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  • S Russian relations Putin was unambiguous in his objections We can sometime in the future decide that some antimissile system should be established somewhere on the moon but before we reach such arrangements we lose the opportunity of fixing our other bilateral disagreements A spokesman for the Russian President later emphasized that the President had not intended to be confrontational This position was later qualified by meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei V Lavrov who actually welcomed the America s new proposals This American olive branch involved an invitation for Moscow to directly participate in parts of the antimissile system s operations The Russian Foreign Minster remains unconvinced by American intelligence estimates that claim Iran poses a missile threat to Europe The U S believes it shows Iran will be able to develop a long range nuclear missile by 2015 Moscow disagrees with these findings and in light of the quality of U S intelligence on Iraq in 2002 and 2003 perhaps Russia is right to be skeptical The American plan for a missile defense system would involve placing missile tracking radar in the Czech Republic and ten interceptor missiles in Poland Moscow s main fear apart from U S dominance in the region is that these missiles would be aimed at Russia According to Condoleezza Rice America believes we can address those concerns and we intend to do it The new American proposal is a program that would greatly expand the planned American system by linking it directly with current Russian radars and potentially Moscow s existing missile defense system which centers on protecting the country s capital Although both sides claim progress in negotiations evidence remains that the two countries are diverging Putin has discussed with Rice and Gates the possibility of Russia withdrawing from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Force Treaty a Cold War agreement signed in the 1980s preventing Russia and America from deploying short and medium range offensive weapons in Europe This is a decision clearly taken in retaliation to American strategic plans in the region Spiegel Peter Russia rebuffs U S antimissile plan The L A Times October 13 2007 back to contents The United States and International Affairs U S Is Top Arms Seller to Developing World Thom Shanker According to a recent U S Congressional report America has retained its role as the leading supplier of weapons to the developing world in 2006 The report entitled Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations was produced by the non partisan Congressional Research Service a division of the Library of Congress The highly competitive global arms industry was worth an estimated 28 8 billion US dollars in 2006 this was a decrease from the 2005 figure of 31 8 billion dollars The rising cost of fuel energy was cited as the reason for this decline The report named Russia and Britain as the next significant distributors of arms to developing nations while Pakistan India and Saudi Arabia were the top purchasers An interesting section of the report highlighted the inherent linkage between the sale of arms and global politics For example in 2005 Russia concluded an arms deal with Iran worth over 700 million but continued concerns in Washington and Europe appears to have deterred Moscow from concluding arms deals with Iran in 2006 Concurrently Russia continues to supply arms to Venezuela despite the obvious displeasure of the United States Furthermore the report highlights American arms sales to nations whose records on democracy and human rights are subject to official criticism American Pakistan arms agreements in 2006 worth nearly 2 billion has renewed debate in Washington over whether the Bush administration is placing its counterterrorism measures above the administrations pledge to spread democracy The information provided in the report also highlighted America was the largest exporter of arms to developed and developing nations combined together this was worth a total of 16 9 billion in 2006 A significant point to note is that despite the overall drop in the value of global arms sales in 2006 America Russia and Britain all increased their shared of the global industry in 2006 as compared with 2005 Shanker Thom U S Is Top Arms Seller to Developing World The New York Times October 1 2007 back to content Security and Opportunity for the Twenty first Century Hillary Rodham Clinton In the November December edition of Foreign Affairs Hilary Clinton outlined her perspectives on the world and her vision for American foreign policy if elected President in November 2008 In sum the U S Senator from New York believes the next president will have a moment of opportunity to reintroduce America to the world and restore America s leadership To achieve this America must get out of Iraq rediscover the value of statesmanship and live up to the democratic values that are the deepest source of our strength These interrelated ideas form central components of a strategy based on a preference for cooperating over acting unilaterally for exhausting diplomacy before making war and for converting old adversaries into allies rather than making new enemies This article will review several of her stated aims First Clinton sets the context by arguing that the incumbent administration squandered the respect trust and confidence of America s allies over the past six years President Bush wasted a unique opportunity to adopt a position of global leadership after 9 11 and instead pursued unilateral action that led to war and the failure to commit America to several important international treaties including inter alia the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty If elected President Clinton would rebuild American power and ensure that the United States is committed to building a world we want rather than simply defending against a world we fear In an attempt to appeal to both disappointed Republican voters and her traditional Democratic base Clinton argues that America must pursue a policy of power and principle So on the one hand she emphasizes the need to gain respect in the world through the adherents

    Original URL path: http://www.ucdclinton.ie/newsletter_ta_vol3issue3 (2016-02-09)
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  • Europeans viewed U S leadership in world affairs as desirable This figure has remained constant since 2004 However the percentage of Europeans who approved of President Bush s international strategies remains very low at around 20 Importantly this indicates that Europeans draw a distinction between American action in the world and the Bush presidency The German Marshall Fund of the United States Transatlantic Trends 2007 back to contents The United States and International Affairs The Next Intervention Robert Kagan and Ivo Daalder The general view among political pundits and the main stream media is that America is militarily overstretched The U S led missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven more difficult than Bush administration officials predicted and this action has divided domestic public opinion Against this backdrop the conventional wisdom would recommend ruling out further military interventions In a recent article entitled The Next Intervention Robert Kagan and Ivo Daalder argue the conventional wisdom is almost certainly wrong The authors maintain that when set within recent historical context future American interventionism is a real possibility Between 1989 and 2001 Americans intervened with significant military force on eight occasions once every 18 months This interventionism has been bipartisan four interventions were launched by Republican administrations for by Democratic administrations This pattern highlights the consistency of American military intervention over the recent past and since September 11 2001 the situations in which an administration may have to use force have expanded Moreover d espite the problems and setbacks in Iraq and Afghanistan America remains the world s dominant military power spends half a trillion dollars a year on defense and faces no peer strong enough to deter it if it chooses to act The answer to sustaining a broad public and international support for future American military engagements is legitimacy There are few who doubt that the domestic and international consensus engendered after 9 11 has been destroyed by the American invasion of Iraq Indeed m any of President Bush s critics argued that the war lacked the legitimacy since it was not a clear instance of self defense nor received the sanction of the U N Security Council In defence Bush supporters have maintained that the removal of Saddam Hussein was a just act and hence legitimate Although few Bush supporters offered this rebuttal in the run up to the war favouring instead to focus primarily but not solely on the imminent threat from Saddam s Weapons of Mass Destruction The Just Act argument became increasingly popular when the core motivation for the invasion proved wrong Despite these difficulties Daalder and Kagan maintain that a domestic and international consensus can be achieved for future American military interventions The answer is the world s democracies the United States and its democratic partners in Europe and Asia Tangentially related to a Kantian school of thought a Concert of Democracies sharing a common view of what constitutes a just order within states and who tend to agree on when the international community has

    Original URL path: http://www.ucdclinton.ie/newsletter_ta_vol3issue2 (2016-02-09)
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  • invasion by the international community and in fact can open the door for economic investment see recent developments on six party negotiations One of the central difficulties surrounding Iran with nuclear weapons is its neighbours in the region If Iran goes nuclear it is likely others in the region perhaps including Saudi Arabia Egypt and Turkey might follow suit knowing that a world that allowed Iran to build a bomb would surely allow them to do so as well So what are the options open to the international community A minority have recommended the use of military force however according to Gordon this approach is extremely problematic Of course American air strikes might destroy Iran s critical nuclear facilities but as the world has learned from the Iraq debacle intelligence is far from perfect so we could never be sure of hitting the entirety of Iran s programme Due to this fact the bombing would have to be widespread increasing the likelihood of unnecessary civilian deaths So if a militantly option is not possible that leaves the continuation of a diplomatic and economic strategy based on pressure and engagement already underway On July 31 2006 the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1696 demanding that Iran suspend all enrichment related and reprocessing activities including research and development to be verified by the IAEA Although the Resolution imposed no sanctions it called on Iran to comply by a deadline of August 31 2006 The Resolution also made the Iranian uranium enrichment illegal Two subsequent UN Resolutions 1737 December 2006 and 1747 March 2007 have added continued pressure by denouncing Iran s lack of compliance These Resolutions also put constraints on Iranian arms exports and imposed limited sanctions on nuclear trade with Iran and financial dealing with individuals involved in the Iranian nuclear programme It is only lately that engagement has been equally forthcoming from the Americans In February 2005 President Bush announced that the U S would support the Europe 3 negotiations that were already underway with Iran But this support has subsequently been extended In March 2006 the administration announced its willingness to open a dialogue with Tehran about Iraq and in May of the same year Secretary of State Rice stated that if Iran agreed to suspend its programme then the U S would agree to multilateral talks Since then some progress has been made For example in May 2007 senior diplomats from the U S and Iran held discussions about Iraq This was the highest level tête à tête between the two countries since 1979 Given the right kind of pressure and engagement it is possible a peaceful outcome can and will prevail Europe and America must cooperate more fully for this to work however Any pressure must be agreed upon by the two partners and followed through by both just as any engagement must do the same Mixed messages and ambiguous statements from either American or Europe are only likely to emen Iranian defiance and attempts to out manoeuvre the transatlantic partners Gordon H Philip America Europe and the Nuclear Challenge from Iran paper presented at V Annual GMF U S EU Think Tank Symposium Washington D C June 17 18 2007 back to contents The United States and International Affairs Renewing American Leadership Barack Obama In a recent article for Foreign Affairs Barack Obama Democratic Senator from Illinois and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination outlined his framework and trajectory for American foreign policy in the years ahead According to Senator Obama After Iraq America may be tempted to turn inward That would be a mistake Unlike the many would be Cassandra s Obama does not consider the debacle in Iraq as signalling the end of American global leadership however the Senator from Illinois does argue that there is now a real need to renew American leadership across the full range of global challenges Despite only serving several years as a Senator Barack Obama has demonstrated a sophisticated level of understating in the field of diplomatic relations Supporting the maxim promoted by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan that no nation can face the international challenges of the twenty first century alone Obama has argued that America cannot meet this century s challenges alone the world cannot meet them without America Of course to recognise the new complexity of these global threats and America s dependence and leadership roles is not to give into pessimism Rather it is a call to action Obama considers it imperative that American purposes and principles are renewed after the Bush administration s misguided views and action over the previous several years What the Senator from Illinois is advocating is a return to traditional American values not bound by outdated thinking The legacy of a puritan heritage and the notion of American exceptionalism are vividly displayed in Obama s thinking as with past American presidents such as Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman America must lead the world by deed and by example The vivacious and inherent universalism embedded within American thinking on global relations is reconciled easily with Obama In the article he argues that the security and well being of each and every American depend on the security and well being of those who live beyond our borders The mission of the United States is to provide global leadership grounded in the understating that the world shares a common security and common humanity Moreover t o see American power in terminal decline is to ignore America s great promise and historic purpose in the world Aside from a familiar rehearsal of American traditional values and principles what practical policies and solutions would Obama bring to the White House In the article he addresses several areas of concern and interest First America must end the war in Iraq and refocus American attention on the broader Middle East For Obama Iraq was a diversion from the fight against the terrorists who struck us on 9 11 The invasion was a

    Original URL path: http://www.ucdclinton.ie/newsletter_ta_vol3issue1 (2016-02-09)
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  • a diplomatic channel to Tehran I think at this point in time to have also the U S opening a channel of communications with Iran will be worth thinking about Notwithstanding his stated optimism the EU Foreign Policy chief was not complacent regarding the forthcoming challenges of arriving at a mutual acceptable resolution Regarding Iran we have many important hurdles to overcome I think we have to be tenacious This time last year most if not all diplomatic efforts to resolve this long standing international problem were spearheaded by the European Union Moreover this seemed to be an indication of a more united and purposeful EU in the international arena Another year on however and there is still no foreseeable end in sight Against this backdrop perhaps it is reasonable to deduce that the European Union s designed strategy for ending this crisis has failed Furthermore reading through the diplomatic nuances Solana s recent comments suggest a man acknowledging frustration and failure and reaching for American assistance The Brussels Forum SOLANA TIME FOR U S TO OPEN COMMUNICATIONS WITH IRAN back to contents The United States and International Affairs The New New World Order Daniel W Drezner In recent years the American led invasion of Iraq and now the war in Iraq has fostered much resistance to what many argue is blatant American unilateralism in global relations In a recent Foreign Affairs article The New New World Order Associate Professor Daniel Drezner argues that this mainstream analysis is impoverished According to Drezner Controversies over the war in Iraq and U S unilateralism have overshadowed a more pragmatic and multilateral component of the Bush administration s grand strategy Over the same period of the Iraq conflict the U S has been involved in an attempt redesign American foreign policy and multilateral institutions to take account of the shifts in the global distribution of power for the twenty first century Throughout much of the last century the world s dominant powers included the United States the Soviet Union Japan and north western Europe In the twenty first century this list will expand in include emerging countries such as inter alia China India and Brazil This geo economic and political shift will pose a direct challenge to American dominance of global institutions unless managed prudently in the years ahead According to Drezner unless these rising powers are incorporated into the American liberal market framework the future of an American dominated global framework is in doubt Importantly the Bush administration has been taking steps to account for these international changes and integrate these new emerging countries into reformed global institutions In 2004 president Bush announced a reorientation of American global troop deployments to take account of shifting international dynamics The president called for a reduction of American troops abroad and announced that thirty five percent of U S military bases around the world would be shut by 2014 This decision is easily reconciled with the Defense Department s faith in a policy of full

    Original URL path: http://www.ucdclinton.ie/newsletter_ta_vol2issue6 (2016-02-09)
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  • current system of rotating six month terms Interestingly nearly all these countries governments face strong anti Europe opposition from some quarters at home On the other hand the integrationists nearly every other member state argue in favour of an ever deeper Union and at the end of January 2007 met in Spain under the rubric of Friends of the Constitution At the gathering they rejected a minimalist EU future and embrace deeper economic and political integration A significant division within Europe pits democratic reformers against those who favour Europe s old elite style decision making A central tenet of the European integration strategy has been to democratize Brussels and give the people in Europe the power to decide According to many this goal backfired in 2005 and is now off the agenda Referendums are shunned Although a key proponent to revive the Treaty Chancellor Merkel has been accused of reverting diplomacy in Europe back to the old secret huddles in smoke filled rooms An approach which is anathema to the democratic ideas enshrined in the Constitutional Treaty It is apparent that European member states are again divided on the best way forward but at the same time are united in their desire not to be embarrassed by another rejection Moravcsik Andrew No Power to the People Newsweek February 5 2007 back to top The United States and International Affairs U S Pivots on the Axis Michael Moran In the 2002 State of the Union Address president George W Bush was resolute Iran Iraq and North Korea and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil arming to threaten the peace of the world By seeking weapons of mass destruction these regimes pose a grave and growing danger According to the president the strategic aim of the United States was to quarantine these rogue states Through a combination of economic political and diplomatic sanctioning the president was unequivocal that Washington could end this threat At the beginning of 2007 it is not the threat of these rogue states that has ebbed but the president s determination to stay the course Many foreign policy experts in Washington have long argued that isolating Iran and North Korea was an unsound policy to adopt Moreover it is a policy that has actually produced counterproductive results over the last few years In the past month however the Bush administration has finally caught up with mainstream expert opinion In January 2007 the administration held the first set of bilateral negotiations with North Korea this was a step too far for the administration only a year ago At the end of February Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced she would attend a meeting with several of Iraq s neighbouring countries including Syria and Iran These public meetings were accompanied by a less publicized shift in December 2006 when a radical Shiite Iraqi political leader Abdul Aziz al Hakim was invited to meet president Bush at the White House Abdul Aziz al Hakim has been backed by Iran

    Original URL path: http://www.ucdclinton.ie/newsletter_ta_vol2issue5 (2016-02-09)
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  • States MS interpretation of the Battlegroups rules of engagement command and control structures and relationship with other institutions remain unanswered A central feature of the new instrument will be to correct some of the European Union s Rapid Reaction Force ERRF shortcomings in particular its inability to be deployed rapidly According to the Washington based Centre for Strategic and International Studies CSIS several major issues remain unclear First Member States remain unclear and vague on how and when the new capability will be utilized Many MS want the new Battlegroups to react to the full spectrum of possible future missions while other MS consider the primary role of the new instrument is to serve low intensity humanitarian missions A second growing problem is the overall decline in defense budgets in many European Union nations If the EU is seriously contemplating a military capability that can be deployed in far away places in fifteen days and be sustained for 30 days 120 with rotation then the Union will have to find methods to meet these requirements A noticeable and immediate shortfall is the Union s lack of strategic airlift capabilities According to most reports the EU is leasing Russian Antonovs to make up the shortfall This is not a sustainable situation A third problem remains regarding the strategic command of these new Battlegroups Again division among MS is widespread Some Members have suggested a NATO or UN command structure while others have proposed that individual members provide a base of operation In the end the EU itself might create a new EU command structure however at present the problem remains acute Finally it is unclear what relationship this EU military instrument will have with NATO In the context of current shortfalls it might be prudent for the Battlegroups to rely on the Berlin Plus arrangements to gain access to NATO assets The EU may also want to consider developing a link between the Battlegroups and the NATO Response Force This is an outcome that would benefit both strategic military instruments over the long term and would undoubtedly be welcomed by the United States especially given Washington s general concerns regarding an independent European military capability The Center for Strategic and International Studies Transatlantic Security Notes and Comment January 2007 back to top The United States and International Affairs Bush s Strategy for Iraq Risks Confrontations Sheryl Gay Stolberg On January 10 2007 President Bush presented the American nation with a new plan for success in Iraq The president s proposals include an increase of more than 21 000 US troops reinforcements a focus on securing Baghdad using more aggressive rules of engagement a parallel effort to hit al Qaeada in Anbar province using 4 000 more troops in the region and finally increasing pressure on the Iraqi Government to take control of all provinces by November 2007 The administration s new initiative and drive to secure victory in war weary Iraq rejected the central tenets of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group s ISG recommendations to wind down the US combat role and to engage with Iran and Syria According to Sheryl Stolberg president Bush s decision to increase American military presence in Iraq at this time is inviting a clash at home with the Democrats who control Capitol Hill Moreover the president is ignoring the outcome of the November 2006 Congressional elections and openly flouting the advice of his own generals In a twenty minute speech from the White House the president reaffirmed his commitment not to withdraw American troops He still firmly believes that a troop withdrawal would bolster the insurgency in Iraq and ultimately lead to an American defeat This is an outcome he is unwilling to contemplate To step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government declared the president In a significant rhetorical move the president for the first time conceded that there had not been enough American or Iraqi troops in Baghdad to stop the insurgent militia groups throwing the capital into chaos over the past year In addition a White House document released shortly before the speech acknowledged that the administration s previous strategy was based on flawed assumptions regarding the power of the Iraqi government Many in Washington remain critical of the president s strategy Leon E Panetta a Democratic member of the Iraq Study Group believes that the president is basically taking the nation into another nightmare of conflict over a war that no one sees any end to Of course there is little doubt that Bush will be able to deploy the troops he wants without Congress being able to stop him After all the democrats are not going to allow themselves be forced to vote against a troop increase and become the possible scapegoat for failure in Iraq A prudent president however would keep in mind the forthcoming battles with Congress over funding for the war and other domestic polices Over the short term the decision to ignore the Democratic leadership and the ISG might prove the defining feature of the remainder of the president s term But on the other hand maybe the president has a long term objective in mind an objective that could help the Republican Party in the 2008 presidential election If the president can create some semblance of stability in Iraq with an increase of troop levels while at the same time strategically shifting the blame for the continued violence on an fledgling Iraqi government then the administration will have opened the door for a credible American withdrawal in two years time One thing is certain however no president can prosecute the war indefinitely without the support of the American people and with most polls showing less than 20 percent support for this new proposal the president has an immense uphill challenge either way Sheryl Gay Solberg Bush s Strategy for Iraq Risks Confrontations The New York Times January 11 2007 back to content A Great Opportunity The Potential Impact of UN and U

    Original URL path: http://www.ucdclinton.ie/newsletter_ta_vol2issue4 (2016-02-09)
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  • nine percent of Americans and eighty four percent of Europeans agree with the on going international efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon Significantly only fifteen per cent of Americans and five percent of Europeans consider military action in Iran as the best option According to the research fifty six percent of Americans and Europeans believe that the values underpinning Islam are not compatible with the values of democracy However majorities also agree that the problem is with particular Islamic groups not with Islam in general Support for the NATO alliance in Europe has seen a decline of fourteen percent since 2002 It now rests at fifty five percent The research identified some interesting attitudes to the perennial question of civil liberties vs action to combat international terrorism According to the study Europeans and American share a broad agreement on where to compromise on civil liberties Most oppose granting government authority to monitor citizens telephone usage but support great authority to monitor communications on the Internet However European and American attitudes diverge when asked about whether or not governments should be authorized to monitor banking transactions with more Americans disagreeing than Europeans Transatlantic Trends 2006 Partners The Survey is a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Compagnia di San Paolo with additional support from the Fundação Luso Americana Fundación BBVA and the Tipping Point Foundation back to top The United States and International Affairs From Conflict Management to Conflict Resolution Edward P Djerejian The recent Israeli Hezbollah war fought in Lebanon posed a fundamental challenge to the entire Middle East peace process and in particular to American policy in the region Without ignoring the suffering and devastation caused by the fighting Edward Djerejian argues the war also brought an opportunity an opportunity to end the conflict in the region permanently However to make this happen Washington must push for and remained committed to a lasting peace in the region The United States should seize this moment to transform the cease fire in the Hezbollah Israeli conflict into a step toward a comprehensive Arab Israeli peace settlement The thirty four day war ended without either side fundamentally destroyed Perhaps militarily Hezbollah suffered worse but there is little doubt that Israeli military policy in Lebanon has bolstered grassroots support for Hezbollah The conflict highlighted the futilely of attempting to resolve long standing historical grievances by further violence According to Djerejian peace can come only from negotiated agreements that bind both sides When the conflict started in July 2006 the message from Washington was mixed Of course they refused to condone the killings on both sides but they held off calling for an immediate ceasefire and instead called for a sustainable ceasefire The Bush administration left the strong impression that it was giving Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert s government time to inflict serious damage on Hezbollah s infrastructure and personnel Eventually after much international wrangling coercing and diplomacy the international community managed to agree

    Original URL path: http://www.ucdclinton.ie/newsletter_ta_vol2issue3 (2016-02-09)
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  • from twelve members in 1949 to twenty six member in 2004 including many former Warsaw pact members Against the background of new threats posed by international terrorism and nuclear weapons proliferation many experts are calling for NATO to be expanded further Some cite the forthcoming NATO summit meeting in Riga in November 2006 as the right opportunity to call for expansion However not everyone is so anxious to expand the only standing military alliance that works There are those that stand opposed to this proposal however and who raise important issues that should be addressed before moving forward In this recent article by the Council on Foreign Relations Lionel Beehner examines some of these interesting and sensitive issues According to Adjunct Senior Fellow James N Goldgeier there are several motivating factors pushing for NATO enlargement The alliance now faces the challenge of a new international security environment Hence the mission of the organization must change and adapt too The goal is to add countries that would add something to NATO especially at a time when Europeans are having trouble meeting their own defense commitments Goldgeier advocates amending article 10 of the treaty to facilitate the expansion of the alliance outside of Europe membership should be extended to any country that shares NATO members commitment to human rights democracy and open markets But what are the dangers of expanding NATO membership Many analyst and academics argue in favour of a more gradual process The underpinning rationale is to enable all current members to achieve the same standards in all areas before opening the door to more possibility incompatible member states According to some analysts if you get more countries in there the decision making process could become unwieldy Allowing more members to join before current internal divisions are solved would only complicate internal agreements disagreements potentially making the alliance ineffectual If an expansion is to take place Russian interests will need to be catered for too Russia has always opposed NATO expanding eastward However in the context of rising global energy costs Russia s bargaining powers have increased markedly The recent statement by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov for a revision of Russia s national security strategy if NATO expands to include the Ukraine and Georgia is a worrying development The specifics of a Russian rethink are relatively opaque but the statement is reason enough for NATO to reconsider its position and strategic aims It is unclear whether an invitation for membership will be given to the Ukraine Georgia or the Balkan states at the forthcoming summit meeting in Riga Whatever the next steps for NATO enlargement it is vital that its mandate for the twenty first century is defined clearly and presently Lionel Beehner NATO Looks to Expand Mission and Membership Council on Foreign Relations July 27 2006 back to top The United States and International Affairs Annals of National Security WATCHING LEBANON Washington s interests in Israel s war Seymour M Hersh According to the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh the Bush administration was closely involved in the planning of Israel s retaliatory attacks against Hezbollah In a recent article published in the New Yorker magazine Hersh relying on anonymous US diplomatic pentagon sources claimed that Israel had devised a plan for attacking Hezbollah and shared it with Bush administration officials well before the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers on 12 July 2006 Perhaps this was the reasoning behind President Bush s relatively nonchalant reaction when news of the Israeli campaign broke At the G 8 summit in St Petersburg on 16 July Bush stated It s a moment for clarification and that it s now become clear why we don t have peace in the Middle East For Israel Hezbollah is considered a profound threat to national security It is a terrorist organisation with a military arsenal that has grown stronger since Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 According to Shabtai Shavit a former national security adviser to the Knesset Hezbollah is armed to the teeth and trained in the most advanced technology of guerrilla warfare It was just a matter of time We had to address it The article mentions several reasons why the US administration supported the Israeli bombing campaign in Lebanon Within the State Department it was seen as a way to strengthen the Lebanese government so that it could assert its authority over the south of the country Furthermore weakening Hezbollah s capacity to retaliate against Israel in the event of a US military strike on Iran was central to American support The U S government denied the allegation that it knew of Israel s plan for war Although a Pentagon consultant disagreed stating instead that the administration has been agitating for some time to find reason for a pre emptive blow against Hezbollah it was our intent to have Hezbollah diminished and now we have someone else doing it At the time of this writing the United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution ending the war but only time will tell if the truce will hold According to Hersh Israeli officials visited Washington earlier this summer before the Hezbollah kidnappings to get a green light for the bombing operation and to find out how much the United States would bear The anonymous source at the Pentagon added Israel began with Cheney It wanted to be sure that it had his support and the support of his office and the Middle East desk of the National Security Council With Cheney and the NSC on board persuading Bush was never a problem According to a Middle East expert cited in the article Hezbollah s sustained ability to defend itself and fire rockets into Israel is a massive setback for those in the White House who want to use force in Iran And those who argue that the bombing will create internal dissent and revolt in Iran are also set back Throughout the campaign Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld one of the most powerful

    Original URL path: http://www.ucdclinton.ie/newsletter_ta_vol2issue2 (2016-02-09)
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