SLUG: 5-48671 Yearender - Foreign Policy (2) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:










INTRO: In offering advice on foreign policy to the incoming Bush Administration, analysts find it easier to be general than specific. As always, the devil is in the details - whether involving the Israeli-Palestinian clash, the Balkan powder keg, the Chinese threat to Taiwan, national missile defense or terrorists' determination to undermine the last remaining superpower. (In the second of three reports,) V-O-A's Ed Warner provides some analysts' views about foreign-policy issues facing President-elect Bush.

TEXT: In his speech after being announced as the next Secretary of State, General Colin Powell said the United States must move ahead with a national missile defense system in cooperation with other nations. President-elect George W. Bush had made the same point during the campaign.

But no other issue quite divides the American foreign policy community like this one. In a long report on foreign-policy goals for the new administration, the research organization RAND found agreement on many matters among a bipartisan group of former policy makers and scholars. But on missile defense - whether it would work and how it would affect the world - there was no agreement.

Former U-S ambassador to NATO Robert Hunter says, one way or another, the new president is going to have to deal with this issue:

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It is very important that the new president immediately starts looking carefully at the issue of national missile defenses. We have major divisions on our panel on which direction we should go, but we were in absolute agreement that unless the new president gets this right, a lot of trouble could be caused, and he must get on top of it right away.

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The RAND report says there is also disagreement on how to handle a revived and belligerent Saddam Hussein, who will probably test the new administration at some point. Is the goal his overthrow, or just containment?

Zalmay Khalilzad notes the report emphasizes the United States should share information with both China and Taiwan, to avoid any miscalculation.


We suggested that the administration might consider going from a kind of strategic ambiguity, which has played a useful role, to consider greater clarity - one that would involve opposing independence for Taiwan, at the same time clarifying that the United States would respond to an unprovoked attack against Taiwan.

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Others ask, how is "unprovoked attack" to be defined? Clarity, they say, is still an issue.

The RAND report stresses the importance of making Russia a reliable member of the international community. At the same time, it endorses the expansion of NATO, to which Moscow vehemently objects.

Ambassador Hunter says NATO comes first:

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The process of building NATO must continue, and the president will need to take the lead within the alliance, working up toward the summit meeting that is projected for 2002 in regard to NATO enlargement. It would be extremely difficult for the alliance not to take in new members on that occasion. The real issues are going to be which countries [join NATO], and also building the process of everything else that goes with it.

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Ted Carpenter, who directs foreign affairs studies for the CATO Institute, says NATO expansion is bound to carry a high price, in terms of relations between Russia and the West.


The RAND scholars assume we can slap the Russians in the face, through additional rounds of NATO expansion, and yet cultivate a constructive relationship with Moscow. We are going to have to choose. Either we stop NATO expansion in its tracks, or we have to reconcile ourselves to a further deterioration in relations with Russia.

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Mr. Carpenter expects the Bush foreign-policy team to be more prudent than ambitious. Be prepared for surprises, says General Powell. Crises no one expects are sure to come along. (Signed))

OPT OUTRO: In his (third and) final report on foreign-policy issues facing the Bush administration, Ed Warner looks at Afghanistan, and the Taleban's refusal to hand over accused terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.