- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 2, 2002

Beware of new allies

Some of the new U.S. allies in the war against terrorism could cause an anti-American backlash in the long run, the Cato Institute warns.

The libertarian think tank cautioned President Bush to beware of allies who might use the cover of anti-terrorism to pursue authoritarian goals in their own domestic disputes.

Charles V. Pena, a senior Cato defense analyst, cited Pakistan, Russia and Uzbekistan as three examples where U.S. policy could backfire.

Pakistan could cite anti-terrorism goals in its dispute with India over Kashmir. Uzbekistan, a secular Islamic state, could use the campaign to crush Muslims who refuse to obey government restrictions on religion.

Russia already has been conducting what it calls an anti-terrorist campaign against Muslim rebels in Chechnya.

"If the United States provides support simply on the basis of 'anti-terrorism' without regard to whether the recipient countries share common core values and if such support is simply used by corrupt or repressive regimes to continue repressive actions especially against Muslims then there will be great potential for a nasty anti-American backlash," Mr. Pena wrote in a recent Cato study titled "The Anti-Terrorism Coalition."

Mr. Pena urged the administration to avoid paying an excessive price for the cooperation of countries that lack democratic values.

"Though it may be necessary to provide a certain amount of immediate aid as a quid pro quo for their support in our war on terrorism, the United States needs to avoid longer-term entanglements [and] open-ended commitments," he wrote.

More foreign spending

The United States must spend more on foreign affairs to win the war against terrorism, according to a coalition that includes odd bedfellows from defense contractor Lockheed Martin and to the charity Save the Children.

The Campaign to Preserve U.S. Global Leadership has endorsed a letter to President Bush, signed by 29 members of the Senate, calling for an increase in the $24 billion foreign policy budget.

The letter, written by Democrat Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland and Republican Gordon H. Smith of Oregon, notes that spending on foreign affairs represents about 1 percent of the federal budget.

While the letter did not specify a dollar amount, it emphasized that a "small change makes a big difference in protecting and promoting America's national interests."

"This letter represents a sea change in congressional thinking on the importance of the international affairs budget to our national security," said Joel Johnson, president of the campaign and vice president of the Aerospace Industries Association.

Liz Schrayer, director of the campaign, added, "We are winning the first battle against the forces of global terrorism. The U.S. international affairs budget is a critical tool for policy-makers to make sure that America also wins the war."

Shock therapy works

Anders Aslund, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, has no illusions about economic reform in the former Soviet bloc countries. In a new study, he concludes that shock therapy works.

Radical reformers in countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the three Baltic nations and Hungary produced democratic government with "dynamic market economies," he said.

Gradual reformers, such as those in Bulgaria and Romania, achieved partial results, while rejectionists in Belarus, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, among others, maintained "firm dictatorships" with moribund state-controlled economies, Mr. Aslund said.

"Shocks have broken up [post-communist economies] by discrediting crony capitalism and its advocates," he wrote in "Building Capitalism: Lessons of the Post-communist Experience," his study of 21 former Soviet bloc nations.

"Financial crises can enforce stringency on both governments and enterprises [even if] not one but two severe shocks seem a common prerequisite for successful market reform," he said.

Mr. Aslund also challenges several excuses frequently made for countries that have failed to reform their economies.

His study can be read on Carnegie's Web site, www.ceip.org.

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