Sunday, March 2
Bush shares dream of Middle East democracy
Jim Lobe, Asia Times, February 28, 2003
WASHINGTON - In a major policy address to the neo-conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI), US President George W Bush on Wednesday pledged to "ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another" in post-invasion Iraq and argued that a US victory there "could also begin a new stage for Middle Eastern peace".
"The passing of Saddam Hussein's regime will deprive terrorist networks of a wealthy patron that pays for terrorist training, and offers rewards to families of suicide bombers," he said. "And other regimes will be given a clear warning that support for terror will not be tolerated."
The speech, the latest in an accelerating series of appearances by Bush and other senior members of his administration to drum up public support for war in Iraq with or without the United Nations Security Council's authorization, was notable as much for its venue as its content.
AEI, whose foreign policy "scholars" are closely identified with the most unilateralist and pro-Likud elements in the Bush administration, has acted as the hub of a network of neo-conservative activists and groups, including the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the Center for Security Policy (CSP), the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and several others that have agitated for war against Iraq and other Arab states that are believed to threaten Israel since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan and the Pentagon near Washington, DC.
More than any other think-tank in Washington, AEI and its associates have consistently formulated and favored the most radical and hardline proposals for US policy, including aligning US policy in the Middle East with Israel's right-wing Likud party; cutting ties with traditional US allies such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan; opposing negotiations with North Korea; providing direct security guarantees to Taiwan; and treating China as a strategic threat with which an eventual confrontation should be considered inevitable. [...]