- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 13, 2003

Talbott on Iraq
Former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott believes that President Bush has built a strong case against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein but worries that Mr. Bush also has left little room for building international support against Iraq.
Mr. Talbott, now president of the Brookings Institution, told the Indian Express newspaper this week that Mr. Bush is "100 percent right" that Saddam is a threat to peace.
"But I have a few reservations," he added. "It is quite evident that we will have a war against Iraq in March. It is overwhelmingly possible, and the administration has put us on a track that leaves little room for maneuver on the timing and mustering international support for a war.
"President Bush has built up a lot of pressure, and something has to give. If events are such that Saddam is moved without a war, a lot of credit goes to Bush."
Mr. Talbott, interviewed on a visit to New Delhi, served under President Clinton, who ordered the bombing of Iraq in 1998 and who argued for replacing Saddam.
"I think President Bush is 100 percent right that Saddam is a mortal threat to peace in the region on a short-term basis and a threat to world peace on a long-term basis," Mr. Talbott said.
"Bush is also correct that Saddam is assiduously trying to develop weapons of mass destruction of all three varieties [nuclear, chemical and biological]. Iraq has been flagrantly violating a decade's worth of U.N. resolutions."
Mr. Talbott also worried about the effect of a war against Iraq on India's nuclear rival, Pakistan, where Islamic fundamentalism could erupt against President Pervez Musharraf.
"There could be much worse leadership in Pakistan," he said.
"We must pray that the war in Iraq is a quick and contained one," he added. "If it spreads and is protracted, it will have dire consequences."

Hope for Europe
The U.S. ambassador to the European Union broke with conventional wisdom and expressed hope about the future of U.S. relations with Europe.
Efforts by France and Germany to block U.S. preparations for war against Iraq will not have "long-term" consequences, Ambassador Rockwell Schnabel told reporters at a European Parliament session in Strasbourg, France.
"We have with Europe a very long-standing [relationship], a very large trade and investment relationship," he told Agence France-Presse. "There are in the United States millions of people working for European companies and vice versa.
"We think [the relationship] will continue to go on as it has in the past. There will always be issues, no question about that, but we do not think that the long term will be affected."
His comments Tuesday came amid a warning by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell that France and Germany were threatening the very foundation of NATO. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said earlier that France and Germany represented "old Europe," while the new democracies of the former Soviet bloc are lining up to support the United States.

Philippines caucus
Philippine Ambassador Albert del Rosario is touting the creation of a Philippines congressional caucus as an illustration of the growing ties between his country and the United States.
Mr. Rosario, who helped inaugurate the caucus yesterday, thanked the eight members of the House who initiated the legislative body.
"This significant stride will provide fresh impetus in broadening and deepening the special friendship that binds the Philippines and the United States and will accelerate the pursuit of our bilateral relations on the basis of shared values and mutual benefit," Mr. Rosario said in a statement.
The ambassador credited the inspiration for the caucus to Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's "reinvigoration of the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the United States and her demonstrated commitment to the international coalition against terrorism."
The founders of the caucus are Republican Reps. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Darrell Issa and Dana Rohrabacher, all of California, and Todd Tiahrt of Kansas; and Democrats Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, Lane Evans of Illinois, Bob Filner of California and Robert C. Scott of Virginia.

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