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The spirit to make a difference begins with a vision of what can be. It's the inspiration behind every organization whose dedication to excellence and passion for performance help our communities thrive.

The people of Altria salute The Ripon Society for crea ting new possibilities and transforming a vision into action.

Altria Kraft Foods Philip Morris International Philip Morris USA CI Alma Group, Inc. 2005

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TIm RIPON SOCIE'IY CONGRESSIONAL ADVISORY BOARD Sc03.IOr

Chuck Hagel (NE)

VOLUME 39 • NUMBER III • MAY/JUNE 2005

Senate C haimlan ~pTe$Cnla(ivc

Nancy L. Johnson (Cl1

Ho use C hai rwoman Scmllor Rich:ard. Burr eNC)

&o:l.Ior Sc:nalor Senator Semllor Senawr Semllor Senator

Lincoln D. Chafec (RI ) Norm Coleman (MN) Susan M. Collins (ME) Orrin G. Hatch (UT) Pal Robens (KS) Gordon Smith {OR} Olympia). Snowe (ME)

4 Note From the Executive Director

POLITICS 5 8 10 12

The Hillary Question . by Roben Stacy McCain Why I'm a Republican . by Mercedes V. Schlapp The Politics of Race . by Patrick M. Garry Blacks and the GOP ~ by Star Parker

S~na!Or Arlen Specter CPA) Senator Ted Stevens (AI<) Rrpre!;ennnive Judy Biggen (IL) Rcprescmativc Sherwood Boehlerl (NY) Representative Ken Calvert (CA)

INTERVIEW

Rcprcsc nralive Dave Camp (MI) Rcprcso:ntativc Eri(: I. GOlor (VA) Rcp~SCn{ali,~ Michael Castle (DE) Rcprcsc:nt:.uil"C Howard Coble (NC) Rc:prcsc:nlalivc Ander C renshaw (FL) Representative Thomas M. Davis, III (VA) Rcpresenr.uiv( Ve rnon Ehlers (11.11) Rcprcsc:n[;uiv( Jo Ann H. Emerson (MO) Rcprcsc:nt'3.liV(: Philip S. English (PA) Rcprcsc:n12dvc Mike Ferguson (NJ) Rzpl'CKm:lIiv~ Mark Fol~ (FL) Ikprescnt<llivc ViIO Foutlla (NY) Represcnl~li,~ Rodn~ Frdinghu)'s~n (N]) R~prcscnmi\'C Paul E. Gillmor (O H) Rcprcscnmi\'~ Kay Gr.angcr (TX) R~prescl\lati\'~ Melissa A. Hart (PA) R~pll:$(m:l(ivc Robin Hayes (NC) R~pll:$(ntadvc David Hobson (O H) R~pll:$(ntalivr SU~ W. Kell y (N Y) R~prescntalivr Jim KolJx (AZ) R~prescnlalivc Ray H. laHood (IL) Represemative St~ven LaTourette (01-1) Reprcscnt-advc Jim Leach (lA) R~p=madve Jerry Lewis (CA) Rcprescnradvc Jim McCrery (LA) Represcm:nivc Michael G. Oxley (01-1 ) Represcmativr Thomas E. P!:ui (WI ) R~prescntaliv~ Dcootlih Pryce (OH) Reprcscmativc Adam Putnam (Ft) Reprcscmativc Jim Rammd (MN) Represemative Ralph Regub. (O H) Repl'CKntative E. C lay Shaw, Jr. (Ft) Represenl;IIi1~ Christopher Shays (CD Representative John E. Sw«n~ (Ny) Rcprescntatil~ William M. Thomas (CA) Rcprcscntalil'C Fred Upton (M I) Rcpl'CKmativc James T. Walsh (Ny)

FEATURES

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The Ripon is I reoclrcb 100 poli<ympn""tion Ioeo,r.;! 'n .~ W.u.ington. D.C. ~ Hil~.l N.,iomal A..ociol~ mcmben ......., ~ th.-our;h<>ul the Uniled SUtd. ~ Ripon is "'1'1"'''..1 by ,hop'" ..:=;;' dun, indjvid.w ron"jbu.ion •. ond """,nut> fn:<m ill publi(:uion'.

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Ripon Forum · MaylJun~ 2005

14 Scandal at the United Nations . Interview with Senator Norm Coleman

17 Controlling the Deficit · by Paul Wei nstein Jr. 19 PAYGO Works · by Sen. lincoln C hafee

CAPITOL FORUM 20 Improving Financial Literacy ~ by Rep. Judy Biggert 21 Homeland Security Strategy . by Rep. Rob Si mmo ns 22 Benefits of Association Health Plans - by Sen. O lympia J. Snowe

PUBLIC POLICY 24 America's Tariff System ~ by Edward Gresser 26 Energy Legislation Prospects . by Stephen F. Manfred i

FOREIGN AFFAIRS 28 The Year of Democracy . by Rep. David D reier 29 A Nuclear Iran ~ by Lawrence F. Kaplan

THE JUST CAUSE 30 Europe's Last Dictatorship . by Jeffrey T. Kuhner

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C Copyrigl.. 2005 By TM Ripon Society All Righu Rat-rwd

Comm un>c.l ionf Dirutor Kuhn ..r

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in governmenl. I illustrate my feelings on this issue with the following example. You have a choice of fWO doctors. Doctor # I has maintained his private practice for 25 years and h;!.S not read a new medical journal nor participated in any new cl;!.Sses on updated techniques. He only knows the road from home 10 his office and books. Doctor #2 keeps her skills finely IUned and updated. ShC' artends ann ual international conferences. She meets regularly with members of the pharmaceutical and device man umct uring com munities in ordt:r to be advised of innovations in technology. Who would you [rust to make the right decisions about your health and your family's well - bei n g~ If ~ Doctor" was replaced with ~ El ec ted Represe ntative,~ who would you choose 10 make educated policy decisions that shape our CO Untry~

AJso on [he forefrom is the currcm schism between the parties. Anger seems 10 rule politics more than friendship ought to, or at the very least a collegial atmosphere. Jack Valenti, former leader of the M PAA and comributor to Tht" Ripon Forum, recently spoke to a NIAF audience on this same subject. He noted the decline in collegiality across party linC's-a trend he noticed beginning 10 magniÂŁ}' soon after thC' end of tht: Reagan administration. Therefore, I strongly encourage members of Congress 10 extend thC'ir hands firSI to determine mutual gains from good ideas and only then, should lhal not work, be prepared to address differem plans. Congress is not meant ro be a Utopia of rogelherness and like-minded behavior, but it is hardly meant 10 be completely obstructionist and amagonisric down party lines either. Be kind 10 yo ur neighbor. and try to fostC'r mutual respec!. To that end, I'd like to encourage those in elected office and business 10 lead by example. Set high bars for morality and ethics-the kind Bryce Harlow is famous for- and ensure your team plays follow the leader. Weed Out those who spurn authority and lack Siandards of proper conduct. Be mindful of behaviors like narcissism, sarcasm and obsessive compulsiveness. Encourage your stafT to grow {heir minds with whalC:ver classes they need. In short, build an educated and self-sufficielll suA". work force or constituency by promoting positive change. As for me, this will be my laS! letter as ED of The Ripon Society. In Jim Brown fashion, I am riding ofT to another opportunity to hone my skills and abilities whilC' I'm still on tOp. I wish all of my readers well. Go fight the good figh ts. Sincerely,

~I~ ExÂŤurive Director

roxJry@ripol/Soc.org

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The Ripon Forum '

M3ylJ un~

2005


The Hillary Ouestion:

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ith Republicans overwhelmingly favored to mainlain control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections. pundi ts arc alread y looking ahead to the 2008 presidential campaign and asking the question that increasingly dominates American polit ical discussion: Can Hillary win? Hillary Rodham Cli nwn, the New York senator and former first lady who is at the center of such speculation, has defl ected questions about her plans for 2008but all observers expect her to run, and most of those consider her a shoo-in for {he Democratic Part y nomination. Many Democrats have already made her the focus of hopes for a revival of theiT parry. As Republicans consider likely contenders for their party's 2008 presidential nomination , the key question is, which one is the best candidate to beat Hillary~ To answer that question, :ulother queuion must be as ked: What kind of presidential candidate would H illary be~ The most com mon cri ticism of Mrs. Clinton's presidential prospem is that she is "polarizing. " An Imernet search using Google wi th the rerms "Hillary Climon" and "polarizing" produces more than 11 ,000 hits. University of Virginia poli tical sciemist Larry Sabato descri bes her as "a d ~pl y polarizing figu~ in American pol itics." That label doesn't help much in appraising Mrs. C limon as a candidate. It means merely that she is beloved by Democrats and hated by Republicans. In the rancorous partisan atmosphere that has gripped the nation since her husband's presidency, most major national figures in both parties are "polarizing." George W. Bush- who campaigned in 2000 as a "un iter not a divider" and has assiduously cou rted congress ional nominatIOn In 2008. The Ripon Forum ¡ May/June 2005

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. New YorI( . faces front-runner for the Democratic presidential

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Politics: The Hillar Question Democrats- is nonetheless thorough ly hated by Democratic partisans. But being "polarizing" did not prevent Mr. Bush's record-breaking fe-eleCtion in November, and it probably won't stop Mrs. C linton in 200 8. As a candidate, H illary has several fil eto rs working in her favor. Most importantly. she has a very high level of na me recognition . In political terms, she's a "rock STar, ~ as for mer Nebraska Senator Bob Ke TTer recentl y said. It's not JUSt Democrats who consider the fo nncr first lady a form idable candidate. Former Reagan spee<:hwrilcr Peggy Noonan declared in Tb, \Vnll Str,.,t Journal tha t whi le it is "pointless to be afraid" of H illary, it is ~good 10 be concerned ." Mrs. C lintOn is ~s marl e r than her husband," and has been "playi ng every ca rd righ t the past five years" ..s a senator. And Newt Gingrich has warned : "Any Republ ican who thinks she will be easy to beat has rot .. l amnesia about the Clinro ns . ~

Learning Curve The form er House Speake r should know. AfIer Republicans gained com rol of C ongress in the 1994 el ect ions. Mr. Gingrich and his colleagues lost key battles with the Clinton White Ho use. The GOP was blamed for the 1995 government 5huI down ~al t h o u gh it was President Bill C lilllon who had provoked the crisis by vetoing emergency spend ing bills. In 1996, in the midst of a re-electio n cam paign , Mr. C linton signed inro law a welfa re-reform measure, a major elemenr of the Republican .. genda that he had vetoed twice before. That fru strated Republ ican campaign strategists who had expected a third vero tha t would hel p them portray [he Democrat-controlled \'(fhitc House as an obstacle to reform. The success of the 1996 C linto n reelection cam paign showed that Team C linton had learned from the public-relations disastcrs of their first tWO years in Washi ngton, when a d isorgan ized staff and a series of politically tone-deaf gem tres had made the C lim on admi nistration look like an amateuris h repeat of thc hapless Jimmy Cartcr's presidency. One of those blunders, the ill-managed 1993-94 effort to enact a comprehensive hcal th ca re progra m, had been H illary's pet project. The health care debade solidifi ed Hillary's image as an ambitious extrem ist (as criti cs charged th e

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" H illaryca re~ plan would have national iu:d one-seventh of the U.S. economy) and ;1 manipulative Lady MacBeth , using her husband's position 10 advance her own agenda. Already a darling of her parry's liberal ideologues, H illary guaralHeed her sums as Democraric hero in 1998, when her accuS:ltions of a ~vas [ right-wing conspiracy" helped her husband survive the Lewinsky scand:ll. [n tim episode. H illary followed the "pol itical ju-jitsu" tactics of o ne of her earl y men tors, radical acti vist Saul Alinsky, turning the ta bles on her husband's critics. Afrer Mrs. Clinton's appearance on the "Today" S[IOW, publ ic ~ne n ti o n shifted front the accusation that the president had lied under oath about his intern /girlfriend (which he had), to the question of whether Republican parrisans had hclpt:d expose the scandal (wh ich they had). W h ile her con spiracy-mon gering charge was widely mocked, Mrs. Clinton's mble-mrning stratcgy helpcd buy ti me fo r the Clinto n team to use the med ia to shape public opi n io n about the scandal. By August 1998-when Mr. C linton fi n'llly admitted that, comrary to his ini tial denials, he d id have sex with "that woman , Ms. Lewinsky" ~th e publ ic had been carefully prim ed to parrOI the central Democrat talki ng point that the president's wro ngdoing d id not "rise to the level of irnpeachm cn1. ~ It was all ironic outcome fo r Mrs. C linton. who in 1992 had mocked the idea ,hat a polit ical wife should "stand by her man," but scored a major political victory by doing JUSt thar.

Victorious Victim Mrs. Clinton's victory in her 2000 Senate cam paign surprised many, and highlighted her srrengths as shc overcame obstacles that m ight have doomed another candidate. T he Illinois native. who'd attended collt:ge in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and lived in Arkansas and Washi ngro n, D.C.~but never New York~p roved curiously immune to charges of carpet bagging. Nor was she damaged by the perception that she was an opportunist who had exploited her husband's career for selfaggrandizement , evcn though it was widely believed from the begi nning of her Senate campaign that she viewed the office as a stepping-stone to her own presidency. Taken together, New York voters in 2000 had every reason to think of Mrs. ClilHo n www.riponsoc.org

as a rut hlessly ambitious outsider without any real concern for their interests. Yel she was elected. She campaigned tirelessly and proved hersel f a strong fund-raiser. She positioned hersel f as an advocate of upsta te residents. where die loss of industrial jobs had produced econo mic woes. And she benefi ted fro m the misfort une of her stro ngest opponcm, New York's Republican Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani , who had to drop Oli t of the race after being diagnosed with cancer. One episode from her 2000 campaign beSt illustrates why Mrs. Cl inton wou ld be a difficult opponem for Republicans in 2008. T he fall contest in New York was characterized by a barrage of negative T V ads ro the point that the ads thcmselves became an issue. I n a Idcvised dcbatc, Rep. Rick Lazio, the Long Isla nd congressman who won the GO P no mination afler Mr. Giuliani quit dl(' race, asked Mrs. Clinton to join him in pledging ro cunail such adven ising. As New Yorkers watched , M r. Lazio produced a written pl edge and walked to Mrs. C linto n's lectern , holding out the paper and as king her to sign it. If M r. Lazio's aides tho ught this wo uld be a clever visual Stunt, Ihey thought wrong. On T V, the move had an appearance of unwarranted aggression: Mr. Lazio looked like a bully. More than just a miscalculatio n by the Republica n, however, that ep isode showed why a Hillary C linton presidential bid in 2008 would be lOugh !O stop: Confrontational hardball taClics don't work against femal e cand idates. H illary can aHack her opposition all she wants, but a male oppo nent who responds in kind looks like a mean -spirited goon picki ng on a woman. Th is dynam ic is at play whenever a male candidate challenges a female opponent. but it is doubl y true for Mrs_Clinton because a sympathetic media will always respond to her campaign's claim that she is being unfai rly attacked . T hat's why so many Rcpublicans have suggestcd that it might be best if the parry could find i[S own female candidate to face Hil lary in 2008. Secretary of Sta te Condolcez'l..a Rice's name has been band ied about~b u t despite Dr. Rice's many q ualifi cations. she's never ru n for publ ic offi ce before, and a presidential election is liot a game for beginners. And wh ile the Republicans have no shorrage of experienced female officials, like former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey The Ripon Forum ¡ May/June 2005


and Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, none can match Mrs. C linton in terms of widespread grassroots support within their own party.

Moderate Talk , Liberal Record As a senator, Mrs. Climon has carefully moderated her image-if not necessarily her voting record. Most importantly, afrer the 9111 terror auacks, she avoided the anti-war turn that hurt Democrats in the 2002 and 2004 election cycles. She voted to authorize military action against lraqwhen 20 other Democratic senators including Ted Kennedy voted no. But while Senator John Kerry joined her in voting for action against Iraq, Mrs. Climon also voted in October 2003 for $87 billion 10 fund U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Kerry was o lle of 12 senatOrs who voted no on thar measure, later famous ly saying that he voted for ii, before voung agatnSI It. Her vOles on such milirary measures will protect Mrs. Clinton agai nst the charge that she's another soft-on-defense Democrat. Otherwise, however, she has compiled a predictably liberal record. In 2004, for instance, she rated a 95 from Americans for Democratic Action- fiti ling to score a perfcct 100 only because she missed a vote on a Democrat-backed amendment (offered by California Senator Barbara Boxer) to block deployment of a missile-defense system. Mrs. Clinton did get a perfect 100 score from the AFL-C10 in 2004. W hile reliably voting the liberal Democrat line, however, Mrs. Clinton has begun talking mo re moderately-even conservatively- on social issues. ~ We should agree that we want every child in Ihis country 10 be wanted, cherished and loved," she tOld a pro-choice gathering in January. ~ We can all recognize that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic, choice to many, many women. ~ On immigration, Mrs. Clinton has talked tOugh, telling a New York radio station: ~I am, you know, adamantly agai nst illegal immigrants." (Though critics note that she has, in fact, voted in favo r of several "open borders~ measures.) In an apparent reaction to exit polls showing Ihat "moral values" were a key facto r in the 2004 election, Mrs. Clinton has praised the role of "rel igious and moral values~ in discouraging "early sexual activity~ among teen-agers, and declared: "I've always been a praying person. " The Ripon Forum ¡ May/Jun e 2005

Her efforts ro craft a more moderate image have produced some results. In April, a poll by Rasmussen showed that 43 percent identified Mrs. Clinton as a liberal, compared to 5 1 percent three months earlier.

Long Odds Hillary does have clear weaknesses. When she strikes a militant pose in speeches, her voice sometimes rises to a frigh tening screech, as during an April 2003 speech at a Con necticut fund raiser. "I am sick and tired of people who call yo u unpatriotic if you debate this administration's policies," M rs. Cl inton yelled. "We are Americans. Wc have the right to participate and debate any administration. " Delivered just days after U.S. troopS captured Baghdad, that strident speech provided a favorite sound bire for conservative talk-show hosts. But Mrs. Clinton's greatest liability may be the " D ~ after her name on the bailor. Republicans have solid ified party loyalty in the South and West, creating a major hurdle to any Democrat's hopes of winning the W hite House. In a discussion of Mrs. Clinton on ABC's ~This Wuk," George Will pointed o ut that "sim ple electoral arithmet ic" weighs against Hillary's chances in '08: ~ I n the II states of the old Confederacy, plus Oklahoma, Kentucky and West Virginia, 173 electoral votes-the Democrats, in this century, in rwo elections, zero elecroral votes. Which of those states is she going ro carry?" Furthermore, Mr. Will added: ~S he's a senator. We don't elect senators"-John F. Kennedy in 1960 being the last president elected from the Senate-and "she's a northeasterner. The rest of the country doesn't like the- NonheasL " Not content to COUnt on such trends, however, some Republicans have decided that the best way to stop "H illary '08" is ro

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stop "Hillary '06"- by defeating her in her Senate re-election bid in New York next year, they hope to hang a "loser" sign around Mrs. Clinton's neck. New York GOP Chairman Stephen M inarik has begun a "Srop Hillary Now" fund-raising drive, saying, "T his is not merely a race for New York. It's a race- for America." But Team Cl ilHon is ready to fight. When veteran Republican campaign adviser Arthur Finklestein announced his own effort aimed at raising $10 million to defeat Mrs. Clinton in 2006, Bill Clinton responded by accusing Mr. Finklestein of "self-lo:llhing" - a remark imerpreted as a dig at Ihe GOP activist's recently reponed same-sex unIon. ~You can't make this stuff up," one Republican told the Associated Prm. "You've got an ad ulterous former president bashi ng a mo nogamous gay marriage of a Republican consulrant. It's JUSt embarrassing his own wife. ... Any lecture from Bill Clinton about sexuality in politics huns Hi llary." learn Clinto n's quick resort TO using the "politics of personal destr uction" against her cri tics indicates that, whatever Mrs. Cl inton's electoral fate, she and her supporters are prepared to unleash any tactic that they th ink can help her wineither in '06 or '08. If Hillary becomes the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008, Republicans can expect her team to mount a campaign as d ishonest, dirty and mean-spirited as any in American hisrory. Can she be defeated? Of course-with the right candidate and the right strategy, Republicans have nothing to fear. But the GO P should be prepared for a nasty campaign of lies and vicious attacks. If Hillary gets beaten, it won't be because she's nor mean enough to win. ~ - Robm Stacy McCain is a journalist baud in Washington, D.C

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Why I'm a Republican Party appeals to Cuban-American values By Mercedes V. Schlapp

am a proud Republican. My Cuban fathe r taught me the importance of preI serving freedom and democracy. remember him tell ing me to never forget that we Jive in the greatest country in the world because we a TC free. He beca me a Republican on the very same day he was sworn in as a U.S. citizen. He was so proud to VOtC in his first Republican primary, and I have followed his lead. For as long as [ can remembe r, our Spanish conversations at the dinner table were abo ut politics. In particular, they fo<:used on how the Democrats had d isappointed the Cuban commu nity, while the Republjcans understood our pligh t for freedom. My father shared stOries about our family and many others who lost their homes, businesses and liberties under Fidel

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CastrO'S repressive regime. CastrO'S mililary captu red , tortured and incarcerated my finher for 6 years because he fought for the liberation of Cuba. President Ro nald Reagan, who inheren tly understood and expressed the plight of the Cuban people, also inspired me. Individuals like my father, who came to th is country from (Olalitarian regi mes, connecled with Pres idem Reagan and his vision to spread freedom. President Reagan's unwavering defense of democracy and human rights resulted in the defeat of Soviet communism. His historic achievementS could not help but realign American polilics and set the Republ ican Party on its current course. These lessons, passed down by ind ividuals like my falher, along with President

Reagan's inspirational leadership, have led me and many other young Hispanics to make a commitment to public service. After moving to our nation's capilal, I soon found myself helping to elect then-Texas Governor George W. Bush to the presidency. During the 2000 campaign, I worked with the Spanish media and fou nd my culcu{e and language to be a great asset. Following rhe 2000 victory, I had the pri vilege 10 work al the White House as the Spanish spokesperson for President Bush . I saw fi rsthand how Ihe President reached out to the Hispa nic comm unity and communicated his message in Spanish. In May 2001, the President delivered the fi rst presidential Spanish radio add ress, which ai red on national and local Hispanic stations. I also coordinated a series of historic

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"Many Hispanics, like my father, left their homeland to come to the United States in pursuit of freedom, democracy and a better life for their families. They too share a special connection with President Bush. He understands their love of freedom and importance of family." Hispanic inidalives, including the first While House Spanish Web sile and the first presidential Spa nish :tddress to the people of C ub:l, which was transmitted by Radio Mani. Many Hispanics, like my f.1thcr, left thei r homeland to come to the United States in pursuit of freedom , democracy and a benet life for their famil ies. They tOO share a special connection with President Bush. He understands their love of freedom and importance of famil y. I am proud to have worked for a presidenl who

The Ripon Forum ¡ MarlJune 2005

has helped many H ispanic families achieve the American dream. Because of the President's policies, more mino rilY fami lies own homes; more H ispanic child ren arc learning (0 read; and morc Hispanics can invest in their own businesses. Like President Reagan, President Bush's delermination and vision has also led to Ihe removal of oppressive regimes and the liberation of millions around Ihe world. Within the United States, I have met a growing number of Hispanics, who share the Republican Party's values. They sup-

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pon the President's commitmem 10 the expansion of liberty and peace around the world. We are seeing a wave of positive change within the Hispanic community and the Republican Party. A greater number of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and other H ispanic groups who traditionally have backed Ihe Democrats, as well as those who VOIOO fo r the firs! time, supported President Bush during the 2004 elect ion. Due to hi s policies and leadership, President Bush has led more Hispanics into the Republican Party. In the coming years, I believe more Hispanic ch ildren will grow up to become proud and active Republ icans-just like me. (;'I

- M~rftdtl V Schlflpp if currmtiy a cOIUl/!ram and a stay-at-hom~ moth~r oflur two daughurJ, Viana and ulurilla. Shr workrd as Dirrctor of Sprcialry Mrdia ill l"~ Djfift of M~dia A./foirJ at thr W/,iu Housr Illld~r flu currrl/t BIl$h adminiJlratioll.

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The Politics of Race Democrats perpetuate racial divisions acism srancd out as an issue of human rights, and the fight against racism became a crusade for social justice. But now racism has grown into a political lifel ine for America's oldest party. The ideological and political identity of the Democratic Party hinges largely on race. When party leaders wish ro energi'l t' their base and sanctify their cause, they deliver the sermon of racial justice and revive the image of America's civil rights muggles. $enalOT John Edwards did this in his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when he spoke of 1950s-sryle segregation as if it was still a th reat to contemporary America. In accepti ng his parry's nomination for president, SenatOr John Kerry said il was "time to reject the kind of politics calculated to divide race from race. " Hut that is JUSt whal the Democrats have been doing for years: creating and then exploiting racial divisions for their own political advantage. They frequently imply Ihat noth ing in America has changed since the days of the Ku Klux Klan and the night riders. In a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus, Mr. Kerry said there was a "Do not enter" sign on the White House door to keep out blacks, even though Presidem George W. Bush has ap pointed a record number of minorities to high government positions. And following the 2002 midTerm elections, Senator Hillary Clinton clai med that twO Republican senators were eI«:ted because of their racist appeals. She never named the rwo senatOrs, bur she kept up rhe allegation.

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Racist America T he brandishing of generalized and ambiguous racism charges is one of the DemocratS' most successful political suategies. These charges have helped the Democrars l'O create a "rncism coalition" made up of racial minorities and recent immigrant groups. T his coalition, however, depends almost exclusively on the issue of racism, since on many other social issues The Democratic Party is disrincdy OUt of ste p with ImmIgrants and AfricanAmericans. O n issues such as abortion,

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school prayer, same-sex marriage and fairh based govern ment programs, blacks have long stood l'O the right of the Democratic Party. With resp«:t to gay rights, blacks arc far more conservative than whites. According to a December 2003 poll, 75 pcrcem of blacks opposed gay marriage, compared to 59 percent of whites. Even on economic matters, Democrats have acted contrary to the long-term interests of many poor African-Americans. Democratic welfare policies actually made things worse than they had been under segregation. C hild poverty and family break-up drastically increased following implementation of the Great Society welfare programs. However, in JUSt the five years following passage of the 1996 welfare refo rm act, the poverty rate for children of single mothers dropped to a record low of 39 .8 percem. Curre ntly, there are al most 3 million fewer children living in poverty than there were in 1995. Democrnts often paint Republicans as racist hate~mo n gers . In 2004 , filmmaker Michael Moore, who shared a box al rhe Democratic Convention with former Presidem Jimmy Carter, described Republicans as being "up at six in the morning" everyday "trying TO figure out which minority group they're going to" exploit and opprcss. Even Democratic Senator Zell Miller was accused of being a rncist aftcr his speech at the Republican National Convention . T h is allegation was made despite the faci thai , as governor of Georgia, Mr. Miller had appointed more African-Americans 10 the state judiciary than had Mr. Carter. Moreover, black conservatives are frequently attacked by Democrars. NAAC P President Kweisi Mfume described President Bush's black supporters as ~ve n­ tri loquists' du mm ies." SenatOr Ted Kennedy called President Bush's minority judicial nominees "Neanderthals." And the firS I black female Secrelary of State, Condolet.-zl.a Rice, was called an "Aunt Jemima." Democrats have been so successful at equating conservatives with racisrs that blatant double-standards have evolved. For www.riponsoc.org

Reverend Jesse Jackson leaves the Coc&Cola shareholders meeting on April 21. 2004. In WilmingtOn. Delaware Mr. Jackson spoke on the Impending deparbJre 01 Deval Patrick. chIef

council at Coca.cola.

instance, when Democratic Senator C hristopher Dodd praised Senator Robe rt Byrd ofWcst Virginia, saying rhat Mr. Byrd "would have been a great leader at any momen! " in hist'Ory, he received almoS[ no criticism, even though Mr. Byrd had once been a member of lhe Ku Klux Klan and had tried to derail the 1964 C ivil RighTS Act. Yet twO years earlier, when Republican Senator Trent Lou gave a speech praising Senator Strom Thurmond at a party celebrating Mr. Thurmond's 100th birthday, Mr. Lofr was forced to resign his position as Senate majority leader because Mr. Thurmond had run for presidem on a segreg:nionist plaTform in 1948.

Race as a Political Strategy The use of race as a political strategy was apparent in the Democratic allegations regarding disenfranchisemem of minority voters during the 2004 presidential campaIgn. The U.S. Commission on Civil Righrs and the Justice Departmen!'s Civil Rights Division found no evidence of intentional or systematic dise nfranchisement of black voters In the 2000 presidential election. Despite this, M r. Kerry warned that Republicans in 2004 were once again ttying to suppress the black vote, after having "stolen" one million African-American votes III 2000. The Ripon Forum ' May/Ju ne 2005


Representat ive Jesse Jackson Jr. callcd Republicans "voter terrorists.~ Former President Jimmy Carter accused Republicans of throwing out thousands of African-American ballots in 2000. Hut since ballots are secret and in no way indicate the !<Ice of the vNer, it is difficult to see how Mr. Caner could make such a claim. Moreovcr, in 24 of the 25 Florida coumies with the highest ballot spoilage r:ne in 2000, the officials in charge of the election process had been Democrats. Charges of !<Icial discrimination were evell asserted against African-American Republ icans. In 2004, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell was accused of vOlcr intimidation after he issued a series of orders concerning the type of paper required for mail-in voter registration cards and how election officials should deal with voters who appear at the wrong polling place. Democrats claimed rhal Ihese orders could lead to voter "confusion," and hence ~disenfranchiscmenl . ~

JUSt about any measures aimed at providing security at polling places or prevemi ng voter fraud were depicted as being intimidating. The clai m was made Ihat the mere sight of police officers at the polls was eno ugh to scare off African-American voters. Similarly, requiring idemificalion or proof of residency was said to discriminate against minorities who would somehow be traumatized by such requests, even though minorities have no trouble in producing a photo 10 when buying an airline ticket or reming a video. All the accusations made during the 2004 campaign aboU! racial discrimination in the electoral process bon.' an eeric sim ilarity to Democratic accusations eight years earlier conccrning racialty motivated arson at black ch urches. After a llumber of fircs at black churches in 1996, President Bill Clinton proclaimed that a conspi racy of racial hate was to blame; he compared The fires wiTh eth nic violence in Rwanda and Bosnia. Even though he had no evidence of any conspiracy, Mr. Clinton said it was "clear that mcial hostility" was the cause of the fires. In the weeks foltowi ng, his admi nistration continued to claim That the country was in the grip of "an epidemic of terror inspired by a res urgence of racial hatred and with clear conspiralOrial overIOnes.~ Democrats blamed Republicans, suggesting that the fires were the TCSUlt of a heightened social raCIsm inspired by "conservative attemptS to end affirmative action, to push hard-linc policics on crime, The Ripon Forum '

M~y/June

2005

and 10 radicalty reform the welfare system." The Rev. Jesse Jackson accused conservatives of creating a climate of racism that was "directly responsible for the church bllrnings. ~

False Claims Subsequent investigations, however, did not support these accusations of racial hate. USA Today cond ucted all exhaUSTive study of Ihe fires and did not find any evidence to suppOrt the existence of a national conspiracy, or of any involvement of hare groups, or even of a general increase in racial ani mosity among whites toward blacks. Employing one of the largest task forces since the civil-rights years. the Jusl'icc Department also found no Iface of a racial conspiracy. Yet even aFter the task force had issued its report, Al Gore declared that " 1996 was a terrifying year, when we witnessed a blaze of violence thaI seared the na[(on's conscience." Two years later, the same unwarranted fears were stilt being slOked. During thl' congressional elections of 1998, and in the midst of the Clinton impeachme!11, Missouri DemocratS ran an ad on black radio that proclaimed: ~When you don't vote, you let another church explode." In addition, the ClinlOn Justice Depa.nmem, wit hout a shred of evidence, charged Republicans with planning to ~intim id ate" black voters at the polls-but once the election took place, no instances of such intimidation were re ported. During his presidency, Mr. Clinton talked a lot about ending racial division, but he never said a word when his own Justice Department concluded that Ihe church fires had not been acts of racial hale. Nor did any apologies come from Jesse Jacksoll or any of the other Dcmocrats who had accused Republicans of creating a climate of racial hatred that had dircctly led 10 the fires. Racism has been used not only as a political tool TO auraci constilUem groups and discredit the opposition, but also as a kcy component in a much wider struggle being waged by the cultural left. Beginning in the 1960s with the sexual revolution and ami-war movement, many on the left came 10 sec America as a place of repression and imperial tyranny. They saw so much wrong wi th the cultural idemity of America that a complete transformatio n was needed. This cultural revolution, however, could only be accomplished with a powerful weapon- a weapon for which there was no defense and www.riponsoc.org

which struck at Ihe he;m of American sensitivities. Such a weapon was found in racism. Ikcause of its moral weight, racism could be used to deconstruct traditional values and institutions, If the whole web of cultural values could be characterized as contributing 10 a mentality that had created and sanctioned black slavcr}', thcll dIe legitimacy of those values could be destroyed. And if the old web of cultural and moral values could be des[foyed, then a new culrural ideology could replace it- an ideology made up of the multiculturalist, relativist and deconstructionist theories now innlsing modern liberalism. Thus, race was seen as Ihe cultu ral equivalent of the Dresden bombing-a com plete eradication of the old. The Democratic use of racism charges has expanded far beyond the realm of combati ng specific racist conduct. It has become a necessary stage in the cultural revolution that began during the 1960s-a revolution Ihat seeks 10 replace tf",lditional cultural values with ones Ihat are more secularist, anti-patriotic, anti-Wesl'ern and racially preferent ial. ~

- Patrick M. Garry is a professor at 1/)( Unill(T'Jity of SOllth D(lko/(/ School of Lnw

FORWARD TO DEFEND FREEDOM Thank you to the many dedicated men and women of the armed forces who proudly serve to protect our country. And thank you to each family member at home for your support.

II


Blacks and the GOP Party's prospects in the African-American community By Star Parker ore blacks are voti ng Republican. But so far, there is no reason to conclude that any wholesale swirchover by Democratic voring blacks {O the Republican Parry is taking place. The prediction made after the 2004 elections by former RNC Chai rman Ed Gillespie that Republicans will win 30% of the black vote in 2008 is a very rosy scenario. T he black vote for President George Bush did increase in 2004 to 11% from the 8% the presidelll gOt in 2000. Considering that there was 25% higher black voter turnout in 2004, rhe {Otal number of blacks who voted fo r President Bush in 2004 doubled. However, looking over to the Congress,

M

the Congressional Black Caucus has 42 members and is uniformly Democratic. T he Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies takes a political snapshot of blacks every other year th rough a major polling effon. The poll captured considerable :memion in 2002 because it showed the percentage of blacks identifYing themselves as Republicans jumping from 4% in 2000 to 10% in 2002. However, the same poll showed the 10% number remai ning unchanged in 2004 . The challenges of moving blacks away from boiler plate Democratic Parry wdfure stale politics are considerable. We should appreciate the eHem 10 which Ihis agenda has been institutionali1.oo in the black community. The nation's largest organiz.ations dealing with blacks, the NAACP and the

Star Par.:.er

Urban League, have combined an nual budgets of over $80 million. These organizations remain hard core exponents of the welfare state agenda. Organizations like mine, C URE, wh ich deliver an alternative message, promoting limited government and personal responsi. bility {O blacks, have a fraction of the resources of the NAACP and the Urban League. We should also appreciate the role that America's corporations play in perpetuating

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the welfim: state status quo in [he black community. Firsl, a good ponion of [he NAACP and Urban League's $80 million funding is provided by corpo rat ions. Second, in response to pressure for affirmative action hiring, most major corporations have professionals on staff whose: job is specifically black outrCOich. Through these individuals and th~ programs, America's corporations officially sign off on the welfare state agenda. Gains that Republicans are maki ng are generally with older. conservative C hristian blacks. They understand the importance of [raditional val ues in rebui lding black families and communities. However, by and large, blacks still are buying the big government, wel F..re state vision. So what hope do Ihose of us who know that this community needs more freedom and responsibililY and Ics.s government have? For one thing, truth is on our side. [t is .sadly ironic that big government, which underm ines fami ly, values and responsibiliry, causes rather than solves our problems. Despite the War on Poverty Ihal was

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begun in the 19605, black poverry rates re main well over 20%. Black kids are dropping out of the public school system at rates, in some cities, that exceed 50%. T he kids that are graduating are graduating with eighth grade reading skills. A rc:ttnt study by a UCLA professor shows that affirmative aaion in law schools resultS in fewer blacks becoming lawyers than would be the case without these programs. The Social Securiry system keeps blacks, whose: average earnings and household wealth are: well below the national average, impoverished. The gradual movement we are: seeing by blacks away from the Democratic Parry is indicative that they are beginning to distrust the welfare state solution. However, getting blacks to embrace a real freedom and ownership agenda will uke much more education and outreach. My appeal to the Republican Parry leadership is to demonstrate the same courage and boldncs.s that it asks from blacks. It takes courage for low-income workers, who have never had any type of investment account, to move ,heir Social &euri ry raxes into such an option. They will

do it because it will make them better off. But they need da riry from leaders that this is the a..nswer and not a partial solution ro maintain the Social Securiry s~tem. It takes courage for low-income parents to declare: that the public school where they send their child is a disaster. The schools are a disaster, and pare:nts will always speak out against this injustice. But let's show them the honesry and the leadership ro admit that we need genuine school choice. Faith*based institutions are crucial ro blacks. But let's support these institutions through tax credits rather than government grants. Blacks need less, not more government. Family, values, responsibility and ownership are what blacks need . T h is is a Republican agenda. If Republicans advance it aggressively, with dari ry and consistency, Mr. Gillespie's rosy scenario can be achieved. ~

- St<tr Park" is prrsidmr oIeURE, CMlirion on Urban Rmffl}(f/ and Education (www. urbant"Urr.org), a columnist with th~ xnpP! HOWllni NmJ1 &rviu <tnd <tuthor of¡Unck Sami Pln1ltiltion ~

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13


Scandal at the United Nations An interview with Senator Norm Coleman By Stephen F. Manfrroi o rm Coleman was sworn in as U nil e d SU l es Se n atOr on January 7'~, 2003. T h e M in nesota Republican has q u ickly become a leader in our nalion's upper legislative chamber. His com miunell! to hu mall rig hts and his effo rt to reform the Un ited Nations have made the fi rst-term senator one of the GOP's (lsmg stars. Mr. Coleman currently serves as cha irma n of the Senate Permanent Subcommiuec on Invcslig:u ions, which is pari of the Homeland Security and Govern menial Affairs Commillce. [t is in Ihis subcommittee that M r. Coleman has conducted his investigation of the United Nations' Oil for Food program. He also serves as a member of the Senalc Agriculture, NUirilion, and Forestry Commillee; Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and Senate Small Busi ness and Entrepreneurship Comm iuee. Mr. Coleman was born 111 Brooklyn, New York in 1949. He received his B.A. from HofsHa University before graduating with highesl honors from th e University of Iowa Law School. Mr. Coleman served for u .s . Senatof' Norm Coleman 17 years with Ihe Mi n ncsora anorney general, became solicitor general of go was having a negalive impacl on the Minnesota and was then elected mayor of Iraqi people. So as a hu manitarian gestu re, Sai nt Paul in 1993. He was clccu:d senathe United Nations with U.S. cooperalion and others, said lei's replace il with a sys!'Or by Ihe people of Minnesota in 2002 after defealing forme r Vice Pres ident tem whereby Iraqis sell their oil-bul il will be strictly monitored . It will be oil for Walter Mondale. food, medicine and olher essemial supMr. Coleman ki ndly agreed to a faceto-face interview in his Senatc office. We plies. wish 10 thank his staff-espedaJly Leroy When all was said and done, folks like Coleman-for their cooperation and gen- C harles Duelfer go over to search for weapons of mass destruction and find OUt erosity in making the interview possible. Ihal Saddam was able ro rebuild military HF : For ou r readers, would you capacity. He was able to fund terrorism through cash he was getting from Ihe Oil briefl y explain what the U.N. Oil fo r Food scmdal is all about? fo r Food program. On every transaction made under the program, Saddam Hussein was taking a piece for hi mself. So, in facl, Coleman: T he program was put in place in 1996 because of Ihe impact of the if you were going ro do business under the embargo of the sale of goods 10 and oi l program-if you were 10 scll goods, equipfrom Iraq. It became dear thai the embar- mem and machinery-yoll would have to

N

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www.riponsoc.org

contract with Iraq is through Saddam. Saddam himself was literally the one able 10 do the comracts and there was . no Ih ird parry. He would get a percentage of every uansacrion. So if you were going ro sell eq uipmenr for a $ 10 million contract, Ihe Iraqis would co me back and say that it's going 10 be $12 mi ll ion. And, by the way, $2 million is going into a private accou nt and that is a cond ition for selling this e<luipmenl to us. In addition, in terms of oil sales he would give vouchers 10 friends, polilical cronies and journalisrs who were doing his bidding. In one of Ihe mosl serious cases, vouchers were given ro Benon $cvan, who was Ihe U.N. head overseeing the program. There are records that he gave $evan vouchers, which are allocations that would allow somebody 10 purchase 100,000,500,000 or 1 million barrels of oil. The individuals that he gave them 10 would selilhem 10 compan ies like Bayoil, and Ihey would get a percentage, a fee. T hese vouchers had dollar values and they would give them 10 you, because yo u are a writer pushi ng his [Saddam'sl agenda, and yo u would then sell them 10 legitimate oil companies and get hundreds of Ihousands, if not millions of dollars as a res ult. In effect it's a bribe ... O il fo r Food became like an ATM fo r Saddam. It was his access 10 cash. As a rcsult, in the Duelfer Report, we tell you Ihat Saddam used th is cash to rebuild his military industrial complex. What you have is Saddam using a program pUI in place for humanitarian purposes 10 get bribes, a percenrage of every transaclion and 10 gel around the sanctions. That is what th is is all aboul. The sanctions really had no effect on Saddam while Oil for Food was going because he was awash in

ash. HF : As c hair m an of t h e Senate Permanem Subcomm ittee on Investigalions, you have cond ucted an The Ripo n Forum ' May/Ju ne 2005


Exclusive interviews with leading politicians in every issue. investigation into the U.N. Oil for Food 5candal. What is the most compelling ~i ­ dence of corruption you have found? Coleman: The secretarial was paid

S 1.4 billion to o\'ersee lhe Oil for Food program. ThaI's Kofi Annan'5 office. His hand-picked person to oversee the program, Benon Scvan, clearly was bribed by Saddam Hussei n. In the first Voleker Report, Voleker says that Sev:m lied to the invesrigators about rhe money he reporred. The real issue is how much did he get that he didn't reporl. He re port ed about $50,000 a year for about four yea rs. He said that the money came from an allnt in Cyprus. The investigators went to see the aunt in Cyprus. She was a pensioner living On a pension. and had no money. So he lied about the source of money. The principal U.N. overseer of the program was on the take. no quest ion about that. And thell there are serious concerns that have been raised about Kofi Annan's son and a conflict of imerest with his com pany that got a comr.lCI for Cotecna. They gOt the contract and .....e find that Kofi's son worked there. He supposedly left them in November 1998. They gOt the contract a month later. And yel we find out that he was on dleir payroll for years and he lied about the amounr he got. Originally. it was less than $200,000. Now we find OUt it is closer to $500,000. This is a 20-something year old kid, who is getting a $500-per-day retainerS500-a-day consul ting fees. He used to work for a company who gOt the contract and Kofi was criti ci1.ed by Volekcr for FAi ling to deal with this problem. Apparemly Kofi Annan spent one day looking at this conflict, but he m.."Ver said anything about it, never talked aboul it. and never disclosed it. So that's another issue that kind of hangs out there that we still quest ion

..... hat happened. In addition to that, in our not hearing, you'll see very direct evidence that folks connected [Q member states on the U.N. Security Council received significant bribes from Saddam. Why is this important? It is important because il rt."Vcals Ihal Saddam believed he owned the Security Council. He owned the U.N. He never feared the U.N. taking action against him. All you need is key U . N. officials working fo r you to tie things up.. Uh im:ltely, I really believe that he never feared the U.N. taking action against him. H P: Who were the winners and losers of the Oil for Food program?

Coleman: Saddam was a winner at the ume. The losers were the Iraqi people. One of the ways he made money was seiling substandard medical supplies and having the comractor charge full price sell ing, and then Saddam splitting the COSt difference bctv.een worthless goods and the value of quality goods. The people who lost were obviously the Iraqi people. They never benefited in the way they should have. Saddam was allowed to bolst"er up his regime while sanctiOns continued. He was allowed to rebuild weapons capacity. The other losers may well be the American soldiers who are dead in Iraq today ... ln the end, we had ro rake military action because orthe U.N.'s Failure to respond. What if Saddam acrually believed Ihe U.N. would respond?

R P : You have called for Kofi Annan's resignation in the past. Do you still think he should resign and why? Coleman: Now more than t'ver. As we began our investigation, I remember folks saying that they wert' confident that

"The United States cannot be the world's sole policeman or humanitarian agent. We need partners and the U.N. should be a partner. But if you have a U.N. that has Oil for Food fraud and mismanagement, allegations of snual harassment, and brutal, horrific stories of child rape and prostitution by U.N. peacekeepers, you have a problem." Th ~

RiJlOn Forum ¡ MayfJunc: 2005

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nothing would come of rnt' &van charges and that this was all rumor. But a lot has come of it. The release of the U.N. orders themselves document gross mismanagement. Kofi's chief of staff shredded three years worth of documents after there had been a ban on removing any files related to Oil for Food. The buck really does SlOp with the secretary general. This is nOt about some abstract situarion- pt.'Ople may say Abu Ghraib. Donald Rumsfcld didn't hire the guards at Abu Gh raib. T here have been other U. N. scandals involving rape and child prostitution in Africa. I don't Fault Kofi for the action5 of those U.N. soldiers. I fault him for his Failure to thorough ly investigate accusations of U.N. officials engaging in sexual harassment. When fi rst raised, Kofi defended them and refused to take action. Only after the media pushed the issue did he fi nally take action 6-8 months later. Kofi is the head of an organization that Failed to rectifY the massive abuse which took place under his watch-which was overseen by his direct office. You can't push it off to the Security Council because thaI's really saying that no one is responsible. By the way. is there some culpability across the board for everyone? I think so. BUI clearly, in any other business organization-a CEO whose overseeing and whose in charge of a massive scandal, whose personal em ployees are involved in fraud and corruption, whose own Family and son is involved in a potential con fli ct of inrerest that is nor thoroughly investigated by him-those are all grounds to remOllc him . If you care about the future of the U.N., the ultimate question is: can rhe U.N. be re forllled~ There is no way the U.N. can be reformed if its head is a guy that was there during the time of all this fraud and corruption and whose credibility has been tarnished. Again, I am making no charge against him of fraud. I've never said that, but his credibiliry in terms of investigating confli cts has been challenged and criticized by his own investigators. HF: To what extent do you believe France and Russia's resistance to the war in IrAq was influenced by their oi l interests~

Coleman: I don't know, bUt I am concerned. Clearly in the case of Russia you arc going to find massive amounts of n10ney that show people have been benefiting from the Oil for Food program and that principals in high places were bribed

15


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Interview

Jon

I ' ''nlill

Senator Coleman cooooues to Invustogate allegations of corTUpfAOn and Ilfibertln the u. N Od for Food scandal He has called lor the reSIgnation of U.N . Secretary General Kafi Annan

by Saddam. I think the evidence is preuy Sirong in thai rq;ard. In France, I jusl don't know. I've ralked 10 the French ambassador who says their actions were nOI impaclcd ... Bull have concerns and serious questions have betn raised. [don', know if we will ever gct [0 the oouom of iI, but we're ccnainly going to try and explore il.

HF: Koll Annan considers the Vokker Report an Mexo ncration~ of his actions with regard to the Oil for Food program. What is yo ur position on Mr. Vo1ckcr's rcpon?

Coleman: T he Volckcr Report said the opposite. h is nOt an exoneration. In f::act, [ think the Volker Repon is very damning. It is very damning because it h ighlighlS th e mismanagement. It highlights Kofi's failure [0 investig:ne. It highligh ts the destruction of documents by his chief of staff. II highlights another allegation that one of his staff people blocked the audit by submiuing documents to the Security Council. .. 1 think it's disappoiming Ihal Kofi has failed to look in the mirror and realize how wounded he is. He is puuing his own inlefCStS above the U.N.'s. JUSt

RF: In the wake of Ihe Oil fo r Food and sex abust: scandals, do you believe the Un iled Nat io ns C2n still be reformed and whal role sho uld Ihe international organiulion play in today's world~

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Coleman: I think th2t is 2n imporr:l.Ilt question and I W3m 10 dan up the U.N. so it can be 2 sHong force to dal with humanitarian crises, the probkms in Darfur and the Saddam Husseins of the world. The United $Utes cannot be the world's sole policeman or humanitarian agent. We need partners and the U.N. should be a partner. But if you have a U.N. that has Oil fo r Food fraud and mismanagement , allegations of sex ual harassment , and brutal, horrific stories of child rape and prostitution by U.N. peacekeepers, you have a problem. There's also the st ruCtU I'C of the U.N. T he fact is that Cuba, Libya and Sudan shouldn't be on the Human Righls Commission. It's absurd... You have structural problems regarding the Security Council itself. You have India, the world's largest democrncy, nOI on the counci l. You have Brazil, a major economic power. not on the counciL.The U.N. needs struclUr:l.1 reform. It m:cds inregrity reform. So that's my whole push with Kofi. It is more about U.N. reform than Kofi.

RF: In a recent spee<:h you noted that "sovereignty is sometimes destroyed in defeat in a war. More often , it is whinll-d away, slice by slice, so yo u hardly notice." Is the U.N. slowly whinling away America's sovereignry~

not farful thai we are going ro lose our sovereignty. BUI I raised a clarion call because I think il is something we always have to be cognizant of... 1 just think it is something we have to be careful of. It's like a lot of things-if you don't think about it, if you don't reflect on it-all of a sudden you find yo ufst:lf on a perilous path. Thai was my POint. Let'S nOI go down that perilous path. We have: an interest in prolecting our sovereignty. The president is responsible for the security of the: United States. So if he thinks Kyoto is a bad thing, I res pect that. That does nOt mean that we have to act unilaterally. In fact, I am a believer that we can aCI in a broad multilateral way and still protecl our own sovereignty. BUI I think we should always reflect on that. With questions of giving up jurisdiction to the International C ri minal Court, many of us don't believe that is the right thing to do. But in saying that, I want to be carefulnone of thai is meant ro imply a unilateral approach at all limes. RF: What are your fl't'l ings about President Bush's nominatioll of John Bolton to represent the United States at the United Nations?

Coleman: My feelings are that he is extr:l.ordinarily righl [for Ihe job]. He: has a rl'Cord of service and accomplishment. He gOt rid of the Zionism is racism U.N. resolution. He has been actively involved in working with international organi1.a(lOllS. He is a tr usted and capable illlernalionalist. Working with the ilHernatio nal commun ity, he is very lOugh .. What [ worry about is that some of the opposit ion [to Bolton] is ideologically driven. That's what this is about. It's no longer a discussion about Bolton. Clearly he has the qualifications. He has Ihe ability 10 do the heavy lifting. We need aJohn Bolronwe need someone with the strength of Bolron to help us reform the U.N. I believe Ihal the president has the right to pick his appointees if they are: Competent, if they have the capacity to do the job. That's the test. And they arc not accused of anything heinous, or shown to have commined an y offensive aClS. It's preuy simple. The president won the electiOIl and gelS ro pick his tam, and the next presidelll will also get ro pick his or her own team. <::.'I

I'm not slire. But let me JUSt say this: I :Wl

- Strphrn F. MllIifrtdi is policy dirrCloT at The Ripoll Socitty

www.riponsoc.org

The Ripon Forum ' May/June 2005

Coleman: That's a very good (Illescion.


The NatIOnal Debt Dock IS seen February 19. 2CD4 111 New Yoril atv¡ According to a Treasury Oepart;ment report. the US government's nabOnal debt reached 8 total of more than $7 trillion for the first time.

Controlling the Deficit A bipartisan plan to stop runaway spending ______CB"y_'c"c,Cll Weinstein Jr. ohn McCai n was right. The GO P that once stood for fi scal res traint has vanished. As Senator McCain said lasl spring, today's Republ icans, at a lime of national crisis, "have thrown caution 10 the wind and continue 10 spend, :lIId spend. and spend-allthe wh ile cuning faxes. ~ h has bc.'Cn fi ve years sina America

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had a record surplus of $236 billion and many were projecting the debt CQuid actually soon be erased. I-Iow limes have changed. Instead of securing Social Security for fmure generations a nd eliminating thC' ~debt lax" on our children, our political leaders have bought us a ticket o n a fiscal "runaway train" that is a serious and di rect threat 10 our mil ion's long-rernl economic health, Fiscal year 2004 closed with a $413 billion defi ci t and the 10 -year budget shortfall is projected 10 be $2.3 trillionassuming healthy econom ic growth, discretionary spending slows by two-thirds from itS recent pace, all lax cutS arc allowed to The Ripon Forum ¡ May/June 2005

expire on schedule, and nothing is done to reSHain the growing middle class bite of the alternative minimum tax. Using more plausible assumptions put forth by the bipartisan Concord Coalition . the projected 10year deficit is probably closer 10 $5 trillion. The Republican Party of Eisenhower, Ford and Reagan, the one thai believed in limited governm ent and the economic benefitS of balanced budgeu, would never have stood for this fiscal recklessness. But IOday's GOP has a difTerem attitude, one that is fa r more cavalier about the relevance of running sustai ned deficits. T his view is typified by Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, who dismissed the current record deficitS as "regrenable bur manageable. As a result, the current admi nistration and Republican-led Congress have presided over the largest fiscal meltdown in the history of our republic-tu rn ing record surpluses into record deficits. Whi le Republicans have argued that our burgeoning deficits are the result of pol icies K

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designed 10 move our country out of recession and to finance the cost of the war on terrorism, the reality is quite different. T ile Republican-led Congress is passing pork projects at a rate three times as great as the laSt time DemocratS comrolled both houses of Congress. and it is spending at levels not seen since World War " (on a per household basis, measured in constant dollars). Add billions of dollars in debt fina nced tax cutS to that mix, and you've gOt a recipe fo r fiscal disaster. C learl y, this is not your blher's GOP.

A Bipartisan Plan Why have Republicans in Congress and the Bush administra tion turned their back on their party's long history of fisca l restraint and smaller government? Is it an insatiable appetite fo r tax CutS at any COSt? Is it a belief that the public is indifferent to defici ts~ Or is it , as some of my fe llow Democrals have suggesled, an attempt to ~star ve the hcast by creating so much debt H

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Feature: Cuntrullin the Deficit that eventually Washington will he forced to cut government "to the boncs.~ W hatever [he causes, our counuy needs Republicans to once again make the deficit a leading issue and work with Democrats on a bipartisan plan to get our fiscal house in order before it is toO late. To gel things started, both sides should agree to (he following four steps: Bold budget refo rms. One of the keys to restraining spending and tax giveaways in the 19905 were rhe budget reforms pUi inro place 31 lhe 1990 budget summit between then-President Gcorge Bush and congressional Democrats. The budget caps and pay-as-you-go (" PAYGOÂť) rules wece vital steps in holding down [he growth of government and eliminating the deficit. But hoth sides must go further. In addition 10 budget caps and a real PAyeO rule that rC<Juires offsets for new emitlements as well as tax cuts, we need a new set of lOugher, addit ional reforms such as: a supermajoriry vote requirement for emergency spending and tax breaks for special interests; a constitutionally valid line-item vetO; establishment of a "rainy day fund" to hedge agai nst economic downturns; a lOughcr unfunded mandates law lhat would apply to changes in tax law that impact state and local revenues; the creat ion of a sunset process req uiring Congress to review, reform, or eliminare agencies that are nOl fu lfillin g their mandate; and a congressional budget resolution, which has the force of law, to keep appropriators in line. In addition, Republicans and Democrats should support legislation that denies bonuses and pay increases to mem bers of Congress and political appointees in tile executive branch in years when the budget is in deficit. Thete is probably no greater deterrent 10 Washington's excessive spending than pulling money out of the pockets of its politicians.

C lose special interest tax loopholes, Americans arc increasingly frustrated with the complexity of the tax code and their belief that weallhy individuals and corporations are g.J.ming the system. According to an APIIPSOS poll, 70 percent of Americans think the tax code is too complicated and more than 50 percent, in an NBC poll , believe that some are not paying their fair share. Their frusuations are well founded, given that Congress and the

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president add scores of new tax loopholes for special interests each year. Since 1986, the last time major tax refo rm was enacted , 84 new tax laws have been passed. Included on this list is the mother of all corpor.ate welfare giveaways, last year's American Jobs Creation An, which provided $136 billion in tax breaks to viral national industries such as the archery and fish tackle box sectOrs. Eliminating ('ax breaks for special interests is one of the best options for reducing the deficit, and an approach that both parties should agree on. In a recently issued paper entitled "Family Friendly Tax Reform," i identify $436 billion (l O-year fi gure) wonh of special interest (aX loopholes that should be cut. And the CatO institUle, a conservative Washington think tank, has estimated that the federal governmem hands out $75 billion a year in corporate welfare each year. To get the job done, Congress should create a bipartisan commission- modeled on the one used for military base closings---that would produce a list of corporate/special imerest subsidies to eliminate on which Congress would have to vote up or down. A tr ue bipartisan budget summit. When our nation faced a similar fiscal crisis in the 1980s and 1990s, Republicans and Democrats joined tOgether to develop ways \0 reduce our nation's burgeoning deficits. AI various times, Republican leaders such as Bob Dole and the first President Bush reached across the aisle to work with Democrats to produce a balanced approach-a combination of spending cutS, tax increases and tOugh budget enforcement rules-tO cuning the deficit. We need that spirit ofbipanisanship again. The ({mh is the defi cit is so large that no political party can unilaterally make the tough choices needed to balance the budget. Painless sound-bite solutions such as cutting taxes \0 spur growth may be good politics, but they are not rcal solutions for balancing the budget. Republicans will be more likely to reduce demands for tax cuts if they know Democrats wil l agree to spending reductions. Democrats will be more likely to agree to spending cutS if they know Republicans are nOI going to slash middle-class education, health and envitonmental programs to pay for more tax CUtS for the wealthiest Americans. The current President Bush should rake a page ou t of his father's playbook and hold a bipartisan

www.npon.soc.org

budget summit this sum mer, with the leadership of both parties equally represented, and where all options are on the table, incl uding rolling back some of the 2001 and 2003 tax cutS, elim inating programs, and sensible entitlement reforms. Since emering Veto something! office, Presiden t Bush has yet to veto a single spending bill, or much less threaten to reject one. No wonder Congress has felt un restrained when it comes to pork barrel spendi ng. If recent trends continue, Washington will break its record for earmarked projeCts thar it set in last year's budget. If President Bush wams to get serious abo ut reining in waslCful spendi ng, he should follow the advice of the Heritage Foundation and ~do something he has never done before~: veto an appropriations bill. T hese steps, and the larger goal of resmring fiscal responsibility, aren't JUSt a matter of green-eyeshade accoun ring. They reflect a return to basic honesty in govern ment and the application of middle-class fam ily values to the lise of taxpayers' dollars. Stopping the flow of red ink is also in creasi ngly critical 10 our national economy. As New York Federal Reserve Board President Timot hy Geithner has warned, there's a real danger that left unaddressed, our burgeoning deficits could shake the confidence of the international investors who have been financing our debt, and in turn, the health of the U.S. economy. Finally, politicians on both sides must understand that today's, and tomorrow's budget dcficirs, will inevitably make it difficult, if not impossible, to adequately defend our country from threars abroad as well as promoting truly valuable new public-sector initiatives such as universal access to health care or early ch ildhood educat ion. Restoring fiscal respo nsibility will come with a price, but the rewards will be far greater fo r both sides, and morc important, the country. Of - Palll Wtinsttin Jr. is thr chief operating officrr and smior ft!!OIU alth, Progrmive Policy Instiruu, chiif analyst lit the Promontory Imerfimlflcilll Network, olld all adjunct profmor III Johns Hopkins Unit/miry

The Ripon Forum ¡ May/June 2005


PAYGD Works It's time to impose fiscal discipline By U.S. Senator Lincoln ChafeI;'" At a lime when the United States is waging the war on terrorism, health care cOStS are soaring and 76 million baby boomers arc preparing 10 retire and receive the Social Securi ty and Medicare benefits due to them, Congress should be fe-exa mini ng its spending and revenue pnOrl ucs. Instead , Congress has increased fmuTe liabilities through the recently enact-

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ed prescription-drug bcnefh and continues to produce budgets awash in red ink.

As Federal Reserve Chairman Alan

Greenspan recently stared, "The federal budget is on an unsustainable path." Congress has an obligation to keep the nation's fiscal house in order. If we aTe unwilling 10, or incapable of restraining ourselvcs, then fi scal disci pline should be imposed. During the Sen:IIC'S considerarion of thc Fiscal Year 2006 budget, I joined in offering an amendment to force Congress to make tough budgct choices. Simply put , thc "pay-as-you-go" rule, or PAYGO, requires that any ncw tax cutS or entitlement spending be offsct by corresponding spending cutS or revenue en hancements. If no offset ex ists for such a proposal, then 60 scnators would need to vote to override the rule. During fl oor debatc 0 11 the PAYGO ame ndmenr, oppol1enrs argued thaI our economy is showing improvement and there is no need to impose fiscal discipline. Unfo nunately, thc fa ct that aspects of thc economy are, in fa Ct, improving, docs nO! mean that our federal budget is in good shape. In fact, this is the type of thinking that gOt us into the current silUation in the first place.

In 1990, aft er nearly a decade of annual deficilS over $ 100 billion , Congress recognized lhat the will to comrol spending was no! enough \'0 pUi us on the path to fiscal respo nsibili ty. So, as part of the Omnibus Reconciliat ion Act of 1990 (O BIV\), Congress enacted tough budget measures-including PAYGO. Its effect s we re nOt immediately apparent , as the deficit climbed from $221 billion in 1990 to a (hen-record $290 billion in 1992. Despire this, members or Congress reali'l ed thai they were forced to make tOugh budget decisions and ex tended PAYCO in 1993 and 1997--cven though the economy was booming. Those extensions proved to be wise, as the deficits began to ebb and, in 1998, there was aClUally a budget surplus. With PAYCO in place, the surplus grew to $236 billion in 2000. C ongress then determined that PAYCO was no longer sufficiently Imporram. Members were successful in getting around the restrictions through ~emergency spending" designations and waiving budget points or order. Finally, ill 2002, PAYCO was allowed to expi re. It is no coincidence that in the same year that PAYGO expi red , the federal budget plunged $158 billion imo the red. Our budget position has only gonen worse since then. In 2004, our budget deficit reac hed $412 billion, and it will grow to an estimated $427 billion in 2005. The deficit problem will only get worse with the retirement of the baby boomers. Despite these faCIS, Congress refuses to inject sanity into the budget process by enaCting tough res trictions.

PA YCO is not perfect. Congress found ways around it. Bur it docs have a proven track record. It tem policies orboth parries in the same way: pay ror you r priorities or find 60 scnators willing to override the rule. T his is the way it should be. At a time when our budget is awash in red ink it only makes sense to bring discipline and accountability back to the budget process. If new tax cuts or Cllliriemelll spendi ng IS InlpOrralll , shou ldn't we be able to fi nd a way to address the costs? Including PAyeO in the budget made sense in the 19905, when the economy was booming, and it makes sense today. <:'11

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Sm. Lincoln Chafu is a fJ/and &publiran

Rhod~

BE THE FIRST to discover the Republican Party's agenda during the 109 th Congress.

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T he Ripon Forum ¡ May/June 2005

To reod the lotest Ripon Society policy reports, visit us online at www.riponsoc .org . There you will fi nd interesting and influential policy popers by our notion's I....ding experts.

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Improving Financial Literacy Investing in our future By U.S. Representative Judy Biggen hirty or forry yean ago. the a\'erage worker didn't have to put tOO much thought inw his rclirement securi ty. If he was lucky and lived long enough to retire, life would be r.1irly simple. He received a mOlllhly, fix ed I>cnsion check from the employe r he worked for all his life, and a modest Social Security chL'C k supplemented his pension . Maybe he had a passbook savings account or sharcs of stock in his former employe r's company thaI he could use for emergencies or w leave to his children. That was then. Now the a\'erage worker is expecled to change jobs a dozen limes before reliring, so there's no o ne employer standing rcady to lake care of him in his l:lIer years. Most employe rs have replaced the tradilional defin ed benefil rclircment plan with 40 I (k) plans that leave the irl\'cstment choices to Ihe employees. And many workers opt for earl y retiremetll befo re they are even eligible for Medicare or Social Security. Tod:ay's reali ty is thai both the ownersh ip of and (he responsibility for economic and retirement securiTY rest more firmly than ever with the individual- not with the government or the life-long employer. And as the number and complexity of options available continue to grow, so tOO does the need for better fin:anci:al and economic educat ion . Are we 2nd our kids ready for the responsibilities and options Ih at will increasingly come our way in the new "ownership societyft? The good news is that Americans of all walks of life and income levels are making investment decis io ns for their own economic fu{Ure. Ne:uly 53 million--49.5 percent of American houscholds--<ilher own stocks or are invested in 401 (k) plans. The bad news is th:at mosl of our children haven't yet grasped the most basic financial and economic concepts that will enable Ihem to prepare for their future. Sixry percent of preteens do not know the difference berween cash, credit cards and checks. Twenty-eighl percent of 1 2 -yea r~ olds do not know that credit cards are a

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U.S. Representative Judy BIggert

form of borrowing, and almost 40 percent of them do not know that banks charge interest on loans. How young is old enough to le2rn about finance and economics? Experts agree that the most effecti\'e ttme to Impart basic fin ancial and economic knowledge is during studellls' fo rmative years, through the K- 12 educa~ lion system. Yet not all schools have standards for teaching, and too few sta tes have sr:andards and testing in the schools. Too few parents talk to their children about money, and tOO few children arc learning the lools they need now. If our young people learn how to manage money, credit and debt. they can become responsible workers. heads of households. investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders and citizens, It is through economic and finan ci:al education that these young consumers will learn to Clpir:alize on Ihe choices and fl exibility thaI this new world has CIe:ned. Financial education is a lifelong learning process. It has been linked to lower delinquency rates for mortgage borrowers. higher panicipation and contribution rates in reti rement plans, improved spending and savings h:abits, higher net worth and morc positive attitudes towards money. There are liter:llly tho usa nds of outStanding financial literacy programs OUt there thaI spend millions of doll:ars to lVWW.riponsoc.org

mttt th c: challenges of promoting and providing financial education. Private sector organizations have partnered with schools, not-for-profit groups and government agencies (0 negtl audiences such as seniors, rim-time home buyers, victims of domestic violence, Boys and Girls C lubs and scouting troops. Ie's time we recognize the need 10 work with these groups to harness their efforts, encou rage grealer collaborat ion amo ng [hem , and more cffectivdy promote finan cial education in schools and [hroughOUi communities. Here's what you can do [0 help ensure a mo re finan cially literate America: • Talk 10 your children about moneyhdp them understand such basic concepts as borrowing, compound interes t, debt and slOck ownership. • Encourage your local schools [Q offer courses or modules that foem on basic fin ancial and economic skills. • Urge your member of Congress w join the Congrw;ional Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus, a group whose goal is w sponsor legislation, highlight best practices and encourage collaboration among fi nancial and economic literacy providers. • C heck out the Web site of the key federal government clearing ho use for fLoden'! programs, The Financial Literacy and Education Commission, at www.MyMoney.gov. Today's more complex financial world placcs more responsibility- and provides greater opportunities-for Americans than ever before. Many careers require continuing educHion , allowing workers w periodically upgrade their skills. In (he same way, K- 12 and continuing finan cial education will give Americans the roots they need ro explore and take advantage of the many new savings and invcstment options available w them. A finan cially literate America (oday will Cl'ellle a more financially secure America tomorrow. (:6

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R~p. Judy Biggrrr is an lIIinois Rrpublican alld mffllWr o/tlx Houu Financial Snvicts Committtt and House Education and Workforce Commitu~. Sh~ is also th~ co-foulldl'T Imd co-chair ofth, bipartisall Fillancial and Economic Utrrary Cnucus.

Tht Ripon Forum ' May/June 2005


Homeland Security Strategy Making America stronger, safer and wiser By U.S. Represemative Rob Simmons s Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee's $uhcommince on Intelligence. Informatio n Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment, [ am motivated by the opporrun ity to comribute to the nation's homeland sc<:uri ty mission. And as a former C IA officer with more than 25 years of mil itary service, [ fed a special sense of dury (0 use my experience [0 improve America's intelligence capabili ties with the uhimate goal of preventing anOlher terro rist arrack on U.S. soil. We all know the past failure to maintain an effective national intellige nce com munity greatly contribu ted to the attacks ofSeprcmber 11 ,2001. T he 9/11 Commission charged those of us in public an office to move fo rward and "create America thaI is safer, stronger and wiser." The Department of Homeland Security, and a permanelll committee of Congress 10 oversee ii, is pan of that endeavor. Our response requires as much energy as il docs discipli ne. It is impossible to search every traveler, inspcct every shipping contai ner, secure every bridge and tunnel and have 24-hour patrols at every public facility. America is toO large and the re arc tOO many facilities to guard. First-rate intelligence gathering and intelligence sharing are indispensable to our strategy and to the public trust. T he th reats America faces arc genuine. Earl ier this year, the media reported an intercepted comm unicatIon between Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab alZarqawi thai reiremed the desire of al Qaeda to target America. Good intelligence allows us to know and understa nd our enemy and its pursuits, which enables us to better prOtect ourselves. To protect our freedom, America's intelligence community must make better use of open source inrelligencc (OS INT) material, which includes books, magazine anicles, foreign news service reports, the Internet, cerrain satellite images and other public information. This material is unclassified and can be gathered, analyzed and distributed by individ uals who do not have security clearance. And because open source material can be shared with and

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The Ripon Forum ¡ May/June 2005

u.s

Representative Rob Simmons

accessed by the public, the American people can participate in their own defense and UUSt the analyses drawn from Ihis ki nd of information. In addition, it is essen tial that we increase our number of spies. America has a rremendous technological ability to gather information, but it is important that we get inside terrorist organizalions. To achieve that goal we need bener human intelligence. T his involves training individuals to live in foreign societies. They must master foreign languages and understand different cultures to the elltent that they can operate in them as if they were their own. Such training will take time and the work will be dangerous, but it must be: done. Also, our nation must be as prepared as possible for another terrorist atrack. That is a terrible th ing to contemplate but it would be fa r worse to be unprepared. New London recently hosted a simulated terrorist attack. These drills arc critical because we must know how our co mm unications systems will operate when stressed, the time it takes for first responde rs 1"0 arrive on the scene, and how prepared hospitals are to handle mass casualties. Some individuals have said the evem was a "fear-mongering lactic." I respect their right to dissem, but I disagree with thei r assessment. The drill was an effon to Improve our security by identifying our www.ripollsoc.org

weaknesses so we can COffeel them. Anyone who lost a friend or loved one on September II th understands the obligation of emergency preparedness and response, with the hope that it will never again be rested. It is not a pleasant thing to ack nowledge that our nation is a targe!. However, ignoring reality leaves us more vulnerable. If we do no t prepare, and should another attack occur, many of the protestors would ask why we were ill -equipped and why the government failed to "connect the dots" again. We owe it to the victims of September 11 (h and their fam ilies to learn from that tragedy. I recently visited Israel, a nation in which security measures are part of everyday life. My firsl encounter was with EI AI, where the ai rline personnel were professional, courteous and tho rough . EJ AI personnel carry much of the b urden for routine security and most have mil itary experience. Upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport, our group found the same high quality of securi ty while also giving visitors a sense of welcome. Almost 50 percent of the airport's I ,GOO employees are involved with security. The Israeli Security Agency (equivalent ro the FBI) is in charge of the terminal and the Israeli police cover the grounds. Security training includes annual and monthly drills, as well as smaller drills occurring on every shift. I observed this degree of security awareness and professionalism throughout my visit. Although America's situation is not wholly analogous to Israel's, it is an attitude that we would do well to em ulate. On September II, 200 I, America entered a new era. The war on terrorism requires us to focus on a homeland security strategy that shores lip the quality of ollr intelligence to prevent another attack, while also bolstering our preparedness to respond and mitigate the potential consequences of that threat. I look forward 10 working with my col1eagues to strengthen our nallon's capacity in those key areas. ~

- Rrp. Rob Simmons is a COfJfJrClicUf Rrpubiic(1fJ

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Benefits of Association Health Plans The market can solve the health insurance crisis By U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe ne of the most pressing issues f.1cing America today is the affordability of health insu rance. With so many Americans living withouc health insurance or struggling to pay skyrocketing premiums, H comes as no surprISe that in poll after poll, (his issue ranks among the publ ic's tOP concerns. Republicans often seem caught belWecn their well-founded opposition 10 a single-payer system and the undeniable imperative that they take a proactive stance by offering creative solutions. As President Gcorge W. Bush, a bipartisan majority of the House and many of my Senate colleagues know, Ihis need not be a dilemma. Association Health Plans (AHPs) presem an opportunity to drast ically shrink the ra nks of the uninsured without furthe r expanding the health ClTe bureaucracy or sign iflcantly increasing federal spending. Consider for a moment thar 62 percent of the nearly 45 mill ion uninsured Americans are employed by a small business or depend on somcone who is. Add to this the SHain on small businesses Ihal do provide health insurance for their employees, and Ihe gravity of the situation begins to emerge. In fuct, USA Today recendy identified health insurance COSts as the number one issue facing small business em ployers across the country. As C hair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, business owners (ell me [h::H the high COSt of health insurance prevems them fro m expanding their business and hiring new employees. With Ihe availability of health insurance increasingly playing a role for workers choosing a place of employment. businesses that can not afford to offer health coverage flnd themselves at ;l disadvantage. And for those who do provide insurance 10 their employees, (he high COSt can aClllally discourage the creation of new jobs, because bringing on new workers can mean taking on cripplin g health insu rance expenses. Despite the fact that they are responsible for creating;ls many as 75 percent of all new jobs, small businesses are being created like the pariahs of the health insurance

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U.S . Senator OlymPia J . Snowe

marker. They arc currenrly den ied the right to join together and freely negotiate for better health insurance policies unde r the same framework as is already available 10 larger employers. Why should smallbusiness owners be denied a tool that would allow them to seek the best bargain for themselves and their employees? In the interest of fairness, as well as the continued health of small business employees and our economy, the 109th Congress mUSt take action to address th is CU SIS. On February 13, I introduced the ~S mall Business Health Fairness Act of 2005." This bipanisan lcgisl::ltion would allow small businesses 10 pool thei r employees together nationally through their associations in AHPs, also known as Small Business Health Plans. Touted by President Bush and supported by 12 mill ion employers and over 80 million Americans, AHPs will bri ng necessary reform to insurance markelS lhal have long trap ped small businesses and their employees in a vicious cycle of escal:tting premium costs and fewe t coverage options. Republicans support AHPs because they represent a fili r, fiscally sound and already tested approach w reducing tbe ranks of tbe uninsured in [his counrry al nom inal COSt to the federal government. www.riponsoc.org

AHPs allow small businesses to pool their employees together to receive [he same bulk purchasing and administrative efficiencies already enjoyed by large employers and unions. It builds on the success of the ERISA self insurance plans used by large employers and the TaftHanley plans available to union employers, which currendy provide health benefi ts for 78 million people, more than half of the people who receive health imurance from their employer. AHP legislation will in jttt competition in the marketplace, offeri ng ;llrern;ltives amI reducing COStS for small businesses trapped in the current system. And reducing COStS is the immediate relief that small businesses so desperatdy need. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently reponed that betwecn the spring of 2003 and spring of 2004, health insurance premiums increased 11.2 percent. This marked the fourth conSCi:ut;ve year of double digit percentage increases-growth that has far outpaced inflation and erased wage g::lIns. AHPs have the strong suppOrt of President Bush, as he has said in his lasl twO St::He of the Un ion addresses. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has indicated he would like to sec floor action on AHPs this year. Furthermore, the House is expL'Cted to pass its version of AH P legislation in the coming weeks and the Senate's HELP Committee, under C hairman Enzi, recently held its fiTS[ hearing on AHPs. Clearly momentum for change is building. Perfect legislation does nor exist, so I invite critics of my bill to present their concerns and I welcome their input. I sincerely hope we can all agree on the goal of AHPs: providing small businesses and thei r employees with more and better health insur:mce options through the power of pooling and a competitive market. Aft'er all, if Republicans do not support market solutions to the health care crisis, whowim ~ - Sm. Olympill j. Snolw is a Maine Republican lllld chairs the Senllte Committee

on Small 8usinm and Elltreprt'neunhip

The Ripon Forum ¡

M~yflune

2005


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America's Tariff System How trade barriers hurt the poor or decades, tariff policy has been a

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sleepy backwater. T he SO-rear-old tariff system draws li td e artention even from tal[ and trade specialists; no congressional committee has held a hearing on ta riff policy since 1974 . But the issue is worth a iitrie attention , because even the briefest peck at th is sleepy backwater fi nds it crawling with cO[wnmoUlhs, fire ants and alligamTs. A discussion can begin wi th a celebrated recent tariff event- the Bush administratio n's ÂŤemergency" steel tariffs

of2002 and 2003. Ranging from eight to thirty percent across mi ll ions of tons of steel imports, they ca used an inte rnatio nal

uproar. Dozens of newspapers wro te nas ty editorials. Nine foreign governments, from Ja pan and Europe to Brazil and Taiwan, fil ed WTO cases, Networks everywhere from CNN and CBS to al-Jauerall and China Cemral 7a eviJiQll covered both the decision and the adminlSUation's reuacnon. But look a bil closer. Despite the uproar, steel ta riffs still raised less money than tariffs on shoes or T-shirts. As Table I shows, steel barely outpaced brassieres. Shoes are in some ways even more stri king. In 2003 the steel tariffs raised $224 mill ion on about $ 13 billion wonh of impo rted steel. Also in 2003,

Americans imported $ 15 bill ion worth of shoes. But the shoes brought in $ 1.6 billion in tariffs, nearly seven times the re<:eipts from steel. Likewise. the C ustoms Service collected $20 million on steel from mighty Japan, but fully $200 million from C ambodia's humble pajamas, underwear and T-shirts. No T V network memjoncd shoes or Cambod ians. No foreign government protested. Why the d ispari ties? Since the creation of the modern tariff system under Herbert Hoover, American tariffs have appl ied to abo ut I \,000 kinds of goods, from ho rses and statues to semiconductor chips, co mbs. helicopters, spoons and but-

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Federa l Affai rs

I

122 C Street, NW, Suite 540

www.riponsoc.org

Of IIUTUAL

c:::'

INSU~ANCE CO~'AN I E S

I Washington, D.C. 20001 I (20 2) 628-1558

The Ripon Forum ¡ M ay/June 2005


2003

tcr. Hoover's ratcs were very high, but fo ur big international trade agreements since the 19605 (the "Kennedy Round" in

1969, "Tokyo Roun d" of 1979, the

"Uruguay Round" that created the wro in 1995, and a wro agreemem on in formation technologies in 1997) have brough t {he average tariffs to a very low

level.

They now average roughly 2.6%

and b ring in $20 billion a year. But the low averages and modest revenues hide an uneven system. Tariffs are gone on about 3,500 products, includ ing com puters, air planes, semiconductOrs, toys, medical eq uipmem and furn iture. Tariffs are minimal on luxury consumer goods and big indusuial imports like cars, indusuial machinery and oil. But appeals from a few induslry lobbies have kept them high on many light industry goods-especially clothes, shoes and some types of food. T he highest single manufacturing tariff is on cheap sneakers: at 48%, they have a tariff rate that has not been touched since the Eisenhower administration. Like other consumer goods tariffs, th is fee is

paid by at the border, 3nd then p3ssed to cons umers m stores, magnified by markups fro m landed cOSt and state sales taxes. In effect, each ten-dollar pair of sneakers includes a hidden tax of $3.30 or so. Tariffs on acrylic sweaters are modestly lower at 32%; conon T-sh ins get 20%; cheap forks, spoons, plates and drinking glasses hover around betwl."en 10% and 18%. Bra tariffs, incidl."ntally, are 17%. And the lack of congressional anention mea ns that, un likl." other taxes, tariffs rarely change. No cheap sneakers have been made in the United States, for example, since the 1970s- b ut the tariffs remain in place. Tariffs, therefore, appear to bl." the most rl."gressive part of American tax policy. And the effects produced by markups and sales taxes give tariffs larger real-life effects than thei r modest contribution to American government revenues would imply. Low-income families (es pecially if they have children) get hit hardest, because they use more of their income ro buy clothes, shoes and food; and because the highest tariffs are on the cheapest types of goods. A single morher may lose as much as a week's salary Duty-free each year to the hidden effects of tariffs on clothmg and shoe prices. Likewise overseas, wealthy countries that

CAFTA in Trouble The Central American Free Trade Agreement is slowly heading toward defeat in Congress. President G eorge W. Bush's trade bill is encountering stiff resistance fro m many Democrats and so me protectionist Republicans. In particular, the powerful suga r lobby is mounting a vigorous campaign against CAFTA. However, America n sugar producers' claims that the [featy wo uld undermi ne their industry are wildly exaggerated. T he agreement would allow an exrra 109,000 meuic tons of imported sugar into [he U.S. market. But mis would not even come close ro threatening big sugar's dominance of the domestic market- let alone bring down the high costs of sugar paid by American consumers. More importantly, the bill has numerous advantages for U.S. farm ers and business. The treary eliminates almost all the

The Ripon Forum ' May/June 2005

pu mp oil, print semiconductor chips or make cars rarely encounter significant tariffs. But low-income countries that sew sweaters or cobble shoes, like Cambodia and Pakistan, typically face permanent tariffs about equal to the tem porary steel ta riffs of2003 . Thus the system becomes fa r more noticeabll." for poor countries in Asia and the Muslim world than for the wealthy cou ntries. Table 2 graphically illustrates rhe result. What can one concl ud e~ More through inattention and lack of interest [han through a plan, tariffs have become a regressive tax. They have become a fl."markably discriminatOry form of trade policy, targeting small and poor countries rather tha n the big and rich ones. And the continuing drain of garment jobs is testament to their ineffectiveness as job protecto rs. Perhaps it is time to put this 80-yearold system to res t. <:'I - Edward Gmur if dirutor of the Projut on Trade and Markets at the Progressive Policy Institute

Tariff.

Tariff.

Tariffs

0.1% -4.9% 1

5% -1 5%

15%+

trade barriers between the United States and Central America (Costa Rica, EI Salvador, Honduras, Dominican Republic, G uatemala and Nicaragua). It is not widely known that, because of NAFTA and the Caribbean Basin Initiative, the U.S. economy is already open (barrier-freel to most of Central America's likely importS. The great bene¡fi t of CAFfA is that it would final ly open meir economies to American exporrs, especially textile, frui t, pork, chicken and dairy producrs. It is no wonder the u eaty is endo rsed by dozens of V.S. fa rm organizations and most service-sector producers. CAFTA's passage would not only be a great victory fo r the forces of free trade and open global markets, but also for American consumers, fa rmers and workers. T he administration would be wise to give the bill higher priority. America needs CArrA JUSt as much as u mral America does. -Jeffrey T Kuhn"

www.riponsoc.org

25


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Energy Legislation Prospects Bill is gaining strength By Stephen F. Manfn.-di fter fOllr years of mostly Democratic resistance. Republicans are cOllnti ng on larger congressional majorities and a recent surge III energy prices to deliver their comprehensive energy bill to the presidem 's desk. Supporters argue that an energy bill is urgently needed to guamntee a steady energy suppl y, dri\'e down record prices and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. Alex Flint, chief of staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, notes that a surge in the global demand for oil has pushed prices upwa rd as nations such as China and India experience rapid economIc expans1On . "As the rest of the wo rld wams [0 live like America, they will have energy requirements like America," Mr. Flint said. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which recently passed the House by a vote of249 to 183, atrempts to rectifY supply shortfalls. It seeks to do this by offering incentilles for more domestic oil production, encouragi ng the use of renewable fuels and bener technology, and allowi ng new domestic oil and gas exploration, House Energy and COlllmerce Commitree C hief of Staff Bud Albright insists that energy conservation is an admirable goal, but increasi ng our supply of traditio nal sources sllch as oil and gas is all economic necessity. "The only way to reduce prices in the long run is by produci ng more product and the only way to get more product is by drilling," he said,

A

Mr. Albright also contends that the energy bill will enhance America's economic and military security. "We're in a world situation where we can be held hostage by the now of oil. Oil means jobs. growth and opportunity fo r Americans, and we will fight for that. Not because we're greedy or anythi ng like that, but simply because our ('conomy runs on oil,~ Mr. Albright said. President George W. Bush Strongly endorses the Energy Policy Act and has urged congressional leadership to pass the bill as quickly as possible, President Bush argues that a comprehensive energy bill wil! help sustain economic growth, diversifY America's energ)' supply and lower burdensome gasoline prices-helpi ng American families and industry. Immediate relief at the pump, however, is not expected. President Bush noted in a rece nt speech to small business owners dial the "higher COSt of gasoline is a problem that has been years in rhe making" and will take time to resolve. And congressional sources worki ng on the energy bill are in agreement that gasol ine prices will not fall for some time. America's transition from foreign oil to alternative sources of fuel also will not occur overnight. Mr. Flint maintains that in the short-term, reducing America's dependence o n foreign oil remains a "rh('torical priority, but not a political priority." He poims OUt {hat the energy bill will have little impact on reducing our nation's dependence on foreign oil and that

"Supporters argue that an energy bill is urgently needed to guarantee a steady energy supply, drive down record prices and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil." 26

www,riponsoc.org

technological advances from the private secwr offer the best hope for energy independence. On (his score, the Energy Policy Act amhorizes $2.7 billion for nuclear energy research and infrasrrucrure support. It also includes $200 mill ion for grams to local governmen ts to acquire alternati ve fueled :lfid fuel cell vehicles, hybrids and other nlel efficient vehicles. Supporters of the bill ;argue that the EncTh'Y Policy Ads lack of immediate benefils is offset by its potential for implementing widespread and long overdue structural reform of America's energy industry. And Mr. Flint predicts [hat in a few decades, legislators will view somc of lhe "unexpected co n scquences~ of the bill's provisions as the most important and beneficial.

Now, the question is: Will the Energy Policy Act of 2005 become law? Previous versions of the bill ha\'c suffered defeat over such issues as drilling in ANWR, MTBE liability and the bill's price tag ($3 1 bill ion when it was defeated in the Senate in 2003). The bill's large margin of victory in the House in Ap ril offers reason for hope that America's long wait for an energy bill is com ing to an end. On the H ouse side, Mr. Albright maintains that "we have the beSt chance we've had in at least I 0 or 12 yea rs" to pass an energy bill in the House and Senate. H e says that there have been mea ningful negotiations on contentious issues and a "concerred effort to get the price of the bill dow n." He predic[5 {hat Rep. Joe Barton, chairman of rhe House Energy and Commerce Committee, will be the "man who makes the difference" in getting the bill approved. On the Senate side, whe re the f.1te of the bill rests, the mood is no less hopeful. Mr. Flint claims that his committee is making considerable progress on a bipartisan bill. He remains "reaso nably optimistic~ that the energy bill will become law. ( J

- Suphrll F. Manfrrdi is po/icy director flf Thr Ripon Socirty.

The Ripon Forum ¡ May/June 2005


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The Year of Democracy In Lebanon, a country thaI has been ground zero in a devasta ting proxy war, I witnessed hundreds of demonstra tors surBy U.S. Representative David Dreier rounding the grave site of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. They he events of the nrst few months of a former Sovier republic, staged a successful were protesting Syrian interference and 2005 easily qualifY it as the yea r of challenge of manufacmred elecrion resul rs demandi ng free and fai r elections. There I democracy. With elections in the and ushered in new democra ric leadership. met with Lebanese students, willing to die Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia and The Rose Revolution in Georgia brought for their cause, who told me that if elections Iraq, it's easy to forget how filr we've come reformers to power. In Kyrgyzstan , a in Iraq could be successful , rhe n they knew in such a short amount of time. it was also possible in Lebanon. country that for most Americans is as ha rd As recently as 2000, democrati7.3tion to locate on a map as it is to spell, ye t We are at a critical moment for the was at best stagnating and at worst retrea tanother authoritarian ruler was tossed furure of democracy. Many illegitimate mg. Notwithstanding the collapse of [he aside. Democracy is on the march again. leaders mus t be worryi ng tha t Ihey will be the next dom ino 10 fall. While there is Soviet empire, mallY u mfal Asians and Eastern Europeans remained in undefSla ndable excitement at the democratic efforts in Afghanistan, iraq, the grip of corrup t, aUTocra ti c governments. In the Middle East, royal Ukraine and elsewhere, we mUSt families and military strongmen remember that these new governmentS impeded democratic reform. Africa will continue 10 require our assistance. was wo rse ofT, with countries seemingOne ele<:tion docs not a democracy ly laking tu rns suffering civil wa rs and make. The real work of de mocracy is in ethnic strife. Other roadblocks [0 the establishment and protection of freedom ran ged from junl:ls and fundamental civil liberties and personCommuni st regimes In Asia to al freedom s. back-sliding democracies in Latin It is critical that Congress help these new democracies fi nd their footAmerica and the Caribbean. Then, the Septembe r II Terrorist ing. The House recentl y established the Democracy Assistance Commission to at tacks shook the world to irs core. With our renewed focu s on security, provide peer-tO-peer contact berwecn some prognosticated that the United members of Congress and members of States would care little about trade emerging democratic parliaments. The liberalization, democratization and Commission is modeled on the suchuman rights, and instead focus cessful Frost-Solomon Task Force of only on imernational military and the 1990s, which provided technical ilHelligence cooperation 10 eliminate assistance to former Eastern Bloc paral Qaeda. liaments. Many of these now solidly Ironi cally, however, fa r from u .s . Representative DaVid Dreier speaks out in defense democratic countries arc members of NATO and the European Union. condemning the citizens of the world of democracy in LebaJlOO. to a renewed slate of aut horitarian, securiryThese victories may seem like isolated Vibrant d emocracy depends on a minded regimes, the attacks of September cases, but the surge of democratization is strong, independent legislature to balance far from over. I recemly visited the Middle the executive branch. Unfo rtu narely, most 11 were actually a dri ving force behind the newly democratic cou ntries have a long hislatest surge of democratization. Al Qaeda is, East, and my fore ign coun terparts in a way, responsible fo r the democrat ic consiste ntly emphasi7.ed their desire to purtory of aut horitarian rule, and young parsue do mest ic political and economic liaments arc often domi nated by the execugovernment now raki ng irs fledgling steps in Afgha nisran. The terrorist group's cri mes reform s. Egypt's government, for exam ple, tive. The Commission will deploy the U.S. againsr the Unired STates not only led 10 has annou nced that it intends to allow Congress to tr.lin their counterpa rtS in govthe destruction of the Taliban regime by ernment oversight, budgeting, legislative multi-candidate elections for the first time. coalition forces, but ultimatel y resulted in King Abdullah II is leading Jordan's drafting, constituent relations and coalition millions of Afghans voting in that country's ambitious reform program. His goal is 10 building. Despite a wo rld 's wonh of chalfi rst truly democratic ele<:rion. establish Jordan as the Arab model of liberlenges, I believe that the Comm ission can Also, Sadda m Hussei n's tyranny alization. The fa ir election of Palestinian make a real difference in ensuring the stacombined with his unrelenting threats leader Abu Mazcn saw nearly a million bil ity and sus taillability of these new democracies. ~ against the world, eventually led 10 his Palestinians vote. It has also raised hopes for removal by coalil"ion fo rces and 8.5 m illion more transparent Palestinian governance - R~p. David Drri" and progress in negotiations with Israel. is a California Republican Iraqis vo ring in Jan uary's election. Ukrai ne,

Political freedom is on the march

T

28

www.riponsoc.org

The Ripon Forum ¡ May/June 2005


A Nuclear Iran u.s.

must confront growing threat By Law rence E K.1plan

D

uring his rrip to Europe in February, President George W. Bush announced (hal, when it came 10 the Islamic Republic's campaign to acquire a nuclear weapon, the Unilcd States and Europe were

now

~on

the same

page . ~

Shonly after the

president's rcmrn to Washington, Secretary of Stale Condoleczl.a Rice announced that the administr;uion would JO Lll the European Union in offering [ran incen-

tives- aircraft parts and membership in the World Trade Organization-in exchange for halting its drive to build a bomb. No one, save a few optimists :u !lu: National Security Council and the State Department. acrually expects [mn to agree to

dle deaL

The poim. rather, was to enl ist Europe in what IIntil then had been a mostly American efforl to smve ofT a nuclear Iran. Absent European support, afrer all, the Interna tional Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will never refe r Iran 10 the U.N. Securi ty Council-where, administration officials hope, Iran will be singled out for t'Conomic sanctions. As this diplomatic effort progresses, Anterica is also pursuing:a second, bro:ader solution to Iran's nuclear program-:a strategy aimed not so much at Iran's weapons as at the Mullahs who preside over them . The surest way to put an ('tid to Iran's atomic arsenal, the logic goes, is to PUt an end w the regime thr('ate ning 10 use it. These strategies have twO things in common. First, they rely on acm rs other th:an rhe United States-the United Nations, rhe Europeans, the Ir:m ians themselves-to frustrate Iran's nuclear ambitions. Second, it's highly unlikely either of them will work. As for Iran's wi llingness to hono r its agreements, the ink had barely dried on America's latest offer when Iran's chief arms negotiawr dismissed it as "really not something so significant that we could even discuss it as a tradeoff for anything at all." Unde rscoring the point, deliberations over the U.S,- European init iative were interrupted by the IAEA's finding thaI" Iran had blocked inspectors from military and nuelear facili ties, was connnulflg apace The Ripon Forum ¡ Mayljulle 2005

with its efforts 10 build a heavy-water reactor, and was busy digging an underground tUlmc1 system . Mon:ovt:r, European cooperation may not be nearly so forthcomi ng as some administrat ion officials assume it will be. France, Germany and other European nations have invested heavily in Iran and enjoy much closer political relations with Tehran than dlCy did with Baghdad. They remain wedded to the negoli:ning process, and there may be no evidence sufficient to budge their attachment. When, for example. Russ ia annou nced at the end of President Bush's European trip that it would supply nuclear fuel to Iran-a move rhe adminimation had been lobbying for years to forcstall-European Commission foreign policy spokeswoman Emma Ud wi n painted Ihe deadly shipment as "com patible with our own approach." Even if the Europeans were to back a referral to the Securiry Council, there is no reason 10 believe the administration will fare any beu('r there than it did during the Iraq debate. Neither Moscow, itself the princip:ll sponsor of Iran's nuclear program, nor Beijing, which, in addition to ils own role in Ihat program, has just signed a $70 bi ll ion deal to purchase natural g3S from Iran. has any reason to punish its cliem. Further, Iran could always fo llow the lead of North Korea and withdraw from the Non-Proliferatio n Treary at the lasl minute, leaving it with the materiel and knowhow to construCt a bomb and with nothing in the way of doing so. As a response 10 I ran's nuclear debut, relyi ng on popular regime change has drawbacks as well. T he policy makes moral and snalegic sense, but a democratization policy is nOt a coumerprol ifer;ltion policy- particularly since Ir.m's de mocr:Hs seem as eager as anyo ne else [Q acqUIre a nuclear capability. I'oww.nponsoc.org

"I hope we get ou r atomic weapo ns, Shirzad Bowrgnehr, Ihe reformist edilOr of the English-language InUl NewJ, told Tlu Washi1lgton Postf Karl Vick last year, "If Israel has it, we should have it." Or, as thenCIA DirectOr Gt-orge Tenet tOld the Senate lasl Select Intelligence Committee February, "No Iranian government, regardless of its ideological leanings, is likely ro willingly aba ndon WMD programs that are seen as guaramccing Iran's securiry." Nor is the problem merely that the half-life of alOmic isotOpes laStS conside rably longer than the half-life of most govern ments. While it is cerrainly true that Ameria and its all ies in the region would be bener off having the fingers of reformers mlher than the fingers of theocrats on the Iluclear button, it is unlikely that democracy will arrive in Iran before a functio ni ng nuclear program docs. As the NonProliferation Policy Education Cemer's Henry Sokolski PUtS ii, ~No olher major gaps remain: Iran has the rC<Juisite equipment 10 make the weapons fuel; the knowhow to assemble the bonlbs: and the missi le and naval systems necessary to deli\'cr Ihem beyond irs borders." So where docs Ihis leave us? Either resign ing ourselves to the inevitabiliry o f a nuclear Iran or thinking the unthinkablelhal is, milirary siri kes which mayor may not succced in halring Iran's Iluclear drive. Iran's nuclear program may be a problem fro m hell. But it is a problem that on ly America can solve. 'C'1I

-

Lawrmce F Kaplan is a smior rditor at Tht Ntw Rtpublic and a HI/mOIl hmitult fellow 1\" lunot1.1 Btan

29


Europe's Last Dictatorship 'White Revolution' stirring in Belarus By Jeffrey T. Kuhner

T

he winds of change arc about to sweep

across the plains of Bdarus. Since 1994, the former Soviet republic has

been

ruled

by

Stalinist

strongman

Alexander Lukashcnko. This proud nation has the d ubious distinction of bdng Europe's last d ic(a[or~

-

..

Lithua nia

ship. Lukashcnko has stifled dissent, curbed opposition parties, imposed StaTe comrol over the media and rigged elections to ensure his grip on power. Ami-Lukashcnko journalists face constant harassment from

the sttret police, and ~cral high-profile critics have gone ~miss ing~-mos( likely murdered by former KGB thugs. Iklarus' capi[3.l, Minsk. oncc the cradle of a brilliam, Slavic medieval kingdom and a ffi2jo r center of resistance to H ider's invading armies, is now frequently de rided by WeS[t~rn diplomats as r~mbling "Easl Berlin. without the charm." Yet Lukashcnko's days in office are now numbered. Outi ng a rc:cc:nt meeting with Belarusan opposition leaders at the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, Sccrelary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that the administration is backing a policy of regime change. "The Belarusan govern menc should know that they are being watched by the international commun ity, (hat th is is not a dark cotner in which they can [gol unobserved, uncommenced on, as if Belarus is no t a part of Ihe European concinenc," she tOld repo rters. Washington is hoping thaI Belarus will follow the recent successes in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, where prodemocracy forces have toppled autocratic, Soviet-style governmencs. Presidenc Bush's policy of spreading democracy is slowly working nOI only in ,he Middle Eas" but also in the former Soviet' empire. The administration IS providing financial assistance and other resources to Belarusan democrats in preparation for next year's presidemial elections. Opposition leaden, however, are warn ing that Lukashenko will seek to maimain his hold on power at all COSts. T he Murderer of Minsk will either rig the vote or in the

30

aalarus Ukraine eve-nt of a defeat, he will refuse to accept the resultS. This is why Belarus' brave democrats are planning massive street demonstrations this fall in the hopes of forcing Lukashenko to resign. With strong Am~rican support, they may well succttd in unleashing a "White Revolution" similar to the Rose and Orange Revolutions that occurred in Georgia and Ukraine. But the White revolutionaries filce one major hurdle: Russia. The Kremlin increasi ngly views the- new democracies along its borde-rs as pro-American satellites, which pose a threat to Moscow's strategic predom inance in the region. Presiden t Vladimir r utin is determined to nOt let Minsk go [he way of Kiev and Tbilisi. His Foreign Min ister Sergei Lavrov has said Russia will oppose any effort by the United Stales to undermine Lukashenko's govern ment. It is not just Russian pride that is at stake, Lukashenko has transformed Belarus into an economic and political vassal of Moscow. Russia supplies Belarus with nearly all of irs oil and gas, and more than half of Minsk's exports are sent to its Orthodox, Slavic neighbor. More ominously, Lukashenko is a strong bel iever in M r. Putin's dream of a Great Russian empire. The Belarusan strongman has made no secret of his desire for a fo rmal union betwccn Minsk and Moscow. T hroughou t the 19905, Belarus emerged as an important departure poim www.riponsoc.org

for Russia's weapons sales and missile-technology transfers to Libya and Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Lukashenko is not only a menace 10 his own people. bUi to American security interests as welL This is why the Bush administration is right to isolate Lukashenko's regime, while helping to bolsler the country's growing opposirion movement. Yet Washington should be under no illusions: the re is a real possibility of violence and bloodshed. In his recent ann ual address to parliament, Lukashenko denounced any peaceful efrom toward democracy as "plain banditry." He vowed they would no t take place under any circumstances. Should Lukashenko order a military crackdown, it probably would be supported by the Kremlin. The West has turned a blind eye to Moscow's genocidal campaign in C hcchnya. It muS( not allow the same thing to occur in Belarus. Washington must make it dea r to Mr. Pu[in thar rhe United States and its allies will no[ tOlerate the Kremlin's incerference in Belarus' internal affairs. T here cannOt be a repeat of Hungary in 1956 or Czechoslovakia in 1968, when Russian tanks crushed democratic uprisings. Lukashenko also must be told that any attempt to quell the de monstrations by force will trigger severe diplomatic, economic and-if necessary- mili tary consequences. His regime would become an international pariah, similar to Kim Jong-ll's North Ko rea. YCt unl ike Pyongyang, Minsk is firmly rooted in Europe and, with the exception of Russia, surrounded by liberal democracies. h s neighbors-Poland. Ukraine and Lithuania- along with the European Union and NATO can exercise a decisive influence in helping Belarus embrace itS pro-Western. pro-European civilizational destiny. It is now time for Belarus' White revolutionaries to follow the path blazed by their Ukrainian brethren. America stands with you. (:'I

- J4frry T Kuhn~r is communications dinetor at Tht Ripon Sori~ty. Th, vitws txprrsstd rtpmmt so"'J thou olMr. Kulmtr Th~

Ripon Forum '

May/J u n~

2005


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Ripon Forum May-June 2005  
Ripon Forum May-June 2005