Wednesday, February 11, 2004

You can read the President's speech here.

The speech wasn't as assertive as I'd predicted, but Bush did throw a bone to the base.

"There is a consensus among nations that proliferation cannot be tolerated. Yet this consensus means little unless it is translated into action (my emphasis.) Every civilized nation has a stake in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. These materials and technologies, and the people who traffic in them, cross many borders. To stop this trade, the nations of the world must be strong and determined. We must work together, we must act effectively."

Dennis Miller must be giddy. This is the kind of forceful rhetoric that portended the war in Iraq.

Bush went on to announce a series of proposals designed to "strengthen the world's efforts to stop the spread of deadly weapons."

He saved the best, or at least the most interesting, for last:

"And, finally, countries under investigation for violating nuclear non-proliferation obligations are currently allowed to serve on the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Board of Governors. For instance, Iran -- a country suspected of maintaining an extensive nuclear weapons program -- recently completed a two-year term on the Board. Allowing potential violators to serve on the Board creates an unacceptable barrier to effective action. No state under investigation for proliferation violations should be allowed to serve on the IAEA Board of Governors -- or on the new special committee. And any state currently on the Board that comes under investigation should be suspended from the Board. The integrity and mission of the IAEA depends on this simple principle: Those actively breaking the rules should not be entrusted with enforcing the rules."

No more predictions, but this could become a future argument against the IAEA's legitimacy, the same way Libya's involvement with the Human Rights Commission was used against the United Nations.

Just last February, Donald Rumsfeld blasted the U.N. for allowing Libya to chair the commission:

"An institution that, with the support or acquiescence of many of the nations represented in this room, would permit [this] seems not to be even struggling to regain credibility." (N.Y. Daily News, 02.09.2003)