bureaucracybusters

PC IN THE “WAR ON TERROR”: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Military, Politics on June 9, 2010 at 9:46 pm

During most of the eight-year Presidency of Bill Clinton, the State Department often referred to nations like Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as “rogue states.”

In a 1994 lecture, Madeleine Albright, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, defined a rogue state as one that actively tried to undermine the international system.

But in 2000, the State Department declared that it would no longer call such nations “rogues.” Instead, they would now be referred to as “states of concern.”

State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said that “rogue” was inflammatory, and might hamper the efforts of the United States to reach agreements with its potential adversaries.

In short, it’s become Politically Incorrect to refer to even our sworn enemies as enemies.

As Steven Emerson, president of the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) puts it: “If you can’t name your enemy, how can you defeat him?”

The following are excerpts from that June 19, 2000 press briefing where the announcement was made.

Q: On a related matter, the Secretary [of State, Madeleine Albright] said today, this morning, that the United States has abandoned the expression “rogue states” in favor of “states of concern.” I wondered if you could sort of give us an idea of the ideological shift that’s involved in this change in terminology.

MR. BOUCHER: All right. The phrase “states of concern” is a more general phrase. I think that the issue was whether you have one policy that tries to fit all, and when all these states are opposed to the peace process and opposed to the international situation and opposed to any form of liberalization and democracy, it’s easy to describe in one basket.

* * * * *

So the point, I think, is just a recognition that we have seen some evolution in different ways in different places, and that we will deal appropriately with each one based on the kind of evolution we’re seeing and what we think is possible in terms of getting them to live more harmoniously with the international environment and, in particular, to address the concerns that the United States has.

* * * * *

Q: Is “rogue state” then out of the lexicon as of today?

MR. BOUCHER: I haven’t used it for a while.

Q: Is it possible that some states will still be referred to as “rogue states” if they —

MR. BOUCHER: If they want to be rogues, they can be rogues, but generally we have not been using the term for a while, I think.

Q: So it’s not a matter of some countries continue to be “rogue states” and others have progressed to “states of concern;” all of them henceforth are “states of concern”?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes.

Q: But does this lower the bar for what a “state of concern” is, now that there’s no “rogue state”?

MR. BOUCHER: Does this lower the bar? No, because, as I said, it’s more a description than a change in policy, because the issue is: Are various countries whose activities around the world have been troubling to us, are they actually dealing with the issues that we have been concerned about? And if we are able to encourage them or pressure them or otherwise produce changes in their behavior, and therefore a change in our relationship, we’re willing to do that. If they’re not, then we’re going to keep our sanctions on and we’re going to keep our restrictions on and we’re not going to change our policies.

Q: PR-wise, does that make it easier for the Administration if you ease sanctions on a “state of concern” than if you ease sanctions on a “rogue state”? So isn’t this just as much for you as it is them?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I think the determination will be state by state, where if we do something with an individual country that people think is unmerited, I think we’ll hear about it.

Q: Can you tell us how many there are?

MR. BOUCHER: No.

* * * * *

Q: So are the same seven countries – or however many countries it was that were considered “rogue states” before – are they all now considered “states of concern”?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes, they would be. But I have to say the point is not to categorize them; the point is to deal with each country on the basis of what we can accomplish in terms of what we care about.

Q: But when you change the category, that is necessarily a categorization.

MR. BOUCHER: We’ll discuss that over lunch sometime. I think that’s too philosophical for me to deal with from the podium.

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