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theapportioner theapportioner is offline
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Old Mar 25th, 2003, 10:30 PM        Economist Opinion - After Iraq
After Iraq

Mar 20th 2003
From The Economist print edition


It will be worth trying more peaceable ways to curb nasty weapons


MIGHT the first war fought to disarm an unsavoury regime of its weapons of mass destruction be successfully turned into the last? The moment of an American-led military assault to strip Iraq of all nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, and the means to deliver them, is as good a moment as any to ponder whether there might in future be less costly ways of checking the spread of such weapons, not least in the Middle East, a region dangerously well stocked with them.

Force has its risks. By using it against Saddam Hussein without formal UN blessing, charge the critics, George Bush will make future efforts to counter proliferation harder still. His strong-arming of Iraq and his hostile “axis of evil” rhetoric may drive those with nuclear ambitions—especially, North Korea and Iran—to speed their bomb-building.

In reality, Mr Bush has done no more than point up how the Security Council has undermined its own authority over the years by failing to oblige Saddam to disarm as he should have done. And, whatever they may now do, neither Iran nor North Korea owes its recent big nuclear strides to anger at Mr Bush, but to technology and know-how acquired well before he came to office. A likelier spur to their weapons building was learning just how close Iraq had come to a bomb of its own before the first Gulf war, without anyone knowing—and then realising that, even if they got caught, the Security Council lacked the courage of its own resolutions.

Few would argue that military force is anything but the least bad of the options now left for dealing with Iraq (the worse one being to leave Mr Hussein armed and defiant). Yet its effect could be more beneficial than gloomsters expect. Stemming the spread of weapons of mass destruction depends on driving up costs to would-be proliferators, and driving down benefits that acquiring such weapons is expected to bring. By taking on Iraq, America is demonstrating to other nuclear wannabes how high the price of rule-breaking can be. Before that demonstration effect wears off, the Americans should take active steps to promote an idea, rehearsed in the past but never acted on: the exploration of a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone in the region.


Mutually assuring diplomacy
Pie in the sky? Many other ambitious diplomatic efforts would have to fall into place first, not least the prospect of a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And even the less adventurous first steps—confidence-building measures to reduce the level of tension—would be far from easy. Yet the disarming of Iraq will change the balance of power in a way that could help others to disarm.

For years ringed by populous enemies bent on its destruction, and outnumbered in every sort of weapon but one—the nuclear sort—Israel has seen that nuclear edge steadily eroded by the spread of chemical-tipped missiles among its neighbours. In the 1990s, better relations with Jordan and Egypt, along with the collapse of the Soviet Union, chief armourer to the hardliners, started some Israelis wondering whether their security was best assured by unilateral action or regional arms control. Bombing Iraq's nuclear reactor back in 1981, they noted, had delayed Saddam's bomb-building, not ended it—and a strike now against Iran's uranium-enrichment facilities might be no more decisive. Meanwhile, the disarming of Iraq removes one more of Israel's dangerously implacable foes.

Any security regime worth pursuing, even an initially modest one, would have to rope in hostile Libya and Iran too. Both have nuclear ambitions, though Iran is the closer to realising them. Yet Iraq's weapons have posed more of a threat to Iran than Israel's, and will soon be gone. And the forcible means of their going will demonstrate to Iran, as much as anyone, the scale of the nuclear risks it now runs.

Might it be too soon to be rethinking the security map of the Middle East? Far from it. That is, if next time the task is to be done peaceably.
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theapportioner theapportioner is offline
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Old Mar 25th, 2003, 10:58 PM       
Quote:
Yet its effect could be more beneficial than gloomsters expect. Stemming the spread of weapons of mass destruction depends on driving up costs to would-be proliferators, and driving down benefits that acquiring such weapons is expected to bring. By taking on Iraq, America is demonstrating to other nuclear wannabes how high the price of rule-breaking can be.
Interesting point. Anyone else have thoughts?

Generally, I regard the pro-war arguments are being pretty weak, but the Economist has at times made compelling cases for it.
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The_Rorschach The_Rorschach is offline
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 03:27 AM        Hmmmm
You know, anything I could say would be better, and more intellegently, said by this man:

http://www.mises.org/rothspeak/murray.asp
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Buffalo Tom Buffalo Tom is offline
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 11:49 AM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by theapportioner
Quote:
Yet its effect could be more beneficial than gloomsters expect. Stemming the spread of weapons of mass destruction depends on driving up costs to would-be proliferators, and driving down benefits that acquiring such weapons is expected to bring. By taking on Iraq, America is demonstrating to other nuclear wannabes how high the price of rule-breaking can be.
Interesting point. Anyone else have thoughts?

Generally, I regard the pro-war arguments are being pretty weak, but the Economist has at times made compelling cases for it.
This only addresses a symptom of the problem and not the cause. A stop-gap measure at best. What is needed is a world-wide effort of complete disarmament of every nation which has weapons of mass destruction. The case is articulated best in this article from the Nation: The case for disarmament
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VinceZeb VinceZeb is offline
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 11:58 AM       
But why should a country that has shown no hostility to another nation disarm? That doesn't make sense. That is like saying that if all people got rid of their guns, then no one would have guns and we would all live happily ever after. Do you not think that some people will SELL those weapons to rogue nations? Rogue nations and terrorist organizations do not care about playing patty-cake diplomacy. They will attack the countries that can’t fight back. If we all disarm, say goodbye to the U.S. and by proxy Canada and Mexico, good day to England, Israel will be wiped from existence, and so forth. We destroyed evil because we could, in a simple basic term, blow it away or made it go broke out of existence and usefulness.
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mburbank mburbank is offline
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Old Mar 26th, 2003, 04:53 PM       
Hmmm. We've shown hostility to other nations.

We've sold weapons to lots of countries now on our list of Rougue States. In some cases the very person currently running these Rouge Sates was put there by us.

"made it go broke out of existence and usefulness."
I guess this mangled sentence refers to the former U.S.S.R. and while the arms race certainly contributed to their economic downfall, I think their War with Afghanistan was was really nailed the coffin shut.

Hmmmm. Massive, unsuportable military expenditure couple with a war and attempted occupation of a hostile country equals economic collapse of a super power.

Wow. That might sound like what we're getting into, except Afghanistan was right next door to the U.S.S.R, so their security concerns were more legitimate and it cost a lot less to get their troops there and then supply them. Phewsh! I was worried for a sec.
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