A New Front, but It’s Still One War

The revelation of a nuclear weapons program in North Korea will test the Bush administration's ability to manage foreign policy and a multi-front war on terrorism. Former ambassador to Korea Stephen Bosworth says he's concerned "about the overload on the intelligence side, human and the technological." The doctrine of pre-emptive defense, outlined recently in the new US National Defense Strategy, "places a hell of burden on exact intelligence on where the next attack is coming from," he said. Another concern is that the US may be counting on more support from its Allies than they are willing to give, especially if Russia and China, the most critical players on the North Korean and Iraqi fronts, choose to allow the US to shoulder the burden of pre-emptive action. Even if these two countries prove skittish on helping the US, broader support from the United Nations and other allies could be the saving grace that allows the administration to triumph on both fronts. John Lewis Gaddis, professor of history at Yale, says "There's been nothing like this in boldness, sweep and vision since Americans took it upon themselves, more than half a century ago, to democratize Germany and Japan, thus setting in motion processes that stopped short of only a few places on earth, one of which was the Muslim Middle East." And as former Clinton national security advisor Samuel R. Berger sees it, there is a diplomatic opportunity to be grasped in battling a simultaneous crisis in North Korea and Iraq. "These could play off one another," he said. "If you get a strong Security Council resolution on Iraq, it conveys to North Korea that the international community will find a nuclear program unacceptable." Without the full support of its allies and the UN, however, the US could find itself quite alone at the front lines. – YaleGlobal

A New Front, but It's Still One War

David E. Sanger
Sunday, October 20, 2002

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