The White House is currently putting the finishing touches on a new national security strategy, London's Financial Times reported on Thursday in an article two different versions of which were circulating. -- According to Ivo Daalder, a senior fellow at Brookings, "The president's speeches over the last three, four months have identified the threat away from states to an organized group of extremist ideologists, and that democracy is the way to counter that. None of that is in the 2002 document, so there is a re-evaluation of the threat." -- Unfortunately, as an essay in the September/October 2005 Foreign Affairs argued convincingly, there in no reason whatever to believe that democracy can reduce terrorism. -- But so what? -- In an administration marked by thoroughgoing deceit as state policy, why should the national security strategy be any different? -- Like WMDs before it, advocacy for democracy is merely window-dressing for a Machiavellian administration with other things on its mind....
SOFTER U.S. FOREIGN POLICY SEEN AFTER REVIEW
By Caroline Daniel
Financial Times (UK)
January 5, 2006
The White House is in the final stages of updating its National Security Strategy document, marking the first formal reassessment of its foreign policy posture since its landmark 2002 document that set the stage for pre-emptive strikes against terrorist threats.
Administration sources said the updated version was expected to be published next month. It is being drafted by National Security Council officials, led by Peter Feaver, a former Duke University academic, but has not yet been presented to President George W. Bush for approval.
The September 2002 document marked the most profound shift in U.S. foreign and security policy since President Harry S. Truman in 1947 laid out the strategy of containing the Soviet Union.
The 2002 Bush doctrine provoked controversy by claiming the right to strike unilaterally and pre-emptively against hostile states and terrorist groups seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. invaded Iraq six months later.
The new document will mark the first time that Stephen Hadley, national security adviser, has put his formal stamp on the administration's security policy. Condoleezza Rice, now secretary of state, led the 2002 review. ,p> NSC officials declined to comment on what changes would likely be made to the existing strategy. However, analysts predicted it would emphasizse a shift to focusing on nation-building and the problems of weak states, rather than targeting rogue states. Many of the key themes of the 2002 document were mentioned by Mr. Bush in speeches ahead of its publication, suggesting that his recent four keynote Iraq speeches would set the tone of the current review.
Some neo-conservatives expressed concern that it could mark a retreat from the more assertive positions of 2002, such as pre-emption, the signature strategy of the administration.
Gary Schmitt, resident scholar at the AEI and former executive director of the neo-conservative Project for the New American Century, said: "This will be interesting to watch, as everyone dissects every sentence and paragraph to see if there is some change of course, some sign the president is less 'neo-con' in the strategic path he has set the country on."
Danielle Pletka, vice-president at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), said: "A lot of people didn't like the original and see the second term as a time for new thinking. I think this could be a strong attempt to step back. The question is whether it will get past the president and the vice-president." [NOTE: On the FT web site, this paragraph was omitted.]
Ivo Daalder, senior fellow at Brookings, said: "In 2002 the fundamental nature of the threat was al-Qaeda and links with state sponsors, and was about rogue states. The president's speeches over the last three, four months have identified the threat away from states to an organized group of extremist ideologists, and that democracy is the way to counter that. None of that is in the 2002 document, so there is a re-evaluation of the threat."
The review comes in the context of the Quadrennial Defense review, which is due next month and will redirect military priorities. Defense Department officials have warned contractors to expect flatter budgets after 41 per cent growth since the attacks of September