With Al Gore winning an Oscar for propagandizing about an admittedly somewhat hyped threat of global warming, the convergence of Hollywood with public policy is indisputable. It seems appropriate, therefore, to use an old Tinsel Town marketing line to herald the advent of a portentous strategic development: "They’re Baaack!"
Presumably, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meant to be reassuring when she responded to a pointed question on Fox News Sunday about Russian threats to nuke Poland and the Czech Republic if the latter cooperate with the United States on missile defense. She declared, somewhat dismissively, to host Chris Wallace, “I used to do [arms control] for a living.”
Having thus established that she was a woman who knows what throw-weight is, Dr. Rice claimed it was “ludicrous” for the Kremlin to contend that “somehow 10 interceptors deployed in Poland are going to threaten the thousands of warheads in the Russian deterrent.” For good measure, the Secretary of State professed that "what we’d like to do is to pursue with the Russians missile defense cooperation."
Unfortunately, far from instilling confidence, Dr. Rice’s throw-away line about her arms control pedigree offers a prism through which one can see clearly what increasingly is wrong with American foreign policy, over which she exercises virtually unchallenged sway.
The comment calls to mind, for example, the reprehensible "Chicken Kiev" speech she helped craft back when she made a living “doing arms control” at the "Bush 41" National Security Council. The thrust of that August 1991 address delivered by George H.W. Bush as the Soviet Union was coming apart was an appeal to the Ukrainians to remain under Moscow’s thumb.
This preference for "stability" over potentially positive but uncertain, and possibly risky, change is the default-setting for professional arms controllers, and the diplomatic corps and foreign policy establishment more generally. It is also what passes for the Democrats’ big policy idea on Capitol Hill: Negotiations will take care of everything from the bloodletting in Iraq to China’s bid to control outer space. Don’t worry about the megalomaniacal mullahs in Iran; talk to them. And so on.
Call it the "love-the-one-you-are-with" syndrome. Yes, horrible totalitarians may be nasty to their own people and a threat to us but, as long as we have a “process” that has them at the negotiating table – or better yet, has us making arms control or other deals with them – the appearance of a peaceable and stable “world order” can be maintained.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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