Does George W. Bush have a Grasp of Key Foreign Policy Issues?
by Michel Chossudovsky

 
 
SUMMARY America is preparing for war. British and US Special Forces "trained in the arts of kidnapping and assassination" are already operating inside Afghanistan. More than one million US troops are on standby. US military bases around the World are on high alert: "the Japan-based USS Kitty Hawk battle group and the 7th Fleet are ready to join" in the largest display of military might since the Vietnam war. The Bush Administration is planning on launching this military operation without delay, prior to the development of a cohesive anti-war movement in the US and around the World.

It is therefore essential in the weeks and months ahead, that citizens' movements in the US and around the world act consistently to confront their respective governments and reverse and dismantle this military agenda. (For details, see Michel Chossudovsky, Post Cold War Shivers, October 2006).

The Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) is an independent research and media group of writers, scholars and activists. It is a registered non profit organization in the province of Quebec, Canada. Michel Chossudovsky is a Canadian economist. He is a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa.Chossudovsky has taught as visiting professor at academic institutions in Western Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia, has acted as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has worked as a consultant for international organizations including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Development Bank, the United Nations African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (AIEDEP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). In 1999, Chossudovsky joined the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research as an adviser.

America is preparing for war. British and US Special Forces "trained in the arts of kidnapping and assassination" are already operating inside Afghanistan. More than one million US troops are on standby. US military bases around the World are on high alert: "the Japan-based USS Kitty Hawk battle group and the 7th Fleet are ready to join" in the largest display of military might since the Vietnam war.

The Bush Administration is planning on launching this military operation without delay, prior to the development of a cohesive anti-war movement in the US and around the World.

Already, US military personnel of the 82nd Airborne and 101st Air Assault Divisions have arrived in Pakistan. They will be collaborating with the Pakistani military and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the agency which over the years --under CIA guidance-- has channeled support to the Islamic jihad including Osama bin Laden and the Taliban government in Kabul.

The pretext to wage war as a means of combating international terrorism is totally fabricated. In a cruel irony, the legitimacy of the Bush administration in embarking on this military adventure rests entirely on Osama bin Laden's presumed role in the terrorist attacks of September 11.

At this critical juncture in US history, does President Bush have a firm grasp of the broad implications of his decisions? According to Time Magazine (15 November 1999):

...on too many issues, especially those dealing with the wider world of global affairs, Bush often sounds as if he's reading from cue cards. When he ventures into international issues, his unfamiliarity is palpable and not even his unshakable self-confidence keeps him from avoiding mistakes.

A president with minimal understanding of key international and strategic issues can easily be manipulated by the military-intelligence apparatus.

Apart from reading carefully prepared speeches, is George W. Bush as President and Commander in Chief capable of formulating "responsible" foreign policy decisions? In this regard, does the President wield real political power or is he an instrument? In other words, who decides in Washington? On the eve of a major military adventure, this question is of utmost significance because ultimately the US military machine will respond when the president "pushes the button".

The knowledge of the President on Pakistan and Afghanistan --i.e. the two countries which constitute the theatre of America's war-- is dismal to say the least. Prior to becoming President, George W. Bush thought the Taliban was a rock group.

In a 1999 TV interview with Andy Hiller on NBC (WHDH in Boston), when asked who was the president of Pakistan, George W. Bush had "the name of General Pervaiz Musharraf on the tip of his tongue, but then allowed his enthusiasm to make him appear to condone the military coup that ousted the elected prime minister, Nawaz Sharif." (Daily Telegraph, 6 November 1999). Below is an excerpt of this interview:
Bush: "The new Pakistani General, he's just been elected - not elected, this guy took over office. It appears this guy is going to bring stability to the country and I think that's good news for the sub- continent."
Hiller: "And you can name him?"
Bush: "General. I can name the general."
Hiller:
"And it's . . ?
Bush: "General."
Hiller: "And the Prime Minister of India?"
Bush: "The new Prime Minister of India is - (pause) No."
To which George W. Bush retorted with a question to Andy Hiller:
Bush: "Can you name the Foreign Minister of Mexico?"
Hiller: "No sir, but I would say to that, I'm not running for President

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Iran's "Power of Deterrence"
The display of Iran's military capabilities is intended to deter US war plans


by Michel Chossudovsky

On November 2, Iran tested three new types of land-to-sea and sea-to-sea missiles in the context of its "Great Prophet II" military exercises carried out on land in the desert (See images below), in the Persian Gulf waters, the Sea of Oman and 14 of Iran's provinces.

Western and Israeli military analysts were taken by surprise. According to Debka, the Israeli intelligence publication (5 November), several features of Iran's military capabilities were unknown to the Pentagon:

"The spectacular swarm of sophisticated missiles fired in Iran's surprise military exercise stuns military planners in the US, Israel and Europe".

Iran's tests of surface missiles on November 2 were marked by precise planning in a carefully staged operation. According to a senior American missile expert (quoted by Debka), "the Iranians demonstrated up-to-date missile-launching technology which the West had not known them to possess."

"They also displayed unfamiliar warheads. But their most startling feat was the successful first test-fire of the long-range Shehab-3 with its cluster of tens of small bomblets, ...

The entire range bore the imprint of new purchases from China. This Shehab-3, whose 2,000-km range brings Israel, the Middle East and Europe within reach - may be more than a match for any anti-missile missile system in American, Israeli or European arsenals - depending critically on the point of its fragmentation. Some of its features are still an enigma in the West. If the Shehab-3's cluster separates close to target, the Israel-US Arrow has a chance to intercept it, but the Americans and Israelis have no defense against the multiple warhead if it separates at a distance." (Debka, November 5, 2006)

Iranian state television showed dozens of missiles being launched both from warships in the Persian Gulf as well as from land based locations in the desert.


According to Uzi Rubin, former head of Israel's anti-ballistic missile program, "the intensity of the military exercise was unprecedented... It was meant to make an impression -- and it made an impression." (www.cnsnews.com 3 November 2006)

"It was a 'technical and operational achievement' said Rubin, pointing to the fact that the Iranians were able to launch so many missiles." (Ibid)

The display has reached its objective. The Head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, General Yahya Rahim Safavi, confirmed that the missile test was conducted "to show our deterrent and defensive power to trans-regional enemies, and we hope they will understand the message."

"It was a clear reference to the U.S., Britain and France, who were among six nations that participated in U.S.-led maneuvers in the Gulf earlier this week. Those exercises focused on surveillance, however.Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a radio interview that she believed that the Iranians "are trying to demonstrate that they are tough." (Ibid)

The exercises, while creating a political stir in the US and Israel, do not seem to have thwarted the US-Israeli resolve to wage a preemptive war on Iran. In the words of Israel' foreign minister:

"It is time for the international community to act decisively and through the vehicle of the Security Council to send a clear message that if they (Iran) continue on their current path, they will incur the wrath of the community of nations," Regev said by telephone on Friday.


Post Cold War Deterrence

Since August, Iran has been involved in major war games.

These military exercises are part of a new post-cold war deterrence on the part of the Tehran government.

The objective is to neutralize US threats regarding Tehran's alleged nuclear weapons program.

The display of Iranian military capabilities is intended to deter US and coalition war plans, which are currently in an advanced state of readiness. The latter is marked by a massive build-up of US and coalition war vessels in the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. (See Nazemroaya, Oct 2006, Chossudovsky, October 2006)

"Deterrence" and "containment" can also be used against the US. In a recent statement by Iran's Foreign Ministry, the objective of the war games were described as follows:

"Our maneuvers are not meant to pose a threat to any country. They are, rather, aimed at reinvigorating Iran's power of deterrence"

Will these developments deter the Bush administration from embarking upon the next stage of its Middle East military adventure?

Will US and Israeli military planners exercise restraint?

One would hope that "Post Cold War deterrence" directed against the US might contribute to temporarily thwarting Washington's military agenda.

On the other hand, we should understand that both sides on an active war footing.

The situation in the Persian Gulf is extremely tense. The massive deployment of US and coalition naval power within a short distance from the Iranian coastline constitutes an act of provocation. This deployment marked by ongoing US war games could trigger an incident which could potentially lead to war.

It is therefore essential in the weeks and months ahead, that citizens' movements in the US and around the world act consistently to confront their respective governments and reverse and dismantle this military agenda. (For details, see Michel Chossudovsky, Post Cold War Shivers, October 2006).

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Debating "War and Peace" behind Closed Doors: NATO's Riga Security Conference

by Michel Chossudovsky


"And what an immense mass of evil must result, and indeed does result, from allowing men to assume the right of anticipating what may happen." Leo Tolstoy

On the 28th of November, heads of State and heads of government from the 26 States together with Ministers of Defense and senior military brass of the "enlarged" Atlantic Alliance (NATO) will be meeting in Riga, Latvia.

The venue is being held in a former Soviet Republic, regrouping for the first time all 26 members of the enlarged NATO, including countries previously in the geopolitical orbit of the Soviet Union: Poland, Roumania, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, the Czech republic. (Complete List) The Venue directly challenges Moscow's influence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It signifies to Moscow that NATO enlargement is proceeding on Russia's doorstep.

Although Israel will not be represented at the Summit, NATO has developed in the last two years a close working relationship with Tel Aviv, which in practical terms provides Israel with a "de facto associate membership" within the Atlantic Alliance. The NATO Riga Summit will launch NATO's Rome based training program for its Mediterranean partner countries and members of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI). The latter includes a number of Arab countries as well as Israel.(see map below)

From a US standpoint, this meeting will be used to build a European consensus on America's "long war". The purpose of the meeting is to rally support (e.g. in European political circles and in the military-industrial complex) for the US led military adventure in the Middle East and Central Asia, which is intimately related, from a strategic standpoint, to the battle for oil and oil pipeline corridors.

The US-NATO military build-up in the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean as well as Washington's "New Middle East" will be on the agenda.

In parallel with the Summit, a major Security Conference ("The Riga Conference") starting on November 27, will bring together politicians, top military brass, corporate CEOs, defense and foreign policy analysts, "top feeder" media pundits, policy advisers and New World Order academics. (See list of participants below). In many regards, this parallel activity organized by the George Marshall Fund's Transatlantic Center is more important from a strategic standpoint than the official Summit venue. Headed by Ronald D. Asmus, a former deputy assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration, the Transatlantic Center's task on behalf of NATO is to foster "transatlantic dialogue" between Europe and America as well as actively seek European "cooperation in the broader Middle East and Black Sea regions".

The Conference is intent upon building a consensus within Europe, regarding America's military agenda in the broader Middle East.

The European military-industrial complex will be represented by key figures from the Franco-German aerospace conglomerate EADS, Italy's Finemecanica. Lockheed Martin's European President Scott Martin, among others will also be attending. Several members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the US Senate, will be in Riga for the conference together with representatives from major foundations including Soros, Carnegie, Konrad Adenauer and Robert Schuman.

Among the participants are several key figures, who are known to play a behind a scenes role in international affairs, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security adviser and the author of The Grand Chessboard, former Mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani, Uzi Arad, formerly Mossad Director of Intelligence and foreign policy adviser to (former) Prime Minister Netanyahu, Marc Grossman, now with the Cohen Group, who was Under Secretary of State in GWB's first term in office (2001-2005), Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg of the German Bundestag's Foreign Affairs Committee, adviser to Chancellor Angela Merkel and a staunch supporter of Israel, Bruce P. Jackson, who heads the US Committee on NATO and sits on the Board of Directors of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the Washington based think tank which formulated the Neocons' "long war" doctrine.

Among the major themes of the Riga Conference are NATO's role in the Middle East, the broader issue of "Energy Security" as well as the "enlargement" of NATO to eventually include the Ukraine and Georgia. Both of these former Soviet republics on Russia's doorstep are increasingly within the US-NATO geopolitical orbit. They are part of GUUAM, a 1999 military cooperation agreement with NATO. They play a strategic role in the structure of oil pipeline and transport corridors out of the Caspian sea basin.

Held in Latvia on Russia's immediate border, the venue is a slap in the face not only to Russia's Vladimir Putin but also to Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko. Key figures of the Belarus political opposition are also part of the gathering.

Participants from the NATO's Mediterranean partners in the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) (including Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia and Israel) are also on the list of invitees.

In addition to the formal sessions, which will be covered by the media, the Conference is to hold several behind closed doors Night Owl sessions focusing on three related strategic issues.

Night Owl Session 1:Energy Security: What Role for NATO and EU?
Night Owl Session 2: Ukraine and Georgia: Credible Candidates for NATO Membership?
Night Owl Session 3: Does NATO have a Role in the Middle East?

One would also expect that in addition to the announced behind closed doors sessions, a number of other behind the scenes meetings and consultations will be held, which have a direct bearing on the US-UK-NATO-Israel military agenda in the Middle East and Central Asia.


ANNEX

Full List of Participants The Riga Conference as of 26 November2006(word) http://www.rigasummit.lv/nfil/Riga_Conference_Participant_List_26_Nov_06.doc

The Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) is an independent research and media group of writers, scholars and activists. It is a registered non profit organization in the province of Quebec, Canada.

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Michel Chossudovsky is a Canadian economist. He is a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa.Chossudovsky has taught as visiting professor at academic institutions in Western Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia, has acted as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has worked as a consultant for international organizations including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Development Bank, the United Nations African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (AIEDEP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). In 1999, Chossudovsky joined the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research as an adviser.

Chossudovsky is past president of the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. He is a member of research organisations that include the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER), the Geopolitical Drug Watch (OGD) (Paris)and the International People's Health Council (IPHC).He is an active member of the anti-war movement in Canada, has written extensively on the war in Yugoslavia, and has been involved in the propagation of alternate theories regarding the September 11 terrorist attacks.[1] He is a frequent contributor to Le Monde diplomatique, Third World Resurgence and Covert Action Quarterly. His publications have been translated into more than twenty languages. His latest book is titled America's "War on Terrorism".He is editor for the Centre for Research on Globalization, which operates a website at globalresearch.ca. The Centre for Research on Globalization states to be "committed to curbing the tide of "globalisation" and "disarming" the New World Order". The center's latest story is on Impeaching President Bush (25 Mar 06).


The Global Research
webpage at www.globalresearch.ca based in Montreal publishes news articles, commentary, background research and analysis on a broad range of issues, focussing on social, economic, strategic, geopolitical and environmental processes.

The website was established on the 9th of September 2001, two days before the tragic events of September 11. Barely a few days later, Global Research had become a major news source on the New World Order and Washington's "war on terrorism".

Since September 2001, they have established an extensive archive of news articles, in-depth reports and analysis on issues which are barely covered by the mainstream media.


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