Bush White House Sets Defiant Course in Foreign Policy

By Drinan, Robert F. | National Catholic Reporter, October 31, 2003 | Go to article overview

Bush White House Sets Defiant Course in Foreign Policy


Drinan, Robert F., National Catholic Reporter


The United States appears to be withdrawing from most of the international programs that have been created since the end of the Cold War in 1990.

The prime example is, of course, the invasion of Iraq--a war that the Security Council of the United Nations refused to endorse.

In addition, it is a war condemned by the Holy See; by the World Council of Churches, which represents virtually all non-Catholic Christians in the world; and by the National Council of Churches, which represents all the mainline Protestants and some Orthodox in the United States. The war was also condemned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

It is difficult to say which of the rejections of international law is the worst. It may be the Bush directive in January 2002 to begin development of new nuclear weapons that can be used against hardened targets. This is arguably against the non-proliferation treaty that commits the United States to "pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race" and to "nuclear disarmament." (Emphasis added.)

In addition to these unilateral retreats from accepted international norms, the White House has also withdrawn into an isolationist position on several other major questions.

In November 2001, the United States announced its opposition to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of 1996 and its determination to resume nuclear testing of new short-range tactical nuclear weapons. The United States is the only nation possessing nuclear weapons that desires to resume testing.

In December 2001, the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972--a major arms control accord.

In July 2001, the United States walked out of a London conference designed to strengthen the Biological and Toxin Convention ratified by 144 nations.

In 2001, the United States was the only country to refuse to support the U.N. agreement to curb the international flow of illicit small arms. The White House alleged that the measure could impinge on the right of Americans to keep and bear arms!

In August 2001, President Bush rejected the Land Mine Treaty of 1997.

In November 2002, the United States voted against the U.N. resolution calling for the end of the boycott of Cuba. The vote was 173 to 3.

In February 2002, Bush announced a plan that, in essence, sidesteps or defies the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 intended to control greenhouse gas emissions. …

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