WCJ Comments on The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (17 September 2002)

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iv. Work with others to Defuse Regional Conflicts

“We build a world of justice, or we will live in a world of coercion. The magnitude of our shared responsibilities makes our disagreements look so small.”

President Bush – Berlin, Germany – May 23, 2002

WCJ Comments The National Security Strategy of the United States of America Report – 17 September 2002
No.The NSS ReportComment
1Concerned nations must remain actively engaged in critical regional disputes to avoid explosive escalation and minimize human suffering. In an increasingly interconnected world, regional crisis can strain our alliances, rekindle rivalries among the major powers, and create horrifying affronts to human dignity. When violence erupts and states falter, the United States will work with friends and partners to alleviate suffering and restore stability.As long as the “major powers” and other nation states are allowed to indulge in “rivalries” and violence, there will be “horrifying affronts to human dignity”.

And as long as the United States Government continues to see the world in terms of “alliances” and “friends and enemies”, it will not be able prevent, or even to alleviate, such affronts to human dignity. This is clearly illustrated by the inability of the US Government to resolve the Middles East Conflict.

All the existing regional conflicts can be only resolved on the basis of impartial objective justice — no friendships, no alliances, just plain “blind” justice.

And only by
  1. disarming all the nation states,
  2. limiting the powers of all the national governments to those necessary for honest government based on the principle of unconditional equality under the law, and
  3. establishing workable supra'national institutions
can “horrifying affronts to human dignity” be avoided and prevented in the future.
2aNo doctrine can anticipate every circumstance in which U.S. action — direct or indirect — is warranted. We have finite political, economic, and military resources to meet our global priorities. The United States will approach each case with these strategic principles in mind:
  • The United States should invest time and resources into building international relationships and institutions that can help manage local crises when they emerge.

  • The United States should be realistic about its ability to help those who are unwilling or unready to help themselves. Where and when people are ready to do their part, we will be willing to move decisively.
International “relationships” and institutions are incapable of managing local crises, because they depend of such subjective factors, as whims and fancies of national politicians, the state of the public opinion in nation states, perceived national interest, prejudices of the national leaders and their ambitions, etc.

It is because the world is influenced by such subjective factors, that it is in such a chaos and wars and terrorism are a constant part of human existence.

The only way to finish with this chaos is to establish a world order based on the principle of equality of all nations, groups, and individuals under the law.
3aThe Israeli‐Palestinian conflict is critical because of the toll of human suffering, because of America's close relationship with the state of Israel and key Arab states, and because of that region's importance to other global priorities of the United States.As long as the United States Government think in terms of “close relationships” with this or that country and their view of regional conflicts is affected by that thinking, the US Government will not be able to play a positive role in resolution of regional conflicts, but will continue to be part of these conflicts, or even the cause of these conflicts.

Regional conflicts can be only resolved on the basis of justice. And justice requires total and unconditional objectivity and impartiality.

The failure of the US Government to resolve the Middle East Conflict is due to its “friendship with Israel”, because of which they allow the Israeli government to do what they please, and their “friendship with the key Arab states”, because of which they keep talking of a vision of a Palestinian state without doing anything that would have stopped the conflict.

No legal system worthy of its name will allow a judge, whose daughter was raped, to act as judge in a court hearing of the suspected rapist. Even a judge who has a personal relationship with a party in a civil case, or whose “priorities” could be affected by the outcome of such case, will be barred from hearing that case, on the grounds of personal involvement.
bThere can be no peace for either side without freedom for both sides.It is unfortunate the word “freedom” in this passage is used as a vague political slogan. A more precise statement would be; “as long as the conflict is not resolved on the basis of justice there will be no peace”.

There are instances of infringement of freedom in this case, but there also issues of property rights, like unlawful seizure of property, destruction of property, murders, maimings, etc.

To resolve this case all the matters involved in the dispute must be resolved on the basis of justice. Throwing around of vague political slogans will not resolve the conflict.

It is time to accept the proposition that political demagogy is just as unacceptable as a method of government as wars and terrorism.
cAmerica stands committed to an independent and democratic Palestine, living beside Israel in peace and security.This “formula” is being used by the American Government to state that until Palestine is “democratic”, it will not be “independent”, and the Israeli Army will have unrestricted freedom to do what they please in Palestine, while any Palestinian resistance to the Israeli activities will be seen as “terrorism”.

The meaning of the word “democratic” is not clearly defined. If it means a government elected by vote, then the government of Yasser Arafat is such government. But, this is not what the US government mean.

From their statements, actions, and the “war on terror” doctrine it appears to mean a government which will be loyal not to the Palestinians, but to the Israeli government. And since “independent and ruled by a pro'Israeli government Palestine” is a contradiction in terms, and the Palestinians are unlikely to accept such government, the American formula for resolution of the Middle East conflict is incapable of achieving its stated purpose of “peace and security for Israel”.
dLike all other people, Palestinians deserve a government that serves their interests and listens to their voices.This is another demagogical statement.

People's voices do not always correspond to their interests — often they are little more than wishful thinking and unreasonable egoistic demands.

Hitler was enormously popular in Germany, and in Russia Stalin was worshiped as God by millions. And the idea of “taxing the rich till the pips squeak” was popular in some Western democracies and still has not lost its appeal among some people.

People need a government that is honest, competent and effective, not political demagogues who would pray on deficiencies of human nature to achieve cheap popularity.

But the structure and composition of the Palestinian government is of little relevance for resolving the Middle East Conflict. The real obstacle to the resolution of the Middle East Conflict is the use by the Israeli government of the “war on terror” doctrine to further their expansionist ambitions.

The minimalist objective of the Likud (the main political party in the present Israeli government) would be expulsion of all Arabs and Christians from East Jerusalem, demolition of the mosques on the to of Temple Mount and replacement them with the Third Temple, and strengthening the Israeli hold over the West Bank, which they prefer to call Judea and Samarea (Yehudah and Shomron).

The reason they attack Yasser Arafat is not because Yasser Arafat is an “arch‐terrorist”, but because he is a symbol of the internationally recognized Palestinian State. They hope that, if Yasser Arafat is removed, the Palestinian Authority will disintegrate into a number of rival factions headed by little known leaders, most of whom will be more “militant” than Yasser Arafat. This will allow the Israelis to assume the role of a “peace keeper” and maintainers of “law and order” over the whole of Palestine. This role will enable them implement their own ethnic ambitions.
eThe United States will continue to encourage all parties to step up to their responsibilities as we seek a just and comprehensive settlement to the conflict.Without a strict definition of these responsibilities this statement is just another political slogan justifying the Israeli war against the Palestinians.

But the suggestion behind this slogan is that, if the Palestinians will “stop terror”, the Israelis will withdraw, vacate the settlements, etc.

But this is not how the Israelis see it. Their position is “stop resisting and it will hurt less, but we shall get what we want whether you resist us or not”. They have no intention of withdrawing (except as a temporary tactical move) or of vacating the settlements.
4aThe United States, the international donor community, and the World Bank stand ready to work with a reformed Palestinian government on economic development, increased humanitarian assistance, and a program to establish, finance, and monitor a truly independent judiciary.If this is a sincere statement, then this is a total pipe‐dream having no relation to the real events in the area. If not, then it is a demagogical statement intended to mislead the public. None of this is even remotely possible until the conflict is resolved.
bIf Palestinians embrace democracy, and the rule of law, confront corruption, and firmly reject terror, they can count on American support for the creation of a Palestinian state.The issues of “democracy” is considered in the Comment 6d to the Introduction.

The “rule of law” cannot be restricted to Palestinian only, while the rest of the world is ruled by the principle “might is right”. All the national states must submit themselves to the rule of law, including the United States of America and its “friends” and “allies”.

Yasser Arafat has made repeated declarations that he condemns all kinds of “terror” — terror by non‐government organisations and by national governments. But such condemnations are meaningless, whether they are made by Arafat, Bush or Sharon. They are meaningless because no party can stop violence unilaterally, when the rest of the nation states are free to use violence as they please.

The only way a Palestinian government can realistically stop the Palestinian resistance (terrorism) is for them to be able to say to the Palestinian people:
“The Israeli government have agreed:
  1. to withdraw to the pre‐1967 borders,
  2. to resolve the issue of the Palestinian refugees,
  3. to vacate all the settlements,
  4. to release all the Palestinian prisoners,
  5. to compensate the Palestinians for the destruction of Palestinian property caused by them by their current military operations.
Now, that the conflict can be resolved peacefully on the basis of justice, no further violence against the Israelis is justified, and, if committed, will be considered as crime.”

But such statement can be made by the Palestinian leadership only, if the Israeli government make a clear and credible declaration, that they are willing to accept such conditions.

5aIsrael also has a large stake in the success of a democratic Palestine.The structure, composition and the method of appointment of members of the Palestinian government are irrelevant for Israel and for he Middle East Conflict. What matters for Israel is that it would be able to live in peace and security with all its neighbors.

All the Arab states have made a proposal to Israel that they will establish peace and normal relations with Israel in accordance with the Saudi Plan.

Had Israel accepted this proposal, the Middle East Conflict would have been resolved, and Israel would have been able to live in peace with its neighbors.

But the Israeli government has rejected this proposal, because they have an alternative plan for resolution of the Middle East Conflict.

This plan has been presented by Benjamin Netanyahu to the US Senate on 10 April 2002 in a speech,the essence of which is that Arafat be removed, all Palestinian resistance be physically exterminated, the Israeli control over Palestine be extended, and all the Arab and Muslim states in the Middle East be “democratized” through “regime changes”.

And it is this plan that the US government accepted as the foundation of its Foreign Policy in the Middle East, while at the same time paying lip service to the Arab Plan to placate the “key Arab states”.
bPermanent occupation threatens Israel's identity and democracy.This is true.
cSo the United States continues to challenge Israeli leaders to take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable, credible Palestinian state.All the previous challenges to Israel by the US government have been consistently disregarded by the Israelis, apart of some tactical “withdrawals”. There is nothing in the behavior of the Israeli government to suggest that they are working towards a viable, credible Palestinian state.
dAs there is progress towards security, Israel forces need to withdraw fully to positions they held prior to September 28, 2000.Since the activities of the Israeli Army in the Palestinian territories consist of killing of Palestinians and destruction of Palestinian properties, which the US government justifies by the formula “Israel has right to defend itself”, one can only conclude that the US government hope that once all the Palestinian “terrorists” are killed and all their houses are destroyed, security for Israel will be achieved. This is wishful thinking. The more the Israelis kill and destroy, the more resistance they create, and the less incentive they have to withdraw to the September 28, 2000 lines.
eAnd consistent with the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee, Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories must stop.The Israeli have been disregarding all recommendations, resolutions, and US requests to stop the settlement activities. What will the US government do, if the Israelis ignore this statement by the US government?
fAs violence subsides, freedom of movement should be restored, permitting innocent Palestinians to resume work and normal life.The US government have done nothing to make the violence subside, and there is nothing in this report that would change that. In practice the US have been encouraging this violence by their support of the Israeli government in their war against the Palestinians.
gThe United States can play a crucial role but, ultimately, lasting peace can only come when Israelis and Palestinians resolve the issues and end the conflict between them.The Israelis do not want to resolve the issues on the basis of justice. They want to use the “war on terror” doctrine to obtain as much territorial advantage over the Palestinians as they can get away with. The Palestinians do not have the military might to force the Israelis to accept a just solution. So how can they “end the conflict”?

The conflict can be only ended, if the Israelis drop their expansionist plans. But these expansionist plans have been the philosophy of the Likud Party since its creation, they are the very reason of existence of that party. And since the Likud are the main Party of the Israeli government, there is no prospect of the Israeli government abandoning their expansionist plans of their own accord.

The crucial role that the US government could play in resolving the dispute would have been to force the Israelis to resolve the dispute on the basis of justice. But. so far, the US government have not done that.
6aIn South Asia, the United States has also emphasized the need for India and Pakistan to resolve their disputes. This Administration invested time and resources building strong bilateral relations with India and Pakistan. These strong relations then gave us leverage to play a constructive role when tensions in the region became acute. With Pakistan, our bilateral relations have been bolstered by Pakistan's choice to join the war against terror and move toward building a more open and tolerant society. The Administration sees India‐s potential to become one of the great democratic powers of the twenty‐first century and has worked hard to transform our relationship accordingly. Our involvement in this regional dispute, building on earlier investments in bilateral relations, looks first to concrete steps by India and Pakistan that can help defuse military confrontation.This dispute also needs to be resolved on the basis of justice, otherwise it will carry on smoldering as it has been up to now.
7aIndonesia took courageous steps to create a working democracy and respect for the rule of law. By tolerating ethnic minorities, respecting the rule of law, and accepting open markets, Indonesia may be able to employ the engine of opportunity that has helped lift some of its neighbors out of poverty and desperation. It is the initiative by Indonesia that allows U.S. assistance to make a difference.The developments in Indonesia are indeed encouraging.
8aIn the Western Hemisphere we have formed flexible coalitions with countries that share our priorities, particularly Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Chile, and Colombia. Together we will promote a truly democratic hemisphere where our integration advances security, prosperity, opportunity, and hope. We will work with regional institutions, such as the Summit of the Americas process, the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Defense Ministerial of the Americas for the benefit of the entire hemisphere.These are positive developments. But the American Hemisphere is not isolated from the rest of the world. Regional alliances and institution will have ultimately to give way to world inclusive ones. No friends, no enemies, just one world, where all people are equal under the law.
9aParts of Latin America confront regional conflict, especially arising from the violence of drug cartels and their accomplices. This conflict and unrestrained narcotics trafficking could imperil the health and security of the United States. Therefore we have developed an active strategy to help the Andean nations adjust their economies, enforce their laws, defeat terrorist organizations, and cut off the supply of drugs, while — as important — we work to reduce the demand for drugs in our own country.These are positive developments.
10aIn Colombia, we recognize the link between terrorist and extremist groups that challenge the security of the state and drug trafficking activities that help finance the operations of such groups. We are working to help Colombia defend its democratic institutions and defeat illegal armed groups of both the left and right by extending effective sovereignty over the entire national territory and provide basic security to the Colombian people.These are useful activities.
11aIn Africa, promise and opportunity sit side by side with disease, war, and desperate poverty. This threatens both a core value of the United States — preserving human dignity — and our strategic priority — combating global terror.The “strategic priority” of “combating global terror” is a Quixotic1 paranoia that the US government have developed as a result of the traumatic experiences of the 9/11.

Benjamin Netanyahu, who had been developing a doctrine of “war on terror” long before the events of 9/11, took advantage of the 9/11 paranoia and sold the US government his doctrine, which became the corner stone of the US foreign policy.

But the doctrine of “war on terror” is fundamentally flawed and it prevents the US government to form an informed and rational view of the phenomenon of “terrorism”.

Terrorism should not be confused with organised crime. Although it is possible for terrorists to become criminals, and criminals to become terrorists, in the same way as terrorists can become governments and governments can become terrorists.
bAmerican interests and American principles, therefore, lead in the same direction: we will work with others for an African continent that lives in liberty, peace, and growing prosperity. Together with our European allies, we must help strengthen Africa's fragile states, help build indigenous capability to secure porous borders, and help build up the law enforcement and intelligence infrastructure to deny havens for terrorists.The intentions are good, but the anti‐terror paranoia, the arrogant mentality of a super‐power, and desire to impose own values will be obstacles in their implementation.
12aAn ever more lethal environment exists in Africa as local civil wars spread beyond borders to create regional war zones. Forming coalitions of the willing and cooperative security arrangements are key to confronting these emerging transnational threats.This could be the initial approach, but the real solution to wars and terrorism lies in supra‐national government.
13aAfrica's great size and diversity requires a security strategy that focuses on bilateral engagement and builds coalitions of the willing. This Administration will focus on three interlocking strategies for the region:
  • countries with major impact on their neighborhood such as South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia are anchors for regional engagement and require focused attention;
  • coordination with European allies and international institutions is essential for constructive conflict mediation and successful peace operations; and
  • Africa's capable reforming states and sub'regional organizations must be strengthened as the primary means to address transnational threats on a sustained basis.
This is right.
14aUltimately the path of political and economic freedom presents the surest route to progress in sub‐Saharan Africa, where most wars are conflicts over material resources and political access often tragically waged on the basis of ethnic and religious difference. The transition to the African Union with its stated commitment to good governance and a common responsibility for democratic political systems offers opportunities to strengthen democracy on the continent.The idea of the African Union is right. And the African nations should be encouraged to develop non‐political, honest, competent and effective governments. But, ultimately, all the African countries will become part of one global union — one world composed of nations states equal under one supra‐national law.


1) Don Quixote de la Mancha is a character from a book by a Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes. Having stuffed his head with romantic books about knights and crusaders, Don Quixote, who lived at a time when the Crusades were past history, set out on a crusade of his own in Spain attacking windmills. Normal people saw ordinary windmills, but he saw Saracen horsemen trying to attack him, so he was attacking the windmills.

This book is fiction. But real life is stranger than fiction.

A journalist went to Afghanistan to write a story about an American attack on a Pashtun village. One Afghani explained to him the reason for the attack: “When I see an Afghani villager with a long beard, I see an Afghani villager with a long beard. But, when an American soldier sees an Afghani villager with a long beard, he sees Osama bin Laden”.

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