Rogues' Gallery: Who Qualifies?
Crisis in the Balkans
East Timor Retrospective
Cuba and the US Government: David vs. Goliath
Putting on the Pressure: Latin America
"Recovering Rights": A Crooked Path
The United States and the "Challenge of Universality"
The Legacy of War
Power in the Domestic Arena
An Excerpt from Rogue States by Noam Chomsky
The concept of "rogue state" plays a pre-eminent role today in policy planning and analysis.
The current Iraq crisis is only the latest example. Washington and London declared Iraq a "rogue state," a threat to its neighbors and to the entire world, an "outlaw nation" led by a reincarnation of Hitler who must be contained by the guardians of world order, the United States and its British "junior partner," to adopt the term ruefully employed by the British foreign office half a century ago. The concept merits a close look.
A secret 1995 study of the Strategic Command, which is responsible for the strategic nuclear arsenal, outlines the basic thinking. Released through the Freedom of Information Act, the study, Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence, "shows how the United States shifted its deterrent strategy from the defunct Soviet Union to so-called rogue states such as Iraq, Libya, Cuba and North Korea," AP reports. The study advocates that the US exploit its nuclear arsenal to portray itself as "irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked." That "should be a part of the national persona we project to all adversaries," in particular the "rogue states." "It hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed," let alone committed to such silliness as international law and treaty obligations. "The fact that some elements" of the US government "may appear to be potentially 'out of control' can be beneficial to creating and reinforcing fears and doubts within the minds of an adversary's decision makers." The report resurrects Nixon's "madman theory": our enemies should recognize that we are crazed and unpredictable, with extraordin