- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 25, 2004

DAVOS, Switzerland — Free nations, working together, must not shy from using force if diplomacy cannot deter terrorism and check the spread of the world’s most dangerous weapons, Vice President Dick Cheney said in a speech to the World Economic Forum yesterday.

“Direct threats require decisive action,” Mr. Cheney said, and he urged European allies to “act with all the urgency that this danger demands.”

Ideologies of violence must be confronted at their source by promoting democracy through the Middle East and beyond, he told more than 1,500 political, corporate and opinion leaders who gathered in Davos, a snowy Alpine resort, to discuss global issues.

Mr. Cheney, one of President Bush’s closest confidants, said the world is becoming safer, but alliances and international partnerships must remain strong in fighting terror because “we are not safe yet.” If security can’t be reached through dialogue, he said, “We must be prepared to face our responsibilities and be willing to use force if necessary.”

In his second foreign trip since taking office, Mr. Cheney acknowledged the work that European nations have done in Iraq and Afghanistan and in enticing Libya to its decision to rid itself voluntarily of weapons of mass destruction.

Then he asked for more.

He urged the European Union to admit Turkey, whose application to become the union’s only majority-Muslim member was rejected in 1987 but has been edging closer to acceptance in recent years.

He also asked the allies to make more European troops available for deployments to fill a critical need and not to let the European Union and NATO duplicate efforts in providing international security. And, he said, Europe and America must demand jointly that Iran meet its international commitments not to develop nuclear weapons.

“Europeans know that their great experiment in building peace, unity and prosperity cannot survive as a privileged enclave, surrounded on its outskirts by breeding grounds of hatred and fanaticism,” Mr. Cheney said.

“The days of looking the other way while despotic regimes trample human rights, rob their nations’ wealth, and then excuse their failings by feeding their people a steady diet of anti-Western hatred are over.”

Mr. Cheney also appealed for support to the U.S. plan to transfer power to Iraqis by July 1. Washington has planned a caucus to select the interim government, but the country’s top Shi’ite leader is demanding direct elections. The United Nations, which concurs with Washington on the difficulty in holding elections by June 30, is likely to study the options.

“We urge all democratic nations and the United Nations to answer the Iraqi Governing Council’s call for support for the people of Iraq in making the transition to democracy,” Mr. Cheney said. “We urge all nations holding Iraqi debt to be generous in forgiving it.”

Eva Biaudet, a Finnish lawmaker, said she was shocked by Mr. Cheney’s “militarism” and his focus on increasing Europe’s military capabilities. “His solution for reaching democracy was armaments, which is not really the European solution,” she said. “He forgot the development part, and it worries me.”

Meanwhile in Chur, about 45 miles from Davos, up to 2,000 people protested against the conference. They burned effigies of President Bush and several European leaders, broke shop windows and threw paint bombs.

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