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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Thursday | May 15, 2003

A Security Agenda

Since the DLC has made the charge that Howard Dean is too liberal on defense and other issues, I think it would be good to outline the challenges which the next President will face. While personally neutral on the Democratic Candidates, these are issues they will have to deal with in the campaign.

1) Intelligence

Calls for reform of intelligence has been going on for seven years. Yet, nothing has been done. When it is done, the focus is on the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA has flaws, but nothing like the hidebound National Security Agency or the FBI. Creating a functioning, effective national security aparatus is critical for the defense of the country. What we have now is excessively politically driven and unable to adust for the current threats we now face

2) Homeland Security

The Democrats wanted this agency, and now we find out it's the ultimate in Rube Goldberg contraptions. Last month, the Transportation Security Agency found it had hired felons to work in the NY airports. Tom Ridge is overmatched for the job and unable to push a clear internal security regime for the US which doesn't violate human rights, while protecting its citizens

3) The Legal Approach

How long can we keep the gulag at Guantanamo going? Two years? Four? Or are these people the next Rudolph Hess, to live forever in US custody? How are we going to deal with detaining legitimate threats to US security while protecting basic human rights and protecting our credibility around the world. How do we alter laws to make for more efficient law enforcement while not abrogating our basic rights. Also, how long can the US stand outside bodies like the International Criminal Court?


We have to redefine how we deal with all of Europe. Not just our new, pliant allies, but our old, long standing allies. Repairing the bullying ways of the Bush Administration while making sure US interests are protected. What are going to be the new defense arrangements between the US and the Europeans? How do we get the Europeans to share more of the burden while keeping NATO alive and vibrant.


How does the US respond to endemic instability, rampant disease and ongoing corruption? What systems do the US back to improve the lives of Africans? How do we further stability and trade and control the spread of disease. A corrupt, indolent Africa is a danger to the world. Africa is too large and too rich to be what it is today.

6)Israel and Palestine

Does the US stay loyal to Likud or does it bring balance to the equation? How can the Palestinians end terrorism when Israel will repsect neither its instutions or territory. The Sharon plan to defend Israel has failed. It clearly does not work. The Arafat plan to secure a Palestinian state has failed. It clearly does not work. There has to be a plan to find a peace which works for everyone.

7)The Gulf

How long do we stay in Iraq? How can we get the Saudis to deal with their internal issues? How do we deal with an emerging Democratic Iran? What systems do we promote and what people do we support in the region after the Iraq War. Our current policy has engendered hatred among the Arab masses. Can we promote democratic values without using the Fifth Corps?

8) South Asia

What can we do to resolve the tension between India and Pakistan while we deal with Al Qaeda/Taliban. What systems can we introduce to ensure both countries form a strong incentive for peace and stablility? An destablized South Asia is a threat to US security and increasingly our economy. More than good will towards men hangs on peace in this region.

9) East Asia

How do we restrain North Korea? How do we frame China in policy, as trading partner or potential enemy? Where do we stand on Taiwanese independence?
When facing the challenges of East Asia, we need to promote stability and democratic values while realising the potential for economic competition.

10) Latin America and the Caribbean

Our immigration policy is in tatters. The Mexicans resent us and the rest of our neighbors look on us with fear and anger. We sat by as Argentina collapsed and while Brazil elected a left of center government. How do we define our relationship with Mexico and how many of their citizens work here? Then there is Cuba, hobby horse of the right and embossed in a policy of amber enforced from Miami. How can we continue to let a small group of ideologues define a relationship with one of our most important neighbors? How do we break this logjam?

11) The UN

The US has to decide whether to play ball or not. We have to pay our dues and stop using them as a political football. We cannot use the UN for domestic political points and punish people around the world. If we are to be part of the UN, we have to live by the rules other countries live by.

Whomever runs against Bush will have to come up with clear, concise answers to these issues and how, most of all, they will protect the United States from terrorism. The Bush methods have done little except fill jails with suspects while the netowrk which made 9/11 possible is reforming and leaving their calling cards in Saudi Arabia.

Steve Gilliard

Posted May 15, 2003 02:36 PM | Comments (35)


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