Sunday, September 30, 2007

CNAS: Intellectual Support on Foreign Policy for Hillary Rodham Clinton

As to 2008 election, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most likely to win Democrat nomination for presidential candidate. In a previous post, “Democrats Need to Act beyond Defeatism on Iraq”, I quoted a comment by AEI Resident Fellow Thomas Donnelly, saying that a new think tank called the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) will provide intellectual support for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. Donnelly criticize CNAS “a rather awkward name summons echoes of the Project for a New American Century, well, it is supposed to--has brought together a powerful collection of veterans of the Clinton administration.” Let’s have a brief look at the webpage of CNAS.

This think tank was founded by Kurt Campbell, current CEO, and Michèl Flournoy, current president. Both are educated at Oxford University (Campbell received BA from UC San Diego, certificate from the University of Erevan in USSR, and D Phil from Oxford; Flourny received BA from Harvard, and M. Litt from Oxford). This background could have tied them with the Clinton administration, as there were some Rhodes Scholars in this cabinet including President Bill Clinton himself, Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, and Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott.

The mission of CNAS is mentioned in Co-Founder’s Forum and the Introductory Video. In view of new security challenges in the post 9-11 era, both founders describe their missions as the following.

The CNAS mandate is to help identify the key challenges confronting this generation of Americans in the foreign policy and national security arena, and to help shape thinking about the governance choices for dealing with these concerns. We aspire to transcend the current campaign mode that permeates many Washington policy shops and political discussions to consider the real and enduring challenges and opportunities facing the nation.

CNAS states that they are ready to provide ideas for any administration from 2009 onwards, regardless of the party. However, it is noticeable that CNAS explores some different approaches in US foreign policy from those of the Bush administration. Regarding personal contacts, this think tank develops ties with liberal Republicans who do not necessarily share national security visions with the current administration. Also, in terms of policy agendas, CNAS tackles new issues.

Leading Republicans like Senator Chuck Hagel and Senator Richard Lugar are associated with CNAS. Particularly, Senator Hagel has been a vocal critic to President George W. Bush’s Iraq policy. It is quite noteworthy that Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage who served the Bush administration joins the Board of Directors along with Clinton cabinet members such as Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Former Secretary of Defense William Perry. Quite importantly, Armitage was one of signatories to launch PNAC, which was co-founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan: leading proponents of the Iraq War. This implies that CNAS is more suitable for a centrist like Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton than other Democrat candidates like Senator Barak Obama, Former Senator John Edwards, and New Mexican Governor Bill Richardson.

CNAS held its official launch on June 27 this year at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, DC. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chuck Hagel delivered keynote addresses. This illustrates close relationship with Hilary Clinton and bipartisan nature of CNAS.

Among many research subjects, key issues at CNAS are the Iraq problem and transformation of US military forces. Asia Initiative ’09 is another important project, which explores further cooperation between the United States and Asia, beyond preoccupation with Iraq. Quite importantly, CNAS tackles some issues which were not given sufficient consideration by the Bush administration, such as climate change and international refugee problem.

Among those subjects, Iraq is the most crucial one. The most recent report on Iraq, entitled “Measuring Progress in Iraq”, published on August 30 by Assistant Professor Colin Kahl of Georgetown University, recommends that the surge should end no later than the spring of 2008. Also, this report says that successful transition of power from US military to the Iraq Security Forces is the key to make some gains meaningful and sustainable in the long run.

However, since the Center for a New American Security is a small think tank, some critical issues to US foreign policy are not discussed sufficiently. Though active commitment to Asia is mentioned, CNAS has not published a policy brief on North Korea. Alliance with Western industrialized nations like Europe, Japan, and Australia, is no less important than ever in the global war on terrorism. Democracy promotion has been a key agenda in US foreign policy, and the Bush administration addresses its preeminence for US and global security. However, CNAS has no project on this issue.

Whichever party wins 2008 election, CNAS will address new agendas which current administration does not explore enough. The Center has to spend sufficient energy on some issues with which the Bush cabinet is struggling. At this stage, it is important to watch how this new think tank provides intellectual support for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

1-11 Shock: Reagan Diplomacy Needed against China’s Ambition in the Space

China’ success in anti-satellite weapon test on January 11 this year poses no less serious threat to the United States and its allies in East Asia than 9-11. Ashley J. Tellis, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, argues that the United States should develop both offensive and defensive space weapons in order to curb Chinese ambition to undermine American predominance in the space. I would like to talk about his recent policy brief, entitled “Punching the US Military’s ‘Soft Ribs’: China’s Anti-satellite Weapon Test in Strategic Perspective”, released in June this year.

On 1-11, China launched a medium range missile from Xichang space facility in Sichuan Province, which was fired at an aging Chinese weather satellite. The missile test chilled to the spine of American policymakers, because the success of this test implied that China was able to cut off space based communication systems of US forces. Ashley Tellis refutes dovish idea that the United States make a deal on arms control in the space with China immediately.

First, Tellis explains strategic logic of Chinese counterspace program. Since remarkable success of US armed forces in Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf War, Chinese strategists had begun to explore how to defeat far superior US conventional forces by attacking American space based facilities. American satellites play the key role in C3 (command, control, and communication) systems, and they are vital for military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Tellis says “China understands that its best chance of successfully countering US military power lies in being able to attack America’s relatively vulnerable eyes, ears, and voice.” He insists that China as a rising power will not recognize an arms control regime in the space, which could strengthen its competitors. In other words, it is quite unlikely that China be willing to negotiate space arms control at this stage.

Also, Ashley Tellis categorizes China’s counterspace programs against US forces. These programs include from space object surveillance and identification systems to attack weapons. In accordance with the altitude of orbits, China thinks of using specific ASAT (anti-satellite) weapons. Ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and laser beams are designed for lower orbit satellites. Electronic wave attacks would be applied for medium and higher orbit satellites. China even considers attacking US facilities on the Earth which transmit information from space based satellites to American strategists.

In conclusion, Ashley Tellis mentions three implications of China’s space programs, and makes policy recommendations. To begin with, Tellis points out that China invests in counterspace projects because of strategic necessity. It is not willing to conclude arms control agreement with the United States unless one of the following conditions is satisfied.

(1) China can defeat the United States despite America’s privilege for access to the space.
(2) China’s investments in counter space programs yields less return because of technological superiority of the Unites States nullify Chinese efforts.
(3) Chinese space projects provoke offensive counterspace programs of the United States, and the return of R&D exceeds the threat posed by America.

Second, Tellis warns that US supremacy in the space is endangered due to ASAT weapon test success of China. He recommends that the United States improve its ability to identify and assess all orbiting objects, and to anticipate the sources and the capacity for counterspace attacks.

Finally, Tellis warns of s “Space Pear Harbor” in case of crisis over the Taiwan Strait. The United States may have to consider preemptive attacks or horizontal escalation on the Chinese mainland, if it happens before American space facilities become survivable from surprise attacks by China. Ashley Tellis advocates the United States build up offense and defense military power in the space, instead of negotiating for arms control arrangements that are doomed to failure.

Tellis’ arguments sound rational for me. In the past, President Ronald Reagan launched SDI project in order to make the Soviet Union give up expanding its nuclear arsenals, and talk on arms reduction with the United States. American Siegfried must stop dangerous ambition of the Chinese Dragon like this way.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Is the UN More Legitimate than the US?

It is 9-11 today, which lead the United States to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. There has been widespread criticism to American strike against Iraq, because it is not approved by the UN Security Council. But I must ask this question. Is the United Nations more trustworthy than the United States? In addition, I have to mention that the United Nations is in no position of supervising any sovereign states. It is an independent nation, particularly a liberal democracy that can make a decision for world peace.

Then, why do people regard the United Nations as the anchor of peace and stability of the world? Its decision making system is not clear, and far from accountable. Rogue states and failed nations are involved in this process. There are no organizations to check and balance elitist bureaucrats. Their inefficiency and corruption are too well known. More importantly, while close ties between the United Nations and the global civil societies are supposed to make global governance democratic, this dark connection marginalizes the public throughout the world. There is no reason to rely on UN mandates when it is necessary to defeat grave threats like Saddam Hussein and other axis of evil.

Despite some drawbacks as I mentioned above, the United Nations is expected to play the key role to assure multilateral diplomacy successful. Robert Kagan summarizes European view to US-UN relations as the following.

From the European perspective, the United States may be a relatively benign hegemon, but insofar as its actions delay the arrival of a world order more conductive to weaker powers, it is objectively dangerous. This is one reason why in recent years a principal objective of European foreign policy has become, as one of European observer puts it, the “multilateralising” of the United States. It is why Europeans insist that the United States act only with the approval of the UN Security Council. (Of Paradise and Power, p. 40; Originally from “Unilateral America, Light Weight Europe”, working paper, Centre for European Reform, February 2001 by Steven Everts)

In reality, foreign intervention without UN approval has been necessary to maintain a peaceful world order. In Kosovo, NATO started bombing on March 24 in 1999, without approval of the UN Security Council. Britain intervened to Sierra Leone unilaterally in 2000. Thanks to successful mission, Tony Blair “Gets Hero’s Welcome in Sierra Leone” (Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 2007) on his final trip as the prime minister. It is utterly strange that global public opinion is extremely critical to US attack against Saddam Hussein. Quite interestingly, some antiwar global civil societies courted the United States to intervene into Myanmar and Liberia right after the overthrow of the Ba’athist regime in Iraq. What are they?

Actually, the United Nations and the global civil societies do not necessarily act on behalf of universal humanitarianism. It is quite well known that UN bureaucracy and multinational NGOs constitute an exclusive circle for decision making. Also, they cloud out local civil societies quite often. The UN-multinational NGO axis lacks accountability to the global public.

Dark connections between the United Nations and multinational NGOs nurture dreadful corruption. Joseph Lonconte and Nile Gardiner, Research Fellows at the Heritage Foundation, describes UN-NGO relations as the following.

Indeed, most of the U.N.’s favorite NGOs would use international rulings to overturn democratic protections in their home countries. The U.N.’s vision of civil society, in other words, is a penumbra of activist groups that simply endorse its agenda of centralized economies, large welfare states, and massive social engineering. Indeed, most of the U.N.’s favorite NGOs would use international rulings to overturn democratic protections in their home countries. The U.N.’s vision of civil society, in other words, is a penumbra of activist groups that simply endorse its agenda of centralized economies, large welfare states, and massive social engineering. (“Human Rights Failure”, National Review Online; September 28, 2005)

Also, they criticize sex scandals in Sudan and West Africa by UN and NGO staff.

Furthermore, the Oil for Food scandal symbolizes corruption of UN bureaucratic system. (“Oil for Food Scandal Draws Scrutiny to UN”, Fox News, September 20, 2004)

The veto of Russia and China at the Security Council, which blocks efficient decision making, makes UN incompetence even more serious.

Leading liberal democracies, notably the United States, Britain, and NATO can act more quickly and effectively to curb imminent threats than the United Nations. NATO will be globalized when Japan and Australia join. Then, UN mandates will be less important for international security.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Media and Jurists’ Humiliation to the Iraq War and the War on Terror

Some reports on Iraq are released these days. NIE report mentions some progress, while GAO report presents pessimistic viewpoints. It is commonly understood that Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is to be blamed for strategic mistakes. But liberal media and lawyers are also responsible for current hardship in Iraq. These agitators must be well aware of negative consequences of their work. As they respond to accidents in Iraq and treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo camp outrageously, terrorists make use of such tumults. For terrorists, particularly jihadists, liberal upheavals are endowments from Allah to humiliate America by all means.

One of my blog friends Mike Ross wrote some interesting posts on his blog, entitled “Conservatism”, which is published in Japanese. He is a diehard conservative American, and holding a Japanese passport as he has been living in Japan for decades.

One of his posts is “A Caricature of the Iraq War”, in which he comments briefly about a cartoon in Town Hall. See the picture above. As he mentions in this post, the media are too happy to find negative stories in Iraq, in order to blame America. In the other post on the same August 27, entitled “The War on Terror Is beyond Judicial Authority”, Mike criticizes vehemently that liberals are wrong to insist that terrorist prisoners at Guantánamo must be treated as civil criminals such as murderers and robbers. He is right. If terrorists were treated as civil criminals and easily released from the prison through normal legal procedure, they would repeat mass murder and destruction.

The threat of rogue leaders and terrorists is so grave that they must be treated completely different from good citizens like us. When I appeared in an NHK TV forum about Japanese pacifist constitution on August 15, Professor Setsu Kobayashi of Keio University and an antiwar activist Shigemitsu Hisamatsu blamed US attack on Iraq by quoting international law. I argued against them based on the logic of Hobbesian and Kantian world by Robert Kagan. However, the moderator did not give me enough opportunity to refute their egg-headed legalism.

Certainly, Setsu Kobayashi is a leading expert on Japanese constitution. But I have to mention an important point. However finesse those liberals’ arguments may be, they miss the vital point. Law protects our freedom, but not terrorists’ and rogues’. It is extremely regrettable that liberals like Professor Kobayashi put the cart before the horse. Japanese SF hero Kamen Rider fights against Shocker, an army of super villains, in order to protect freedom of human beings. But liberal extremist lawyers like Setsu Kobayashi fight against human beings, in order to protect Shocker’s freedom.

Why the media and lawyers are so happy to shame American hegemony in the world? Apparently, the world is better off when America defeats rogues and terrorists unabashedly. Europeans and Japanese have common interests with Americans. As I mentioned in a previous post, “Is Middle East Democratization a Neocon Plot?”, Europeans are tackling for Middle East reform. Japanese such as Former Foreign Minister Taro Aso, also advocate democratization throughout East Asia. Just as Josef Joffe who is an adjunct professor at Stanford University points out, victory in Iraq is the key to success in the War on Terror and global democratization (“If Iraq Falls”, Wall Street Journal、August 27). Despite this, liberal media and lawyers are extremely joyous when they find policy errors in Iraq and the War on Terror. Moreover, they defend “human rights” of terrorists at Guantánamo.

In my view, crooked pride and elitism of liberal media and lawyers lead them to help our enemy. Those media and lawyers take pride in their resourcefulness to criticize the authority. Since America is the hegemonic state, any US president is the easiest target for their attack. Also, their crooked pride lies in their “privilege” to glorify their career through blaming leaders. Although liberal media and lawyers disguise themselves acting on behalf of general public, these elitists look down on grassroots deep in their heart.

Regarding media response to the Iraq War, I would like to mention some articles written by experts at the American Enterprise Institute. In a pervious post, entitled “Democrats Need to Act beyond Defeatism on Iraq”, I quoted essays by Michael Barone and Thomas Donnelly. Both resident scholars point out that party politics plays an important role in the Iraq debate. In addition, I have to mention another article by Thomas Donnelley and an article by Frederick Kagan, in order to understand how media portrayal of the war misleads the public. In an article “NBC's Body Armor Embarrassment” in the Daily Standard on June 20, Donnelly concludes as the following.

The press and the leadership of the Democratic Party, in the throes of an extended Vietnam flashback, have decided the war is lost. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even thinks he knows what's going on in Baghdad better than does Gen. David Petraeus, the commander on the scene. But the media and the Democrats still fear that their defeatist attitudes may alienate people in uniform, or Americans more broadly. Thus the need to cast soldiers as victims. The only victim in the body army story, though, is the truth.

Frederick Kagan contributed “Misunderstanding the Surge” to the Daily Standard on June 5, in which points out misreport by the New York Times due to poor understanding of situation in Iraq. According to Kagan, the New York Times failed to discern former chief commander General George Casey’s strategy from current chief commander General David Petraeus’ strategy when their staff published an article “Surge Has Failed” on June 4. General Casey’s plan was based on 2003 assumption, which had been focusing on transitioning security responsibility to the Iraqi forces. In order to curb sectarian conflicts in Iraq, the Bush administration decided to appoint new commander General Petraeus, and change the strategy. The New York Times evaluated the consequence of surge based on former commander’s plan. In fact, the surge has stated when new commander reviewed trials and errors of his predecessor to execute new strategy announced on January 10 by President George W. Bush. Kagan said it is necessary to wait and see the consequence of surge by September, and strategists such as Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution admit some progress in the war in August.

I have talked about the media, and I need to explore further sources to denounce arrogant and egg headed legalists. Why are these liberal extremist elitists so pleased to blame the White House? Frederick Kagan explains such psychology in his conclusion.

There will be many difficult months to come, as our enemies attempt not only to make the strategy fail, but to convince Americans and Iraqis that it will fail. ……. The New York Times wrongly judges the current commanders by their predecessors' expectations. And it wrongly presents their efforts to solve legacy problems as evidence that the current effort has failed. It may be emotionally easier for some simply to convince themselves that the U.S. has already failed in Iraq. But success remains possible if we have the will to try to achieve it.

Any kind of extralegal activities are legitimate in both wars because the nature of enemies is completely different from those in traditional wars. It is utterly wrong to blame this. Liberal extremist Brahmins, stop helping our enemies! They are overjoyed when Brahmins distort our public opinion. Is there any ways to keep these nuisances silent? They are much more to be blamed than Donald Rumsfeld!