Bill Clinton on the Path to Peace

I didn’t realize until I read this piece on Salon Magazine how much I missed the man

Salon: The path to peace

Our security policy should include five major elements:

First, we should support President Bush and our military in finishing the job of getting Osama bin Laden and the other al-Qaida leaders out of Afghanistan.

Second, we must do everything we can to end the North Korean nuclear missile program. This is a very big deal: The North Koreans may not be able to grow enough food to feed their people, but they are world-class missile builders and they sell missiles to our adversaries.

During my administration, we succeeded in ending North Korea’s nuclear program and its testing of long-range missiles. At the end of my second term, we came close to an agreement to end its missile program entirely. The key to the final agreement was to be a presidential visit to North Korea. I was willing to go, but in the last few weeks of my administration we had to focus all our energies on the apparent chance to achieve a Middle East peace agreement. I decided not to risk this chance by taking a trip that would have had to include South Africa, China, and Japan.

I remain convinced that an end can be negotiated to the North Korean program if the Bush administration makes it a high priority.

Third, we must constrain the production and distribution of chemical, biological and small-scale nuclear weapons. We know that Saddam Hussein is a continuing concern because his laboratories are busy. His military is much weaker than it was at the time of the Persian Gulf War, but the threat of his labs is real. It is not as immediate as the need to restart the Middle East peace process and stop the violence there, and it may not require an invasion, but it must be addressed.

Fourth, we should increase the capacity of our friends to deal with terror. I support what President Bush is doing to help President Gloria Arroyo in the Philippines. I also believe Bush is right to broaden the uses of our aid to Colombia, in order to save the oldest democracy in Latin America from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The FARC are, in fact, terrorists in the service of drug traffickers who are trying to make Colombia the world’s first narco-state.

We should also support our friends in Africa who are trying to organize themselves into coherent societies. One of the best ways is to continue funding the Africa Crisis Response Initiative. Launched during my administration, this program provides U.S. support for a mixed African military force that can go wherever it is needed, so that Africans can be their own peacekeepers and deal with their own terrorists and tribal conflicts. I hope the Bush administration will not cut funding for this program.

Fifth, we have to improve domestic defenses and cooperation. I support the creation of a new Department of Homeland Security as long as it has the authority to keep all the related agencies in close cooperation and it has immediate access to all intelligence.

More partners, fewer terrorists. In addition to these five defensive steps, it is critical to our new foreign and security policy framework that we have a vision, as our predecessors did after the Second World War, for building a better world with more partners and fewer terrorists.

The guiding principle of this reordered world comes directly from the Third Way philosophy: Empowerment, opportunity and responsibility.

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What bin Laden was really attacking

This Salon article I found expresses well what I’ve been trying to figure out how to put into words over the last week. I don’t believe the terrorist attacks are something we brought on ourselves because of our foreign policy over the last three decades.

I think they’re an attack on modernity. They’re an attack on our contemporary way of life, and on our secular, consumer behavior. Furthermore, (this is going beyond what the article says) I don’t believe that Osama bin Laden is himself a devout or fanatical Muslim, or that he really wants to attack us because we’re decadent and irreligious. That may be true of his followers, but not of him. I think, for him personally, it’s about power. It’s about gaining control, and fanatical religion is just a tool that he’s using successfully, ala Machiavelli or Sun Tzu. If he were really as devout as he claims to be, he’d have flown the plane himself. And because of these things, we have no choice but to kill him.

I’ve been saying for years that the only legitimate reason to have nuclear weapons would be to defend against a direct attack on the US, and that I the only reason to have a military would be to protect against invasion or attack on our country, and if that every happened, I’d buy a gun and be ready to defend the country myself. I haven’t changed my mind. Frankly, I think we should drop a nuclear bomb on Afghanistan. We have every right to do so; they killed Americans on American soil. There’s no better reason than that to drop the bomb. In fact, it’s the only legitimate reason to do so, and if we don’t do it for this situation, why bother having them at all?

All this bullshit about not killing “innocent civilians”. Um, THEY killed OURS. If we can’t do so in turn, what’s the point? What’s the point of the “war on terrorism” at all? Why not just open the damned borders and let them in?

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