[eDebate] Korcok and 1% really

Aaron Klemz ehrlenmeyerflask
Fri Jul 7 16:26:13 CDT 2006


"and that is all Cheney's 1% doctrine is: if the US evaluates a threat in 
the security domain as even 1%, it will respond as if it was a certainty. 
that is a forceful move to convince potential competitors to make sure they 
don't even think about doing something remotely threatening to the US. and 
if it works then it might well make many threats evaporate as potential 
competitors scramble to make sure they do NOTHING to anger the hegemon.

and that was sorta obvious in the book. here from p123 of Suskind's book:

"The primary impetus for invading Iraq, according to those attending NSC 
briefings on the Gulf in this period, was to make an example of Hussein, to 
create a demonstration model to guide the behavior of anyone with the 
temerity to acquire destructive weapons or, in any way, flout the authority 
of the United States."In Oval Office meetings, the President would often 
call Iraq a "game changer." More specifically, the theory was the United 
States- with a forceful action against Hussein- would change the rules of 
geopolitical analysis and action for countless other countries."

and i have read not a single answer to THAT. just a bunch of blustering 
nonsense treating the 1% doctrine out of context with a view to mock 


1) Let's look at the "real" effect on the game. Of the other "axis of evil" 
countries - how exactly has their behavior changed?

a) Iran: elected a hardline president in Ahmadinejad (sp?). Aggressively 
expanded their nuclear program, publicly rejected international agreements 
to restrain said nuclear program.
b) North Korea: Withdrew from 6 party talks. Tested missiles with the 
theoretical capacity to deliver a warhead to the US mainland. Demanded a 
non-aggression agreement with the US bilaterally, using missile tests and 
their actual WMD program as leverage.
c) You can bluster all you want about Libya, but the reality is that they 
did not have a credible nuclear weapons program.

2) So what can we surmise the lessons of the Iraq invasion were on the 
calculus of other countries?

a) Strategic ambiguity fails: Hussein's fatal mistake was that he tried to 
simultaneously satisfy the weapons inspectors while leaving enough doubt of 
his WMD capacity to deter a potential attack. As we now know, he didn't have 
a credible WMD deterrent, something that would have been exposed if Hans 
Blix, et al, would have documented if given the time. I'd argue that the 
quick trigger on the invasion was for the very purpose of denying the 
inspectors the chance to rebut the US claims of mobile CW factories, etc, 
since that would have made the stated causus belli moot. But Hussein picked 
the worst possible strategy, playing both sides of the fence.
b) Therefore the Iran / NK strategy: It's become obvious that an actual WMD 
capacity has the potential to deter the US while an ambiguous/possible WMD 
capacity does not. Sure, we've changed the strategic rules - now the rules 
are that you announce and aggressively develop WMD capacity, since that 
means you are a more challenging target. All the Iraq war has done is 
UNDERSCORE the value of possessing a nuke or two and the means to deliver 
it, since it proved that half-measures toward that end fail.

3) And let's be clear, it's a helluva lot more likely than 1% that NK poses 
a threat to US/allied interests and has the means to deliver a nuke to at 
least Japan. But when we deal with NK we push multilateralism and the UN 
process that we mocked in the runup to the Iraq war. This 1% thing is true, 
but not in the sense that defenders of the Bush admin want. As long as it's 
a longshot that there a credible asymmetrical threat we can be bold and 
unilateral and bluster all we want. When it comes to opponents who actually 
have that capability we don't have any illusions about the ability of 
military force to win a conflict without unacceptable losses. It's a 
perverse lesson that will play out over the next 5-10 years as we realize 
that the changing rules actually spur the development of WMD capactiy 
instead of forestalling it.


aaron klemz

More information about the Mailman mailing list