. --PG


"Would an Incoming Democratic Administration Be Forced to Maintain the Bush
Doctrine?"
Drafted by Matthew Riemer on July 30, 2003
http://www.pinr.com

The forthcoming 2004 U.S. presidential election will be of great
significance to the course of geopolitics over the next decade. If George W.
Bush were to lose the election, the incoming president would inherit his
administration's foreign policy trajectory. Such a political handoff would
be far more dramatic than typically found when presidents leave office, as
the Bush administration has articulated, and set in to motion, a new
proactive foreign policy and U.S. military role, carrying out some of its
actions in the face of widespread protest.

The terrorist attacks of September 11th helped create an environment in
which the Bush administration's foreign policy initiatives at once seemed
not only less radical but could also be more openly and actively pursued. In
short, September 11th gave greater currency to the theories of the hawks of
the world.

In September 2002, one year after the attacks, the Bush administration set
forth its new foreign policy and security vision in its ambitious National
Security Strategy, which advocates a more unilateralist -- yet potentially
still cooperative and respectful of international bodies -- platform that
has as its chief concern the eradication of terrorism:

"Our enemies have openly declared that they are seeking weapons of mass
destruction, and evidence indicates that they are doing so with
determination. The United States will not allow these efforts to succeed. We
will build defenses against ballistic missiles and other means of delivery.
We will cooperate with other nations to deny, contain, and curtail our
enemies' efforts to acquire dangerous technologies. And, as a matter of
common sense and self-defense, America will act against such emerging
threats before they are fully formed. We cannot defend America and our
friends by hoping for the best. So we must be prepared to defeat our
enemies' plans, using the best intelligence and proceeding with
deliberation. History will judge harshly those who saw this coming danger
but failed to act. In the new world we have entered, the only path to peace
and security is the path of action."

Additionally, the importance of economic freedom is stressed: "Free trade
and free markets have proven their ability to lift whole societies out of
poverty -- so the United States will work with individual nations, entire
regions, and the entire global trading community to build a world that
trades in freedom and therefore grows in prosperity."

Free market capitalism is placed alongside abstract nouns such as "freedom"
in other statements like this: "The great struggles of the twentieth century
between liberty and totalitarianism ended with a decisive victory for the
forces of freedom -- and a single sustainable model for national success:
freedom, democracy, and free enterprise."

Trajectory

The U.S. has now gone to war twice in the past two years -- in Afghanistan
and Iraq -- and created momentum in an international conflict that goes much
deeper than America's fledgling "war on terrorism." A new militarily
competitive international environment has been created and volatile regions
are becoming open to speculation by the great powers again.

Afghanistan -- most acutely -- and wide swaths of Central Asia are in a
state of perpetual stagnation in terms of social, political, or even
economic development. Saddam Hussein and the Ba'athist regime have been
overthrown in nearby Iraq, and now that country is in limbo until an
authentic, non-American dictated representative government provides some
form of baseline security and stability for Iraqi society at large.

While military conflicts in Iran and Syria are realistically over for the
foreseeable horizon and risk never rising due to the possible passing of the
Bush administration and because recent reports indicate that the Syria and
Iran threats may also be overstated, the Bush administration's rhetoric has
given the international community the not all together unsurprising notion
that the United States may strike any country at any time who denies its
will.

This has quite predictably led to an instinctive increase in nationalism and
unilateralism in other country's approaches to the foreign policy arena.
Countries are more concerned with actively securing, if not increasing,
their interests abroad than ever before.

Central Asia is, again, a good example. The region, beginning first really
with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but now being exacerbated by
Washington's reaction to September 11th, has now become a new playing field
for competing powers, from Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan to Iran, Russia,
and China.

The U.S. has established a military footprint in the region for the first
time in history. The fact that the U.S. freely moves about large tracts of
land that were once some of the economically key areas of the Soviet Union
speaks volumes of the weakened state in which Russia finds itself and how
Washington has emphasized that trend by conspicuously projecting itself into
the heart of Asia.

But the significance of this policy set in motion by the Bush administration
is the ideological vision it takes to maintain such principles -- there's no
secret that many in Washington, even within Bush's own party, vigorously
disagree with his foreign policy.

In a spectrum of U.S. administrations, the Bush administration can be
generally spoken of as leaning towards (and documenting its policy of in
some cases) unilateralism: "We will take the actions necessary to ensure
that our efforts to meet our global security commitments and protect
Americans are not impaired by the potential for investigations, inquiry, or
prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose jurisdiction
does not extend to Americans and which we do not accept."

A widely held belief, and perhaps one even understandable to some admirers
of the Bush administration, is that the administration as a whole -- except
possibly Colin Powell -- is lacking in diplomatic finesse: essentially that
Bush officials come off as arrogant and dismissive of those who challenge
them.

This perception, regardless how deserving one feels it to be, affects how
the world views the United States and its foreign policy and has led to an
increase in anti-Americanism: a very real problem whenever Washington needs
to sell something to the world.

The geopolitical environment is now beginning to mold itself to Bush
administration doctrine. Countries are beginning to exhibit, like the Bush
administration, more proactive, unilateralist, and protective foreign and
security policies. Such feelings are furthered when rhetoric like the
following is heard coming from the White House: "It is time to reaffirm the
essential role of American military strength. We must build and maintain our
defenses beyond challenge."

Inheritance

What an incoming U.S. administration chooses to do with its inheritance will
be of the greatest interest to foreign leaders. The world will be watching
to see if it continues the Bush Doctrine of unilateralism and militarism or
one of rejuvenating international bodies and working to resolve conflicts of
a humanitarian nature around the world: the West Bank and Gaza Strip,
Kashmir and Jammu, Chechnya, Aceh in Indonesia, Colombia, and others.

The most unnerving reality facing a new U.S. administration may be the fact
that it could be too late to rollback the Bush administration's aggressive
policy because now other countries are emulating that policy. How could a
new administration withdraw from Central Asia knowing that locals who reject
the U.S. presence would construe it as victory and that other regional
powers, most notably Russia and China, would attempt to increase their
military and economic influence there? How could an administration withdraw
from Iraq with dozens of U.S. companies already having contracts valued in
the billions of dollars? Most ominously, how could a new administration
leave so many power vacuums around the globe?


The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is an analysis-based publication
that seeks to, as objectively as possible, provide insight into various
conflicts, regions and points of interest around the globe. PINR approaches
a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral
judgments to the reader. PINR seeks to inform rather than persuade. This
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