Good advice for the President

Posted in Other | 20-Dec-04 | Author: Dieter Farwick

Ambassador Ed Rowny - warrior, diplomat and strategic thinker
Ambassador Ed Rowny - warrior, diplomat and strategic thinker
Sir, over the course of many decades you have served for five American presidents and acted as political advisor to several political leaders - especially in arms control.Your book "It takes one for a tango" is still a treasure for all readers interested in the process of political decision-makong. Your voice is still heard in Washington D.C. and beyond.
I want to use your experience and knowledge to get some answers to the big policy questions facing President George W. Bush who's second inauguration is just days ahead of us.

Mr. Ambassador, what are the "hot" issues for the old and new president in his second - and last - term ? What is your advice - perhaps a grand strategy - to the president on how to cope with all the challenges ?

Ed Rowny: The hot issues are both international and domestic. The international ones are the Iraq War, the nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran, the Mideast War, and the Sudan genocide. The domestic ones are preventing terrorist attacks, Social Security and Medicare reform, reducing the deficit, and stimulating economic growth. The grand strategy is to stay the course, strive for international understanding, and strengthen bipartisanship.

Mr. Ambassador, the war on terror and the risk that Weapons of Mass Destruction might fall into the hands of terrorist groups is certainly the top issue. What is your advice ?

Ed Rowny: My advice is to strengthen the Department of Homeland Security. I submitted an op-ed to the Wall Street Journal on December 13, which I hope they will publish. It outlines the changes I think need to be made to make the department more effective. I'm attaching a copy of the op-ed I submitted.

Mr, Ambassador, let's have a look at the most pressing problems around the world.What is your advice to the president concerning the conflict in Iraq ? Should US forces leave rapidly ? How can the elections in January 30 be made safe and free ?

Ed Rowny: We need to keep our troop strength high, continue to attack the insurgents' strongholds, and to the best of our ability, protect polling places. I would favor a more agressive TV and radio appeal in Iraq. We should give more publicity to the good things which are happening in Iraq to help counter the negative international and domestic media.

Mr. Ambassador, the conflict in Afghanistan is interrrelated to the conflict in Iraq. The federal lelections in spring 2005 will be the next litmus test in Afghanistan. What should be done ? Should the US operation ""Enduring Freedom" be merged with NATO's ISAF operation ?

Ed Rowny: We should do all we can to strengthen the Karzai government. I believe a merging of the US operation Enduring Freedom and NATO's ISAF is a good idea. We should strive to strengthen stability in the areas controlled by warlords.

The American view of the world.
The American view of the world.
Mr, Ambassador, the conflict in and around Israel is the crucial to many problems in a volatile region. Does the death of Arafat open the door for a new or renewed peace process ? Will the "road map" get another another chance ?

Ed Rowny: The death of Arafat does open the door to a new era in the Middle East. Sharon's plans to remove settlements from the Gaza Strip and West Bank should be supported. The new Palestine leaders need to exercise better control over terrorist activities.

Mr. Ambassador, the situation in Iran is very difficult to evaluate. Do you believe that the agreement made between the International Atomic Energy Agency, some European countries and Iran is trustworthy or do you believe that there are clandestine efforts in Iran to obtain nuclear weapons ? Are pre-emptive military operations an option ?

Ed Rowny: I do not think that Iran can be trusted to foreswear the development of nuclear weapons. I do not favor a military operation. I do favor more diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran from Great Britain, France, Germany, and Russia.

Mr. Ambassador, the small country of North Korea causes a lot of concern. A military operation against North Korea is not realistic. What are the chances of the so-called "Six-States-talks" ? Should the United States provide a security guarantee to North Korea ?

Ed Rowny: The Six Nations talks should be persude but cannot be counted upon to succeed. The key to changing North Korea's policies lies with China. The claim that North Korea needs a security guarantee is absurd.

Mr. Ambassador, China is on the way to attaining world power status. In the Asian region, China is already an economic power. Chima is not just importing but also exporting goods. Financial investments in Asia and beyond are considerable - even in the United Sates. How should the American president deal with China ? Is it already too late for a policy of containment ?

Ed Rowny: There is nothing wrong with the great economic growth of China. The best hope for peace with China in the future lies in getting them to adopt genuine democracy, adopt a more representative press, and change their abysmal human rights policies. The international community should appeal to China to eschew building military programs and selling weapons abroad. A successful international diplomatic and economic set of policies will obviate any need for a policy of containment.

Mr. Ambassador, you have a lot of experience in the field of arms control. What are the big topics ? What are the risks and chances ?

Ed Rowny: The biggest need for arms control is in the area of nonproliferation. Although we're doing rather well in this area, we need to do more.

US aid - quick and efficient
US aid - quick and efficient
Mr. Ambassador, "Tzunami" was one of the greatest natural disasters of mankind - not just for Asia.Such a disater poses challenges and offers opportunities. The USA are heavily involved in humanitatarian aid. Is this a chance for the USA to be seen as a "good hegemon" ? Do you see chances for more multilateral actions ?

How should the President address that issue in his inauguration speech and during his visit to Europe ?

Ed Rowny: I think the US has always been a benevolent hegemon. Remember the Marshall Plan ?

I believe that sending Se.Powell to work with Se.Ge. Kofi Annan is a good move.Appointing former Presidents Bush and Clinton to raise additional funds was brilliant. I think the President will mention in his inaugural speech that theUS is mindful of the great strategy which occured and add that sending military assistance on top of the 350 million USD aid will probably amount to over a billion in US contribution.

Mr.Ambassador, what are the most urgent domestic problems to be solved or mitigate, and how should this be done ?

Ed Rowny: I have largely answered this in my answer to the first question. To those already mentioned, I would add the need for improved education, countering the threat of Hollywood to our moral values, and raising the ethical standards in our financial and industrial organizations.

The answer to each of your questions would require a book. I hope you find my short answers satisfactory.