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Cold War Policies Could Return

There are calls for a return to the Cold War strategies of containment through economic, political and ideological isolation to control rogue states such as Iraq. File photo of US Marines in Korea.
by Amber Corrin
UPI Correspondent
Washington (UPI) Oct. 25, 2006
With support faltering for the war in Iraq a return to Cold War-era containment tactics may be in the works, experts say, but the efficiency of broad strategic changes could prove troublesome as the United States finds itself mired in a multifaceted war on terror.

"After Sept. 11, deterrence and containment were tossed aside because we were seeing a new form of animal," said Justin Logan, foreign policy analyst at the CATO Institute in Washington, D.C. "Maybe we've gone too far in swearing that off; now there's a call to reevaluate this as a viable policy."

Favored by the Eisenhower and Truman administrations to combat the spread of Soviet communism through economic, political and ideological isolation, a number of proponents cite past successes to assert the policy could work where military actions have failed in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.

"These are not empires. These are relatively minor countries in the global sphere" that can be managed, according to Joseph Cirincione of the Center for American Progress, who noted that "serious flaws" in containment strategies are outweighed by benefits that include more time to allow capitalist practices to penetrate and negotiations to take place.

Still, an all-encompassing return to Cold War-era tactics could present problems, and does not guarantee a solution to the many hurdles the Bush administration now faces in its mission to democratize the Middle East. North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon and Iran may soon achieve capability, raising doubts as to whether old strategies will work as well as before.

"Containment can fail," asserted James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation. "In fact, it precipitated World War II. The isolation of Japan was so successful, their way to break out was the attack the U.S."

The success of a modern-day containment policy would hinge on flexibility and persistence, if not on dialogue between state actors and a unified multilateral effort, experts said, adding that any winning strategies toward Iraq or North Korea would be those that adapt to the changing face of the enemy and the complex dangers of modern-day warfare.

"Radical Islam is one of the main challenges (in the Middle East), but maybe not the principle challenge. We need different strategies for different concerns. With regard to Iraq, containment is the name of the game; regional framework, redeployment," said Lee Feinstein, senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

In dealing with Iraq and the U.S.-led war on terror, he said room to maneuver will play a crucial role towards long-term progress and boosting American morale and support.

"We have to weigh the costs of remaining deeply involved in Iraq against accepting the fact that the U.S. is unlikely to achieve what they went there to do," Feinstein said.

Moreover, the failure in Iraq is connected to other pressing global concerns such as the conflict in Darfur, nuclear standoffs with North Korea and Iran, and the aggressiveness of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who recently called Bush "the Devil."

"Now we're seeing the consequence of the perception of failure and weakness. With the U.S. distracted, others are testing the water," he said.

Source: United Press International

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China And US Closing Ranks Over North Korea Issue
Nadi (AFP) Fiji, Oct 25, 2006
The US and China "have never been closer" in the wake of North Korea's nuclear test earlier this month, US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said Wednesday. Hill, who has responsibility for East Asia and the Pacific, has been travelling recently with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in East Asia to try to ensure a united front on the application of UN sanctions against North Korea after its nuclear test on October 9.

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