Ivo Daalder

Ivo H. Daalder is the Sydney Stein, Jr. Chair and a senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the co-author of America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy.

Recent Articles

Bush's Flawed Revolution

George W. Bush has launched a revolution in American foreign policy. In less than three years in office, he has discarded or redefined many of the key principles governing how America engages the world. He has relied on the unilateral exercise of American power rather than on international law and institutions to get his way. He has championed a proactive doctrine of preemption and abandoned the tested strategies of deterrence and containment. He has preferred regime change to direct negotiations with countries and leaders that he loathes. And he has promoted forceful interdiction and missile defenses to counter weapons proliferation, all the while downplaying America's traditional support for nonproliferation treaties and regimes. While recognizing that Bush has made radical changes to American foreign policy, many are now convinced that he is in the midst of a U-turn. The mounting American death toll in Iraq, the soaring price tag of Iraqi reconstruction and Europe's talk of...

Unilateralism Disgraced

George W. Bush's decision to go to war against Iraq was based on three fundamental assumptions: Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction posed an imminent threat to the United States; turning Iraq into a stable and viable self-governing state would be far easier than previous nation-building efforts; and, once weapons were found and postwar normality returned, even those countries opposed to the war would want to contribute to Iraq's reconstruction. Unfortunately for Bush, Iraq and the world, every one of these assumptions has proven wrong. No weapons of mass destruction have been found -- nor, as yet, is there evidence of an illicit weapons program. Chaos reigns in many parts of Iraq. Widespread looting was followed by general lawlessness; guerilla-style attacks against U.S. forces; growing sabotage of electricity, water and oil distribution networks; and terrorist attacks on major soft targets that killed scores and wounded hundreds. The United States, meanwhile,...

Nuclear Wal-Mart?

The Bush administration hailed as a victory North Korea's announcement in late July that it would participate in six-party talks on its nuclear program. The White House had insisted for months that Pyongyang's illicit activities were a regional issue best resolved in a multilateral setting. But unless the administration enters the new talks willing to negotiate, its victory on how many countries get to sit at the table will prove fleeting. If past is prologue, the late summer meeting will produce sparks. North Korean and U.S. diplomats have met twice since the nuclear crisis resurfaced a year ago. Both times Pyongyang surprised the Americans by admitting rather than denying its nuclear ambitions. Last October, North Korean officials told James Kelly, the head of the U.S. delegation, that the North had an illicit uranium-enrichment program. Then, in a meeting this April, Kelly's counterpart informed him that Pyongyang had produced nuclear weapons, and that it could and would "display...

Forward Thinking

Secretary of State Colin Powell's address to the United Nations Security Council provided a powerful indictment of Iraq. By refusing to come clean on its weapons of mass destruction and by actively deceiving UN weapons inspectors, Baghdad clearly is in material breach of UN Resolution 1441. But while Powell made the case that war can be justified, he did not make the case that war would be wise. Though making the case for war was not Powell's charge per se, it is the issue that the White House will have to confront in the coming weeks. Powell's lawyerly brief made three crucial points: First, Baghdad has deliberately deceived UN inspectors. It has moved materials and weapons from yet-to-be-inspected locations, threatened scientists who might tell the truth about Iraq's capabilities and stashed evidence of weapons programs in the homes of government workers. Second, Baghdad continues to possess large stocks of chemical and biological weapons and maintains the capability to produce them...

Where Are the Hawks on North Korea?

D oes George W. Bush actually believe his own foreign-policy pronouncements? A year ago he made North Korea a charter member of the "axis of evil" and vowed not to "permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons." The National Security Strategy he issued last September warned that the United States would strike preemptively to make good on that pledge. Bush told Bob Woodward that he "loathed" Kim Jong Il, North Korea's "dear leader." On Jan. 3, Bush added that he had "no heart for somebody who starves his folks." All this tough talk would make you think Bush would be putting Pyongyang in his gun sights after it decided last month to restart its production of plutonium. But he isn't. Instead, he and his advisers are counseling patience, dismissing preemption and trumpeting the virtues of working with North Korea's neighbors. "Don't be quite so breathless," Colin Powell said, dismissing an interviewer who wondered why the...

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