Former Sec of State Henry Kissinger -- the most powerful German emigrant in the US government in recent history -- noticed in The International Herald Tribune:
The recent publication of the second Bush administration statement on national strategy passed without the controversy that marked its predecessor in 2002 even though the new statement reiterates the commitment to a strategy of pre-emption in exactly the same words as the last. (...) The 2006 report was received with less hostility because other countries have had more experience now with the emerging new threats - and partly because a more conciliatory American diplomacy has left new scope for consultation.
Former Harvard professor Kissinger lectures that the "American strategic doctrine does not really talk about what is commonly defined as pre-emptive action", but deals with what is usually considered "preventive use of force: measures to forestall the emergence of a threat capable, at some point in the future, of being overwhelming." He concludes:
The analysis underlying the Strategic Doctrine document is correct in emphasizing that the changes in the international environment create a propensity toward some forms of preventive strategy. But stating the theory is only a first step. The concept must be applied to specific, concrete contingencies; courses of action need to be analyzed not only in terms of threats but of outcomes and consequences. Finally, a policy that allows for preventive force can sustain the international system only if solitary American enterprises are the rare exception, not the basic rule of American strategy.With or without those specifications what could happen is: Iran (or any other country) feels threatened and decides it has the right for a preventive/preemptive attack against another country that has troops at all of its borders and a bellicose rhetoric. I don't mean the U.S., but consider the general problem of preventive or preemptive war. Consider Iran's latest bellicose rhetoric according to the AFP news wire. Does this rhetoric give Israel the right of a preemptive or preventive war?
"The Zionist regime is an injustice and by its very nature a permanent threat," Ahmadinejad told the gathering of regime officials, visiting Palestinian militant leaders and foreign sympathizers. "Whether you like it or not, the Zionist regime is on the road to being eliminated," said Ahmadinejad, whose regime does not recognise Israel and who drew international condemnation last year when he said Israel should be "wiped off the map."What is the value of international law in the 21st century? Kissingers op-ed (recommended by our reader stehpinkeln, thank you!) points out:
If each nation claims the right to define its pre-emptive rights, the absence of any rules would spell international chaos.
AFP via Yahoo quotes General Yahya Rahim Safavi, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and "among the regime's most powerful figures":
"The Americans know better than anyone that their troops in the region and in Iraq are vulnerable. I would advise them not to commit such a strategic error," he told reporters on the sidelines of a pro-Palestinian conference in Tehran. The United States accuses Iran of using an atomic energy drive as a mask for weapons development. Last weekend US news reports said President George W. Bush's administration was refining plans for preventive strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities. "I would advise them to first get out of their quagmire in Iraq before getting into an even bigger one," General Safavi said with a grin."The Los Angeles Times reports about the latest US polls and mistrust of President Bush:
Asked whether they would support military action if Iran continued to produce material that could be used to develop nuclear weapons, 48% of the poll's respondents, or almost half, said yes; 40% said no. If Bush were to order military action, most respondents said they would support airstrikes against Iranian targets, and about one in four said they would support the use of American ground troops in Iran. (...)I don't know what to make out of those polls. Does anybody believe that Iran would not react after U.S. airstrikes and that the U.S. would not need to use ground troops to stop the Iranian nuclear program?
In a telling reflection of Bush's erosion in public support, 54% said they did not trust him to "make the right decision about whether we should go to war with Iran," while 42% of respondents said they trusted him to do so. That was a reversal of public sentiment since 2003, on the eve of Bush's decision to invade Iraq, when 55% of respondents said they trusted him to make the right decision over whether to go to war.
Opinions from other blogs: The Blue Voice ("The Bush Doctrine, official 2006 version: We gotta git Iran!"), Philomathean ("NYT: Iranian Bomb is "Years Away""), Conservative News & Opinion ("New Yorker Magazine Launches Preemptive Strike"), Blogs for Bush ("The Iranian Peace Process"), Customerservant ("Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?") and Martini Republic ("The Rumsfeld Doctrine, and the path to ruin").
Linked at: Is IT Just Me?|Right Wing Nation|Liberal Wrong Wing|Stray Dogs Found|Comedian Jenée: People are Idiots|Women Honor Thyself|Uncooperative Blogger | Big Dog | Third World County, Publius Rendezvous, Rhymes With Right| ACLU|Cao’s Blog| The Nuclear Rants of Samantha Burns, Point Five Missiles, Seven Deadly Chain Reactions, Church and Electricity, Blue Uranium Chronicles, The Radioactive Blogger, Stuck on Fossil Fuels, The Bullwinkle Power Plant, 123 Beta Particles, Jo's Atomic Cafe, and Basil's Left-Wing Protest Relocation Service.