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Think Tank Wrap-up

By United Press International   |   Oct. 11, 2001 at 6:24 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- The UPI Think Tank Wrap-Up is a daily digest covering brief opinion pieces, reactions to recent news events, and position statements released by various think tanks.


East-West Center

(The East-West Center is an education and research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to strengthen understanding and relations between the United States and the countries of the Asia Pacific region. The center carries out its mission through programs of cooperative study, training and research. The center is supported by the U.S. government and the governments of nine Asia Pacific nations.)

WASHINGTON --J apan's Moves On Terrorism Will Test Public Support For U.S. Alliance

Debate in Japan's parliament over Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's proposal to assist the United States in its war against terrorism reveals continued ambivalence in the country over using the military in the name of the alliance.

Support will depend on whether citizens believe such assistance contributes to their security, said Sheila Smith, an East-West Center specialist on U.S.-Japan relations.

"Despite fears about terrorist reprisals, there seems to be a growing awareness that Japan must face the risks of acting in concert with the United States where its interests are engaged," Smith said. "Yet, it is important to observe how the debate in the Diet (the Japanese parliament) will restrict Prime Minister Koizumi's ability to be flexible over time with the use of Japan's military. The government will not be given carte blanche to use it in ways that challenge the existing Constitution."

Smith is author of a new East-West Center publication, "Japan's Uneasy Citizens and the U.S.-Japan Alliance." She writes that while U.S. and Japanese policymakers have successfully reaffirmed the U.S.-Japan security alliance since the end of the Cold War, a series of events has revealed a deeper ambivalence in Japan about the terms of the alliance.

These events began with the 1995 rape of a school girl in Okinawa by U.S. servicemen, focusing attention on the social costs to residents of hosting U.S. forces. In 1999 came North Korea's launch of a missile over Japan, raising doubts among many Japanese about their alliance partner's ability to protect them. Most recently, the outcome of the 2001 sinking of the Ehime Maru training ship by a U.S. nuclear sub seemed to many to sacrifice Japanese citizens' interests to those of the U.S. military.

Together these events suggest "increasing impatience among Japan's citizens with the way the alliance is managed. This disconnect between the public and policymakers could, if untended, have serious implications for the U.S.-Japan alliance."

In a meeting with President George W. Bush last week, Koizumi discussed a seven-point proposal for assisting the United States in its war against terrorism, including the dispatch of the Japanese Self Defense Force to provide rear-area support for U.S. military forces in the Gulf.


Center for Strategic and International Studies

WASHINGTON -- CSIS Analysts Respond to Terrorism: Military, Regional, Energy Policy

Military response:

Anthony H. Cordesman, holder of the CSIS Burke chair in Strategy -- "We have begun a military campaign that now must end in the overthrow of both the present Taliban regime and the virtual destruction of al Qaida. Whether or not this means any significant commitment of U.S. ground forces, it does mean we must create new facts on the ground throughout Afghanistan. Now that we have committed our prestige to this battle, half-measures risk telling the world we remain vulnerable. Within the region, failure means strengthening terrorism, destabilizing Pakistan and the Central Asian states on Afghanistan's border, gravely undermining our position in the Gulf, and giving Islamic extremists far greater strength in the Levant and North Africa. Barring a catalytic collapse of the Taliban, this could easily mean months of airstrikes and a dissident-led ground campaign that could not be fully successful until next spring. We have begun what could be a long journey, and we have no choice other than to finish it."

Michèle Flournoy, senior adviser, CSIS International Security Program -- "The military operation under way in Afghanistan reflects a fundamentally different concept of operations. Air and missile strikes are being used not only to destroy highly valued assets of both the Taliban and al Qaida but also to flush out terrorists from hiding in the hope that special operations forces can interdict them on the move. The air and missile strikes are also being used to level the playing field militarily within Afghanistan so that opposition groups like the Northern Alliance can be more effective in taking on the Taliban. In the days and weeks to come, we can expect to see the United States providing direct support to these forces as they engage the Taliban on the ground. The ultimate aim of these operations is to create conditions that give rise to regime change within Afghanistan, undertaken by Afghans -- not the United States --with the support of the international community."

Jay Farrar, CSIS director of Special Programs --"The world will watch to see what results are derived from this action and will be looking for signs that the United States is once again striking out with brute force, only to falter in its broader efforts. That is where President Bush and his anti-terrorism coalition must remain firmly engaged- beyond the military option. Actions to forge a broader-based foreign policy that recognizes the need to deal with root causes of terrorism, along with the realization that the 'homeland' is now part of the battlefield, will require all Americans, and indeed citizens everywhere, to participate in this campaign."

Osama bin Laden:

Daniel Benjamin, senior fellow, CSIS International Security Program -- "Bin Laden's video message served several purposes. It showed that bin Laden was not going to cede the airwaves to the United States -- and that he had the impunity to be on the air even as the U.S. and British attacks were under way. It staked, once again, his claim to be the champion of Islam against the West and thus emphasized his Manichean world view. It also represented a continuation of his effort to show that he is the standard bearer of the Palestinian cause. This is pure opportunism on his part since he showed little interest in the Palestinians until the intifada exploded in the last year and captured attention throughout the Muslim world. Even as hostilities continue, bin Laden is trying to build his base of support and foment his version of the clash of civilizations."

Regional p:

Teresita Schaffer, director, CSIS South Asia Project -- "In Pakistan, the air attacks on Afghanistan caused anger in poor urban neighborhoods. However, (Pakistani) President (Pervez) Musharraf's decision to arrest a couple of key fundamentalist political leaders and replace several senior generals, including the intelligence chief, will be popular with the middle class and the establishment. In the longer term, he needs to demonstrate that this tough policy can bring back economic growth and a more stable neighborhood. Continuing air attacks will strain his support base."

Celeste Wallander, director, CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program -- "In choosing to join the coalition against terrorism, Russia, Uzbekistan and the other countries of Central Asia had to choose between the risks of allowing extremist Islamic and terrorist networks in the region to continue to operate, and the risks of military conflict, escalation, and instability that may result from U.S. operations. They have decided that terrorism is the greater risk, but hope to work with the United States to control and minimize escalation and civilian suffering, which would exacerbate an already fragile region. Now that they have made their choice, it is in U.S. interests to take their concerns seriously and to manage the counter-terrorist operation in a way that strengthens our standing in the region and demonstrates that we are a reliable partner that will work for long-term development and security."

Sarah Mendelson, senior fellow, CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program -- "Policymakers in the United States should be appreciative of support the Russians have offered but mindful that the positive murmurings coming from (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin seem not to be shared by many in Russia, especially the military. This is not entirely surprising. The military relationship between the United States and Russia prior to Sept. 11 was on shaky ground and even the tragedy did not erase all the bad feelings. Resistance in military circles means that efforts to cooperate on counter-terrorism with the United States will be, at least for a time, a bit ragged. President Putin may have to expend political capital in order to get folks lining up behind him and his quest to join the global anti-terrorist coalition. He will be tested as a leader not only on the world stage but at home. If he fails, the Russian military will continue to be part of the problem, especially in Chechnya, rather than part of the solution."

Charles Duelfer, visiting scholar, CSIS Middle East Program -- "The airstrikes are a first step in the military campaign against the al Qaida network and the Talibani regime that is hosting the al Qaeda leadership. If the Taliban hope to survive, they must get overwhelming support from the Arab world--and that is not happening. The regime in Baghdad will be watching closely to judge prospects for its own future. If a new regime takes over in Afghanistan, sweeps out al Qaida, and there is manageable dissent in the Arab world, Baghdad will have ample reason to worry about its own links to terrorism."

Effects on energy supplies:

Robert Ebel, director, CSIS Energy Program --"Attacks on Afghanistan as such should not disturb current world oil supply. Supplies are plentiful, OPEC is producing perhaps as much as 1.3 million barrels per day above quotas, and the economic downturn is depressing demand. Should Iraq decide to take its 2.4 million barrels per day of exports off the market, spare producing capacity in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere and strategic oil stocks in the United States and Europe are more than adequate to offset this potential loss."

Guy Caruso, director, CSIS Strategic Energy Initiative -- "Military strikes against Afghanistan are unlikely to have a significant impact on energy markets. Uncertainly regarding future actions and political responses are likely to add to market volatility in the coming weeks. Increased attention to energy security by political and industry leaders is certainly warranted. The track record of the energy industry is one of remarkable resilience."

CSIS notes that these are the views of the individuals cited, not of CSIS, which does not take policy positions.


Institute for Public Accuracy

(The IPA is a nationwide consortium of policy researchers that seeks to broaden public discourse by gaining media access for experts whose perspectives are often overshadowed by major think tanks and other influential institutions.)

WASHINGTON -- Civil Liberties at Home: "Enduring Freedom"?

Christopher Simpson, professor of communications at American University and author of the books "Blowback," "Science of Coercion" and "National Security Directives of the Reagan and Bush Administrations."

"The administration's scapegoating of the U.S. Congress for supposedly leaking information is a good example of how extreme the administration' secrecy policies are. The allegedly leaked information -- a warning that terrorist retaliation could be expected following the current bombing of Afghanistan -- was not really secret in any case. The Bush administration is setting about to dismantle 25 years of constitutional law that provides that the peoples' records are in fact open to the people."

Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.

"The administration's stance on information reflects a disturbing administration indifference to congressional oversight and public accountability. It's part of a pattern of expanding official secrecy. Secrecy is always a temptation -- it minimizes controversy and undercuts political opposition."

Jeanne Butterfield, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

"The current counter-terrorism legislation ... contains several elements that are susceptible to possible overreaching, and powers that if abused could snare innocent victims in its widely flung net."

David Cole, professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center.

"The proposed legislation violates core constitutional principles. In addition to imposing guilt by association, a philosophy the Supreme Court has condemned as 'alien to the traditions of a free society and the First Amendment itself,' the legislation creates patently unconstitutional detention authority. Preventive detention, the Supreme Court has ruled, is permissible only where accompanied by heightened procedural safeguards and limited to those who truly pose a current danger. Yet the bills' mandatory detention provisions would subject immigrants accused of nothing more than a barroom brawl to potentially indefinite detention, without any showing that they pose a current danger to others or risk of flight, and without any administrative procedures for challenging their detention."


The Cato Institute

WASHINGTON -- Corporate Welfare Soars to $87 Billion, Study Shows

As Congress makes its final appropriations for fiscal year 2002 this week and next, keep an eye on the dollars that go to corporate welfare. Those tax dollars are likely to exceed the $87 billion in federal subsidies that went to private companies in fiscal year 2001 -- the largest corporate welfare budget to date.

Some of the private firms that got handouts in 2001 include General Motors, Dow Chemical, Motorola and General Electric.

If that corporate welfare ended, the government could provide U.S. taxpayers with an annual tax cut more than twice as large as the tax rebate checks mailed out this summer, according to Stephen Slivinski, a fiscal policy analyst at the Cato Institute and author of the study, "The Corporate Welfare Budget Bigger Than Ever."

The $87 billion for fiscal year 2001 was doled down through federal departments and programs and out to the private firms. The departments that are the leading corporate welfare providers are the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce, followed by the Department of Energy.

How much did some federal departments give away? Department of Agriculture, $35.8 billion; Department of Commerce, $1.9 billion; Department of Energy, $5 billion; Department of Housing and Urban Development, $7.5 billion; Department of Transportation, $10.3 billion.

"With large increases in national security spending, not to mention the recently-passed $40 billion in emergency spending and the $15 billion airline bailout, the last thing we need is money wasted on corporate welfare programs," said Slivinski.

Mitch Daniels, director of the Office of Management and Budget, says that it is not the government's role to "subsidize, sometimes deeply subsidize, private interests."

A way to end this problem, says Slivinski, is to convene a corporate welfare commission.

"That commission could function like the successful military base closure commission. The commission could compose a list of corporate welfare programs to eliminate and then present that list to Congress, which would have to hold an up-or-down vote on the commission proposal. The commission would help reform-minded legislators to end federal subsidies to business."

The study is available as Policy Analysis No. 415 on the Cato Institute Web site.


The Acton Institute

(The Acton Institute works to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles. Its goal is to help build prosperity and progress on a foundation of religious liberty, economic freedom, and personal moral responsibility.)

WASHINGTON--The Moral Case for Free Trade

by the Rev. Jerry Zandstra

The economic case in favor of free trade is well known, but as America assesses its place in the world, it is time for us to consider the moral case as well.

It would be naïve to think that we will ever see totally free trade, any more than we will ever achieve moral perfection. The challenge is to keep working toward those goals and to create a better world through those efforts. And there is a strong link between our work on both fronts.

Beyond all the familiar lobbying and political infighting over the proposal to restore Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to the president of the United States, there is an overlay of moral issues that cannot be ignored. TPA, sometimes called "fast-track," would give the president the authority needed to negotiate international trade agreements effectively, with Congress required to reject or accept them promptly, without endless compromises and amendments to please different factions.

Every president from Gerald Ford through George H. W. Bush had TPA, which was granted to him by Congress. George W. Bush and his administration need it now. It is an important step in restoring America's lost status as the global leader in supporting free trade. And that kind of leadership is a moral as well as economic and political responsibility.

For America, championing free trade in the world has the same moral imperative as our support for freedom and democracy. We have supported those values because we consider them morally just believe that they offer a better way of life for all the people of the world.

The unquestioned security and comfort of life in America make it difficult to remember that our lifestyle -- as well as that of our industrialized trading partners--is worlds away from the lifestyle of most people on the planet. For the sake of perspective, consider that half the world's population -- about 3 billion people -- has never even made a phone call.

Poverty, hunger and limited healthcare are common in too many parts of the world, even after a decade of overall growth in the global economy, encouraged, in part, by gradually liberalizing trade policies. Lifting trade barriers between rich and poor countries would generate the international trade that decreases human misery through economic growth in developing nations. Christianity and all the other religions of the world recognize a moral obligation by the fortunate few to help the less fortunate many.

Yet liberalized trade is not an act of charity nor a one-way funnel for economic benefits. The traditional protectionists who would have us believe that free trade is a form of welfare financed by the United States are conveniently ignoring the benefits it brings to the average family in this country. The protectionist arguments strain moral credibility when the beneficiaries of such protection turn out to be a handful of producers, as is often the case. They might well benefit by keeping out competitors from another country, but this is certainly not protection for hard-working American families who are forced to pay higher prices.

Trading with the rest of the world contributes to America's greatness. It has encouraged our citizens to exercise God's gift of creativity and to develop new products and services that succeed in the global market while improving the quality of life.

Certainly, given the uncertainty and fear in the international environment right now, we would do well to remember the link between world trade, world peace, and world prosperity. Our doubtlessly well-intentioned friends in the anti-globalization movement seem to have lost touch with that link. Countries that enjoy fair and relatively free trade relations seldom go to war with each other. So a moral position in favor of world peace is fortified by the practical support we give to free trade.

Giving the president the authority needed to negotiate international trade agreements is not a panacea for international relations or the global economy. It would, however, help America regain the moral high ground as the world's leading advocate of free and fair trade.

The Rev. Gerry Zandstra is the director of programs at the Acton Institute.


Institute for Public Accuracy

(The IPA is a nationwide consortium of policy researchers that seeks to broaden public discourse by gaining media access for experts whose perspectives are often overshadowed by major think tanks and other influential institutions.)

WASHINGTON -- First Amendment in Jeopardy?

Mark Crispin Miller, professor of media studies at New York University, and author of "Boxed In: The Culture of TV," and of the forthcoming "Spectacle: Operation Desert Storm and the Triumph of Illusion."

"It's all too easy to use the need for operational security as an excuse to abridge our democratic freedoms."

Janine Jackson, program director of the media watch group FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting).

"White House officials have shown that they're going to restrict and even manipulate information in this bombing campaign, but it's not journalists' role to aid them in that effort. We need critical, independent reporting now more than ever."

Steve Rendall, FAIR senior analyst.

"Attempts at 'information control' always accompany U.S. military actions. The White House's latest efforts to squelch dissent and shape the news are chilling and out of place in an open society. Just as troubling is the willingness of mainstream news outlets to sacrifice independent judgment to government desires."

Jane Kirtley is Silha professor of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota. Kirtley wrote the recent article "Fighting Back Against Information Shutdown, at Home and Abroad."

"The government's attempts to pressure the media regarding the airing of bin Laden's statements are totally illegitimate. Government directives like this, especially to a regulated industry like broadcast and cable, carry the force of coercion, if not the force of law. The government should not be the arbiter of what is appropriate for the public to see and hear. What is one person's propaganda is another person's news."

Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

"In May 1991, the Washington editors of 15 major American news organizations sent a letter to Dick Cheney -- then secretary of defense -- decrying what they called the Pentagon's 'virtually total control' over coverage of the Gulf War. Today, the government's efforts to constrain media coverage are even more extreme. As a practical matter, the First Amendment is in peril. The independence of news media is essential to democracy."

Jill Nelson, author of "Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience" and a columnist for MSNBC.

"Freedom of the press and freedom to dissent are as important now as they have ever been. The job of the media is not to act as a cheerleader for politicians and the military--we've seen this before to our detriment."

Danny Schechter, executive editor of the MediaChannel Web site and former producer with CNN and ABC's "20/20."

"We seem to be in for a new period of censorship, self-censorship and the muzzling of dissent," Schechter said. Meanwhile, he commented, "music still has the power to do what journalism does so rarely: reinforce empathy, caring and a sense of a world with other possibilities."

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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