- The Washington Times - Friday, June 27, 2003

The Bush administration yesterday urged its European allies not to “put a check” on American power but to stand firmly with the United States in its effort to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction and other modern ills.

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice warned the Europeans that only a united front in pressuring rogue states like Iran and North Korea to abandon their nuclear ambitions would help to avoid military confrontation.

“We don’t ever want to have to deal with the proliferation issue again the way we dealt with Iraq,” Miss Rice said at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. “If you don’t want a made-in-America solution, then let’s find out how to resolve the North Korean case and the Iranian case.”

Addressing an audience that has often expressed distaste for the administration’s policy of pre-emption, she offered assurances that Europe has nothing to fear from a “unipolar” world, in which the United States is the only superpower.

“Why would anyone who shares the values of freedom seek to put a check on those values?” Miss Rice asked, adding that Europe and democracies around the globe should follow Washington’s lead instead of trying to balance it with competing policies. A text of the speech was released by the White House.

She dismissed a vision of “multipolarity” advanced by French President Jacques Chirac and others, calling it “a theory of rivalry, of competing interests,” which “only the enemies of freedom would cheer.”

“We have tried this before,” she said. “It led to the Great War, which cascaded into the Good War, which gave way to the Cold War. Today, this theory of rivalry threatens to divert us from meeting the great tasks before us.”

Mr. Chirac spoke about multipolarity during the Iraq debate earlier this year when France tried to prevent the United States from going to war. He threatened to block any resolution at the United Nations authorizing the use of force, causing Washington to invade Iraq with only British and limited Australian help.

Apparently concerned about U.S. dominance, Paris insists that all major decisions affecting international order be taken by the U.N. Security Council, where it has a veto.

At the annual summit this month of the Group of Eight — the world’s leading industrial nations and Russia — in the French town of Evian, Mr. Chirac invited leaders from a dozen developing and other nonmember states, in a symbolic demonstration of his multipolar vision.

Even before September 11, the Bush administration was often accused abroad of being unilateral and allergic to multinational treaties, ignoring the views of other countries and bullying them into obliging the superpower.

But Miss Rice said the United States should not be feared and opposed just because of its unparalleled might. She argued that other nations can put their mark on history by joining forces with Washington to battle terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and other post-Cold War security threats.

“Power in the service of freedom is to be welcomed, and powers that share a commitment to freedom can and must make common cause against freedom’s enemies,” she said. “This is not a description of a unipolar world.”

Quoting the administration’s National Security Strategy, Mr. Bush’s adviser said: “There is little lasting consequence that the United States can accomplish in the world without the sustained cooperation of allies and friends.”

As an example of an effort that requires extensive international cooperation, Miss Rice pointed to the recent White House Proliferation Security Initiative, which aims at seizing weapons shipments on the high seas and in the air. The effort, whose targets are North Korea, Iran and other hostile states, has been joined by 10 allied nations.

“I don’t think we can speculate about where an interdiction initiative should lead, but it’s extremely important that countries like North Korea recognize that if they are going to flaunt their international obligations, there will be a cost for it,” Miss Rice said.

“The North Koreans have to be stopped and the world has to stop them. How far it will go, I think none of us can predict.”

As for Iran, which Washington has accused of developing a nuclear weapons program, she called again for a united effort to make that country accept tougher inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“The United States cannot face up to this alone,” Miss Rice said. “This is something the international community must do.”

She joined the chorus of U.S. and European officials who have been insisting that, however deep the divisions over the war in Iraq might have been, the two sides of the Atlantic are still united by a “confluence of common interests and common values.”

But in a challenge to those who think the Bush administration has sacrificed too many civil liberties in its effort to protect the homeland after September 11, Miss Rice said: “We have learned the hard way that our values and our security cannot be separated.”

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