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Problems with current U.S. policy.

Key Problems

* The Bush administration's Defense Department has exceeded all predecessors in appropriating control of intelligence and analysis.

* Washington's current militarized foreign policy entails the abandonment of virtually the entire fabric of arms control agreements negotiated over the last 30 years.

* The White House has replaced multilateral agreements with a radical-and unilateral-doctrine of preemptive war and a lowered threshold for the use of nuclear weapons.

The Bush administration has placed the Pentagon atop the national security policy decisionmaking ladder, thus weakening the role of the State Department and other agencies dealing with foreign policy. As a result, the long-term security interests of the U.S. have been imperiled, weakening the international coalition against terrorism and compromising the pursuit of arms control and counter-proliferation. The actions of the administration have often not been discussed with congressional committees or debated in the foreign policy community, and many have reversed major tenets of American foreign policy involving multilateralism, collective security, and detente.

The militarization of the intelligence community has been particularly profound. Nearly 90 % of the $40 billion budget for intelligence activity is allocated to and monitored by the Pentagon, and more than 90 % of all intelligence personnel report to the Pentagon. The Pentagon controls the tasking, collection, and analysis of all satellite photography. Moreover, such key intelligence bodies as the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (formerly the National Imagery and Mapping Agency), and the National Reconnaissance Office are designated as "combat support" agencies. This is exactly what President Harry S. Truman was trying to avoid in 1947 when he created the Central Intelligence Agency separate from the Pentagon, and made the CIA director of central intelligence as well.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has gone further than any other defense secretary to control intelligence collection and analysis. He created the position of undersecretary of defense for intelligence without vetting this move with the Senate intelligence committee. In preparing the case against Iraq, he created the Office of Special Plans, which collected specious intelligence and misused intelligence community collection to justify the war and to create a congressional consensus in favor of war. Rumsfeld's moves received rubber stamp approval from the Senate Armed Forces Committee, undermining the oversight roles of the Senate and House intelligence committees.

Despite marked decline in the strategic threat to the U.S. since the collapse of the Berlin War in 1989, the Warsaw Pact in 1990, and the Soviet Union itself in 1991, military influence over national security policy has grown substantially, and congressional support for the Pentagon has never been greater. The influence of the military has led to the Senate's defeat of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; the abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM), the cornerstone of deterrence for 30 years; U.S. rejection of the International Criminal Court and the ban on the use of land mines; and the weakening of the bipartisan Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Act, which contributed to the demilitarization and denuclearization of the former Soviet Union. The only arms control treaty that the Bush administration has negotiated with Russia, the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty of May 2002, calls for no specific reductions before 2012, contains no provision for verification or monitoring, and allows missiles and warheads taken off the front line to be placed in storage rather than destroyed or dismantled. The treaty thus preempts any real disarmament agreement.

The doctrinal policies of the Bush administration have helped to make the international arena a more dangerous place. In his commencement address at West Point in June 2002, President Bush endorsed preemptive attacks, and several months later, the White House issued its National Security Strategy, which discarded the policy of dtente and containment and endorsed preemptive or preventive military actions against states with which the U.S. is at peace. Ominously, the strategy report warned that the U.S. would "make no distinction between terrorists and those who knowingly harbor or provide aid to them." The Pentagon's Defense Planning Guidance and the Quadrennial Defense Review projected an indefinite future of continuous and worldwide war, endorsed the policy of regime change, and championed preemptive attack as the means for securing peace through international acceptance of U.S. hegemony. The Nuclear Posture Review of 2002 lowered the threshold for using nuclear weapons, and the 2003 defense bill eliminated restrictions on researching low-yield nuclear weapons and provided additional funds for research on high-yield nuclear bombs for use against deeply buried targets. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the U.S. has demonstrated over the past three years that "if the only tool in our toolbox is a hammer, then all of our problems will soon look like nails."
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Article Details
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Publication:Foreign Policy in Focus
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2004
Previous Article:The militarization of U.S. foreign policy.
Next Article:Toward a new foreign policy.

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