Thursday, October 21, 2004

From other sources

From Foreign Affairs, a few articles worth looking at:

How to Counter WMD
Ashton B. Carter
From Foreign Affairs, September/October 2004
Summary: The Bush administration has done little to contain the spread of weapons of mass destruction, even as undeterrable nonstate actors grow more intent on obtaining and using them. U.S. counterproliferation policy needs an overhaul. Its new goals should be to get nuclear material out of circulation, reinforce nonproliferation agreements, and use new technologies and invasive monitoring to get better and more actionable intelligence.
Students can get the full article through the library homepage.

The Neglected Home Front
Stephen E. Flynn
From Foreign Affairs, September/October 2004
Summary: The Bush administration has waged an aggressive war against terrorists abroad, but it has neglected to protect the homeland, even though Americans in the United States are the ones most vulnerable to future attacks. The government must do more to safeguard critical U.S. infrastructure and mobilize the American public to help. For starters, it should create a semi-independent federal agency tapping into private resources that would develop and enforce security standards.

The Sources of American Legitimacy
Robert W. Tucker and David C. Hendrickson
From Foreign Affairs, November/December 2004
Summary: Throughout its history, the United States has made gaining international legitimacy a top priority of its foreign policy. The 18 months since the launch of the Iraq war, however, have left the country's hard-earned respect and credibility in tatters. In going to war without a legal basis or the backing of traditional U.S. allies, the Bush administration brazenly undermined Washington's long-held commitment to international law, its acceptance of consensual decision-making, its reputation for moderation, and its identification with the preservation of peace. The road back will be a long and hard one.

Was Iraq a Fool's Errand?
Tony Smith and Larry Diamond
From Foreign Affairs, November/December 2004
Tony Smith of Tufts University says that, rather than blame Bush for poor execution, former CPA official Larry Diamond ("What Went Wrong in Iraq," Foreign Affairs, Sept./Oct. 2004) should have known that the whole idea of imposing democracy on Iraqi society was a bad one in the first place. Diamond fires back a scathing reply.
And from the New York Review of Books comes this staggering collection of assessments of The Election and America's Future
By Alan Ryan, Anthony Lewis, Brian Urquhart, Edmund S. Morgan, Garry Wills, Ian Buruma, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Mark Danner, Michael Ignatieff, Norman Mailer, Ronald Dworkin, Russell Baker, Steven Weinberg, Thomas Powers
For what has been called "the most consequential election in decades," we have asked some of our contributors for their views.—The Editors
I will include just one from the eminent historian Edmund S. Morgan:
In the wake of the many scandals that have disgraced our government in the last four years, who is accountable? Will the secretary of defense be dismissed because of what happened at Abu Ghraib? Will the attorney general be dismissed for what is happening at Guantánamo Bay? Will the secretary of the interior be dismissed for handing national treasures to corporate looters? Will the secretary of state bear responsibility for refusal to participate in efforts of the rest of the world to keep the planet inhabitable? Will the President of the United States disavow what his handpicked agents have done on his watch?

We all know the answers. But in the eyes of the world the ultimate accountability lies not with the President or his men. In the end it lies with the sovereign people of the United States. The government is our government, resting on our choices and supported in all its activities by our taxes. We may claim with some reason that the last election was stolen, but we have had to accept the result. In the last analysis people get the government they deserve, and ours, more directly than most, is the product of our choice. We have been credited, rightly, for what it has done in the past, for standing up, however belatedly, to the Nazis, for assisting the recovery of Europe under the Marshall Plan, for containing the threat of imperial communism. We cannot now escape credit for what our government has so shamefully done. We began as a people with "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind," and we won admiration for it. We have now lost the good opinion of mankind and with it the self-respect of decent Americans.

It may take many years to recover what we have lost. We cannot restore the lives lost in Iraq, the lives of our soldiers, none of whom deserved to die for us, and the many more lives of the people we have professed to liberate in a war fought under false pretenses. But we can dismiss the people responsible for the other horrors committed in our name. Our self-respect, and the respect of the rest of the world for us as a people, hang on the next election. The damage now being done can be stopped. Some of it can be reversed. But the longer it goes on the less reversible it becomes. Seldom has our future as a people been in greater jeopardy. If we continue the heedless destruction of everything the United States has stood for in the past, we will rightly be held accountable, not only by the rest of the world but by our own grandchildren and their grandchildren for generations to come.

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