Saturday, May 26, 2007

Can Jimmy Cater Blame Bush and Blair?

Former US President Jimmy Carter criticized current President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair with regard to Iraq policy. Carter accused Blair of supporting the Iraq War, and argued that the next British prime minister should be less enthusiastic to act with the Bush administration on Iraq (“Carter attacks Blair's Iraq role”, 19 May, BBC News). Shortly after this TV interview, he denounced Bush as the worst president in history (“In Carter-Bush Duel, Dual Retreats”, May 22, Washington Post). But is he in a position to denounce both leaders so openly in public? Apparently, he does not understand the consequence of his policy to the Middle East.

Jimmy Carter failed to stop the Iranian Revolution, which brought about widespread catastrophes in the Middle East. It has triggered the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Gulf States, and even Algeria. Had the Guard of Persian Gulf existed, Saddam Hussein would never have attacked Iran, Kuwait, and Kurdistan for his grandiose pursuit of towering over his fellow Arab nations. Also, the Soviet Union would not have intervened into Afghanistan. Moreover, Osama bin Laden is a product of the Afghan War and the Gulf War. In other words, Carter’s failure to deal with Iran led to 9-11 attack by Al Qaeda terrorists.

Negative impacts posed by the Iranian Revolution are far greater than those posed the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Actually, most of the troubles in the Middle East are irrelevant to this, as I mention in the previous post, “Misunderstandings on America and the Middle East.” I recommend you to read “A World without Israel” by Joseph Joffe in Foreign Policy in January 2005.

The Nixon-Kissinger duo could have stopped mullahs’ revolution as they did against communist Salvador Allende in Chili. Pahlavi may not have been democratic but he was an enlightened despot, following the path of Turkey and Japan. Quite appallingly, Carter called Muhammad Reza Pahlavi a tyrant. It is completely a misconduct to blame one of the best friends of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in that way.

Strangely enough, Carter behaves as if he forgot an inconvenient truth that he had transformed into a neocon from a pacifist liberal, in face of Soviet invasion to Afghanistan and US embassy attack in Iran. He increased defense budget since these crises, which was inherited to next president Ronald Reagan. Only through serious pinches, had Carter learned to act as the supreme commander. This is what the president should be. Jimmy Carter needs to keep this in mind.

The loss of Iran cost a lot to the US and its Western allies. US President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher worked hard to roll back this loss. Bush and Blair are trying to reestablish an order in the Middle East, which collapsed under the Carter administration.

To my regret, some media laud Carter pacifist hero. What has he done to world peace? It has become apparent that his deal with North Korea in 1994 has not served the vital objective to prevent Kim Jong Il from possessing nuclear bombs. Simply, he earned a huge amount of money through winning the Nobel Peace Prize. We can learn a very important lesson that we must not judge the person solely based on the prize and the title.

Quite interestingly, the public does not support Jimmy Carter. Numerous letters to criticize Carter were sent to the Seattle Times ("Had 9/11 occurred under Carter we would be much worse off", May 25).

Jimmy Carter is the most responsible for uprisings in Iraq and Afghanistan today. Had he succeeded in preventing the Iranian Revolution, Saddam threats could have been contained and the Soviets would never have intervened into Afghanistan. Islamic radicals would not be as rampant throughout the Middle East as it is today. Former President Carter caused a substantial degree of disturbance in the Middle East and the world. He has no qualification to blame President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair. Please be quiet, sir.

Friday, May 18, 2007

US Non-Proliferation Policy against Iran and North Korea

The United States takes different approaches to Iran and North Korea. While threatening to impose UN resolution to Iran, the Bush administration is trying to provide food and energy for North Korea in return to stop possessing nuclear bombs. The United States see Iran more serious threat than North Korea. This is the reason why it stands tough against the former, and soft against the latter. However, this policy needs to be reconsidered as both rogue states develop close cooperation.

Regarding different approaches, Jessica Mathews, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, explains why Iran is more imminent threat to the United States than North Korea. While North Korea by the six-party talk, there is no level of trust between Iran and its counterparts in nuclear negotiation, she said in Charlie Rose Show on March 29 (From this link, click the calendar on March 29, 2007). Certainly, Iran is more dangerous than North Korea. None of negotiators, including the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China, have direct influence on Iran. As mentioned in her interview, Iranian possession of nuclear bombs could trigger Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey to pursue nuclear development.

More dangerously, Iran is courting the Gulf nations to split their ties with the United States. US Vice President Dick Cheney and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited the Gulf Arab states this May. While the United States emphasize common interest with Arab allies to stop nuclear threats by Iran, Iran tries to decouple them from the United States. But according to Mustafa Alani, Director of Security and Terrorism Program at the Gulf Research Center in Dubai, "We have a deep mistrust of both sides. Each is trying to defend his corner on major issues in the region. But neither is likely to accomplish very much." (“Iran, US Court Gulf Arab Allies”, Kansas City Star, May 10)

The United States and Iran are seriously antagonistic on Iraq. The media tend to report that the Iraq Security Conference at Sharm el Sheik in Egypt symbolizes US willingness to compromise with Iran. However, the Economist argues against this. At the conference, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice spent much time to talk with Syrian Foreign Minister Wallid al-Moallem. While taming Syria, the United States stands tough against Iran, and decouples these two states. (“A Cagey Game; America and Iran Spar over Iraq”, Economist, May 5)

On the other hand, Washington’s stance to North Korea is somewhat soft. Unlike Iran, China has leverage on North Korea. It does not have direct ties with religious radicals. More importantly, North Korean bomb experiment is not likely to provoke its neighbors to pursue nuclear research and development. South Korea takes the Sunshine policy to tame North Korea in a friendly way. Japan does not dare to undermine the US-Japanese alliance by having nuclear weapons.

However, this does not justify soft approaches to North Korea. The Six-Party talk has decided to lift economic sanctions and provide nuclear fuels for civilian use for North Korea. But North Korea is not willing to abide by the agreement. Japanese conservatives are vehemently critical to this deal. It is critical fir the US-Japanese alliance to fill the gap on North Korea.

Former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph criticizes that current deal helps the Kim Jong Il regime survive without sufficient effect for non-proliferation. He resigned the position this March, and knows much in depth about the Bush administration’s arms control policy. In his lecture at the American Enterprise Institute on April 24, Joseph mentioned North Korea’s quest for WMDs at the cost of its people. Also, he pointed out that North Korea has been committed to dangerous operations overseas, including abduction of Japanese citizens, money laundering, and violation of international non-proliferation agreements. Unlike Libya, he said that North Korea was not willing to end isolation from the world. For further pressure to North Korea, he insists on closer US-Chinese partnership and stauncher regional alliance. Most importantly, he argues that the deal must be completely verifiable, in order not to repeat the same mistake in the 1994 agreement.

As worried by some experts, Iran and North Korea seeks cooperation to stand against non-proliferation efforts in the global community. Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki and North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Yong Il signed an agreement to expand political, economic, and cultural ties (“Iran, North Korea reportedly agree to cooperate more”, Boston Globe, May 12). An Iranian online journal, contributed by pro-democracy journalists and bloggers, worry closer partnership between tyrant regimes. (“Iran, North Korea tyrant regimes to boost ties”; Persian Journal, May 11)

The Axis of Evil is the Axis of Evil. Standard diplomatic techniques do not work. Appeasement makes things worse. Some sort of coercive measure must be taken.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Joining “Love America First”

Global American Discourse is going to join a blog group, called Love America First. The objective of founding this blog group is the following.

In response to bitter criticism to America right after 9-11 terrorist attack, some American bloggers found it necessary to argue against such poorly-founded anti-Americanism.

In this group, America means beyond the United States, or les États-Unis itself. America is a symbol of universal values like life, freedom, pursuit of happiness, property rights, and so forth.

Actually, Love America First is open to foreign bloggers. For example, a popular blog in Afghanistan, entitled Afghan Lord, is a member of this group. His country is struggling for freedom at present.

Numerous blogger groups in the United States set their own agendas. I would like to mention some of them on this blog.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sarkozy Peut Améliorer les Relations Franco-Américaines?

As it was expected, Nicholas Sarkozy won the presidential election of France on May 6. The debate between Sarkozy and his opposition Ségolène Royal focused on domestic issues, particularly the economy. However, this is not the only issue that matters in French politics. Currently, France is becoming less and less influential in the world. As to the Iraq War, French opposition did not have a slight effect on the Bush administration’s decision but simply worsened its relationship with the United States. Once upon a time, France assumed itself the power center of Europe, but it has rejected to ratify EU constitution at national referendum. Quite recently, France experiences another chasm between Old Europe and New Europe over the Missile Defense system. As it happened on Iraq, New Europe supports this program by the United States and Britain, while France and Germany oppose it.

Unfortunately, the media did not pay sufficient attention to these issues. As mentioned in “From the other side of the Atlantic” on Certain Ideas of Europe, it is quite odd that France is so inward-looking. France is one of Big 5 nuclear powers, and one of two military powers along with Britain.

The media tend to expect that pro-American Sarkozy will improve the Franco-American relationship. Eric Besson, Senior Economic Advisor to Royal calls Sarkozy an “American neoconservative with French passport” (“Foreign Policy Priority Will Be to Improve Relations with US” in the Independent, 7 May). But can he really improve ties with the United States? I am asking this question, because German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not change the relationship with the United States dramatically. Also, it is noteworthy that just as anti-American sentiment is growing in Europe, anti-European sentiment is rising in the United States. According to the Economist (Lexington: Against anti-Europeanism, April 26), Americans see Europe unreliable to fight against Islamic radicalism. The end of the Cold War has loosened transatlantic ties, and the Iraq War has left a chasm between America and Europe beyond the Bush administration. The Economist comments that antipathy on both sides of the Atlantic is meaningless, and concludes as follows.

The rise of Mr Sarkozy coincides with a growing determination in America to defuse global anti-Americanism. Even George Bush has tried to do this a little in his second term. But post-Bush politicians—particularly Democratic ones—will put this at the top of their priorities.

I would like to mention further sources to foresee French foreign policy under the Sarkozy administration. Sarkozy advocates military build-up of French forces, and tough stances against human rights abuses in China and Russia. However, he remains unclear on Iraq. Sarkozy warns that early withdrawal of US troops would lead to chaos, but excessively long stay would provoke more terrorist attacks. Despite his admiration to the United States and Britain, his opposition to Turkey’s entry to the EU is at odds with American and British policy (“Sarkozy Outlines Foreign Policy”, International Herald Tribune, February 28). While Sarkozy praises vigor of American free market economy and strength of British parliament, he is not so much enthusiastic with Germany, says Charles Grant, Director at the Centre for European Reform in London (“A French Force”, Prospects, March). The Franco-German duo has been the key to French policy in Europe. This shift could change the balance of power in the transatlantic community.

Not everything is optimistic. According to the Washington Post, Sarkozy said the following.

"I'd like to appeal to our American friends to say that they can count on our friendship, but I would also like to say that friendship means accepting that your friends don't necessarily see eye to eye with you." In particular, he said, "a great nation like the United States has the duty not to oppose the fight against global warming, but to lead that battle, because what is at stake is the destiny of mankind." Sarkozy said he would make the issue a top international priority as president. (Sarkozy Wins, Vows to Restore Pride in France, May 7)

In addition to Turkey and Iraq, the missile defense issue will be critically important for the future of transatlantic military cooperation. As Robert Kagan mentions in “Of Paradise and Power”, belligerent American Mars tackles seriously against nuclear threats from Iran or Russia, pacifist European Venus ―― particularly Old Europe ―― is reluctant to confront possible enemies. Some hurdles still exist between France and the Unites States.

Despite rifts between both countries, economic ties are strong. The United States is the largest importer of French merchandise outside the EU, according to Certain Ideas of Europe. Forbes says that American big businesses keep their eyes on Sarkozy, because they see his deregulation policy would provide great opportunities for them (French Vote Important to U.S. Business, May 4).

In foreign policy and national security, it remains to be seen whether President Nicholas Sarkozy will be able to fill fundamental gaps with America. However, he may change the political framework of the transatlantic alliance. In the economy, mutual ties will develop rapidly. His relationship with les Étas-Unis will have significant impact on Europe and the world.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Green Conservatism

Here in Japan, people enjoy spring holidays, called the Golden Week from late April to early May. It is the best season to see beautiful green and wildlife in Japan. Therefore, I am talking of a green essay by Former US Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. He has contributed an article, entitled “We Can Have Green Conservatism--And We Should” to Human Events.

Generally speaking, environmentalism has been regarded as an agenda of liberals and leftists. Although many environmental groups do not assume ideological missions, liberals and leftists use them as machines against “pro-business” conservatives. But is conservatism really antagonistic to environmentalism?

In his essay, Newt Gingrich, currently Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, questions “For the last 36 years, I have watched the pro-regulation, pro-litigation, pro-taxation liberals label themselves as the only Americans who care about the environment.” Gingrich criticizes liberal environmentalism radical, hysterical, and inaccurate. Liberals depend on litigation and taxes too much, while conservatives simply reject these measures, which lead people to label conservatism anti-environment. Gingrich says he wants to change this, and insists that environmentalism be pro-freedom and pro-market.

He mentions Former Vice President Albert Gore, and explains why conservatives are defensive on environment.

For example, former Vice President Al Gore suggests that global warming is so bad that we could have a 20-foot rise in the oceans in the near future. No responsible scientist anywhere believes that to be true. But if the debate becomes, "Al Gore cares about the earth, and we're against Al Gore," we end up in a defensive position where the average American could end up perceiving conservatives as always being negative about the environment.

According to Gingrich, they key to green conservatism is energy independence from dangerous dictators and development of clean energy. He says that environmentalism should be founded on science, entrepreneurship, and free market, instead of lawyers, bureaucrats, regulation, and taxation.

In Britain, Tory leader David Cameron adopts a green logo to symbolize his party’s commitment to the environment and social equality. As I mention in the previous post, “Europe as a Critical Focus”, David Frum, Resident Fellow at the AEI, criticizes this. But whether Cameron’s conservatism is right or wrong, it is a good idea to show that conservatives are not simple-minded pro-business but care about the environment as much as leftists do.

Conservatism can get along with green activism. It is critical to economic development by mega-projects such as gigantic dams. The Green Revolution in the 1960s was based on liberal ideas of big government, which caused serious consequences to the environment. Environmentalists criticize this project bitterly.

Today, conservatism is regarded anti-green. This is a worrisome trend. Capitalism in the 19th century was ruthless to working class, and indifferent to growing social gaps between the rich and the poor. This led to the rise of Marxism, but capitalism overcame this crisis through adjusting itself to a welfare state. Conservatism needs to deal with environmental issues like this way.

Remember that Theodore Roosevelt is the first green president in American history. Conservatism can be green. It is essential that conservatives address their own environmental agenda for the future.