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Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans
for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be
limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI
all over again?
(7880 previous messages)
- 05:31am Aug 15, 2001 EST (#7881
"The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own
existence and that of our children. Make it now." (Bill Mollison).
- 06:03am Aug 15, 2001 EST (#7882
8/15/01 5:01am At the time the guy in the USA military suit said
he'd need 8 months to evaluate the data -- so he (Military) wasn't
- 06:42am Aug 15, 2001 EST (#7883
Americans applaud Bush's foreign relations policy
Correspondents' Report - Sunday, August 12, 2001 8:05
HAMISH ROBERTSON: In the United States, opinion polls show that
President George W. Bush is winning high marks from the public for
his approach to foreign relations, regardless of how much those same
policies may be irritating some of the country's allies. However,
the President's political opponents still believe he is vulnerable
on international affairs and have set out to raise questions about
the attitude of the White House to the rest of the world.
Here’s our Washington correspondent, Michael Carey.
MICHAEL CAREY: In the post cold war world Americans don’t elect
their leaders based on foreign policy. George W. Bush, who watched
his father lose office despite overseeing a popular, successful
campaign to drive Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, knows this well. As do
his opponents. But the Democrats believe there’s an opening anyway
as US allies show signs of frustration with the perceived
unilateralism on behalf of the administration.
This week’s Senate majority leader, Tom Daschle, launched that
case with the most sustained critique his party has offered since Mr
Bush took office, beginning with a warning.
TOM DASCHLE: It is not enough, as President Bush suggested,
simply to send US officials to international meetings. Woody Allen
wasn’t talking about foreign policy when he said that 85% of life is
just showing up.
Of course, these problems did not begin with the Bush
inauguration. In many ways, as the world’s only super power, we must
accept that they come with the territory. Remember our allies were
not so enthusiastic about President Clinton calling America the
‘indispensable’ nation, but these problems have intensified so much
and so quickly that I fear our allies may be tempted to treat us as
a ‘dispensable’ nation.
MICHAEL CAREY: For America’s allies the most worrying trend has
been an alleged capriciousness towards treaties. With the White
House abandoning work on agreements ranging from germ warfare to
greenhouse gas emission control.
The administration says it’s looking at treaties now on a case by
case basis but Senator Daschle says the wider picture is important.
TOM DASCHLE: The administration has demonstrated a willingness to
walk away from agreements that were embraced by many of our closest
friends and allies and broadly supported by the international
community. Reasonable people can disagree about the merits of each
of these individual agreements. I don’t think reasonable people can
ignore the consequences of tearing each one up.
MICHAEL CAREY: And beyond the question of America’s traditional
supporters comes the question of it’s now, or former, adversaries.
The President’s claim that special understanding with Russia’s
Vladimir Putin, left the senior Democrat unconvinced.
TOM DASCHLE: That is why it was troubling to watch President Bush
reduce our complex relationship with Russia to a simple matter of
trust between leaders. The stakes are too high to base our strategic
relationship on one man’s assessment of another man’s soul.
- 06:45am Aug 15, 2001 EST (#7884
MICHAEL CAREY: Then there’s the question of China, occupying much
thought among senior policy makers in Washington and the subject of
dire warnings from the more hawkish. A dangerous trend according to
TOM DASCHLE: The 20th century, in many ways, was the story of our
triumph over two great and pernicious adversaries; nazism and
communism. Today we do not need a great adversary to be a great
country. Unfortunately, some don’t accept this reality and with the
collapse of the Soviet Union, they would like to see China take its
I believe we need to take a more nuanced view.
MICHAEL CAREY: And Tom Daschle has declared himself a sceptic
about the expensive, ambitious plan to protect the US from missile
strikes by way of a missile defence system. That recent technology
test may have been lauded as evidence the system was viable, but he
has his doubts.
TOM DASCHLE: I would remind everybody that in this latest test we
knew who was launching, where it was being launched from, when it
was being launched, what was being launched and the flight path it
would take. For good measure, there is a homing beacon on the target
Now, if our adversaries would be kind enough to meet all of these
conditions [laughter] and if we are willing to accept 50% success
rate, then maybe I too would share their assessment. But I wouldn’t
bet my life on it, let along the security and fiscal health of the
MICHAEL CAREY: Challenging a President on foreign relations is no
easy task and among Democrats, divisions over policy is commonplace.
But if Senator Daschle can find an audience for his criticism, the
White House may have to do a bit more defending of its positions at
home than it’s needed to worry about to date.
TOM DASCHLE: Our allies will follow us only if we use our
unparalleled strength and prosperity to advance common interest.
Only then will our power inspire respect instead of resentment.
MICHAEL CAREY: This is Michael Carey in Washington for
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