Monday, November 25, 2002

# Posted 8:43 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

TOOTHLESS HAWKS: According to conventional wisdom, one can divide the Bush administration into hawks, e.g. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc., and doves, e.g. Powell, Armitage, etc. But when it comes to US relations with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other Arab dictatorships, there seem to be only doves. While the Senate has had the guts to say that the Saudi government is behaving in a despicable manner that endangers US national security, no one in the administration has. And what was the last time anyone got tough with Pakistan, even though it bears primary responsibility for supplying the North Korean nuclear program?

The logic behind the administration's embarrassing stance is simple: The doves are too busy getting the UN ready for a confrontation with Iraq. The hawks are too busy getting America ready for a confrontation with Iraq. Why antagonize nominal supporters of the war on terror such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan if they are behind us right now? Answer: Because their actions lead to nasty surprises that derail US efforts to achieve priority objectives such as disarming Iraq. Wouldn't it have been nice if North Korea hadn't had a nuclear program to disclose in the middle of UN deliberations about Iraq? Wouldn't it be nice if Islamic fundamentalist parties weren't in control of the Pakistani provinces which border Afghanistan?

When it comes down to it, the administration's failure to address the Saudi and Pakistani situations reflects an inability to think big when it comes to foreign policy -- to think about grand strategy. Or, to put in terms that might resonate with a Bush, it comes down to a problem with "the vision thing".

UPDATE: I forgot to repeat myself. Both the doves and the hawks have gone soft on Arab dictatorships because they aren't serious about promoting democracy. They say the right things when asked, but they don't back up their words with actions.
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