Why Bush Must Still Confront Rogue States

[Wall Street Journal] David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey - With less than a year to go in office, the Bush administration may feel powerless as it attempts to deal with rogue states that support terrorists and proliferate weapons of mass destruction. But there is still a lot President Bush and his team can do about the likes of Iran and Syria if they act now to keep these regimes in the international spotlight. On Sunday, the U.S. assumed the presidency of the UN Security Council (the seat rotates every month). This gives Mr. Bush an opportunity to launch a campaign to isolate these countries. The first step could be to present the known and internationally accepted facts of the regimes' misdeeds. The case against Iran is especially strong. Even among rogue governments, Tehran stands alone, mixing disgusting deeds and despicable words. The State Department has fingered Iran as a state sponsor of terror since 1984. Tehran has signed the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), but has pursued a nuclear weapons program anyway. There is compelling evidence that the regime has trained and funded Iraqi insurgents who target U.S. and Iraqi soldiers. Iran has furnished weapons - particularly long-range missiles - and training to Hamas and Hizbullah. These weapons are used for indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilians. There is a similarly compelling case to be made against Syria, which has been listed as a state sponsor of terror since 1979. Damascus gives sanctuary to terrorists from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah. It has also, judging by recent intelligence disclosures, embarked on a clandestine nuclear program in conjunction with North Korea and in defiance of NPT obligations. Syria's brutal campaign to dominate Lebanon also makes it an international problem. Opening up talks at this point with Iran and Syria - while these regimes are engaging in abhorrent behavior - would be a serious mistake, particularly when the West faces a major security challenge from state-sponsored terrorism. Doing so would certainly bolster these leaders in the region and normalize their behavior. Our policy should be to isolate Tehran and Damascus. The authors served in the Justice Department under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. -

2008-06-02 01:00:00

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