"JAW-JAW BETTER THAN WAR-WAR?"
By Ambassador Henry F. Cooper
In this two-part article, Ambassador Cooper first addresses the problems, as he sees them, of the U.S. and Russia removing Syria's chemical weapons; and second, the implications for Iran of these actions within Syria. The central purpose of the article is actually to warn U.S. policymakers and the public at large of the potential devastation of life, as we currently know it, should Iran, or some other entity, explode a nuclear weapon over the U.S. The resulting electromagnetic pulse (EMP) could destroy virtually every aspect of U.S. civilization that relies on electronic connectivity.
Ambassador Cooper and his colleague, Lieutenant General (Retired) Daniel Graham, are respectively the chairman and founder of High Frontier, an organization dedicated to building a "truly effective defense" for the United States. With this noble agenda in mind, the article is well written and informative. With reference to Winston Churchill's preference for "jaw-jaw" over "war-war," Cooper wonders if the U.S.-Russian dialogue does not overstate potential success while understating potential dangers.
Several points are worthy of consideration. First, this is a U.S.-Russian agreement, not requiring the signature of the central player--Syria. What international language will hold Syria to an agreement between two other states? Second, which international state, Russia or the U.S., is leading the engagement with Syria? It appears that the U.S. government has decided to "lead from behind" while granting Russia a significant leadership role in the Middle East. The U.S. president's disappearing "lines in the sand" have not helped the country's leadership position and such "red lines" now appear invisible. The president's threatened, but not executed, limited attack on some of Syria's military installations may well have exacerbated the problem of locating Syria's previous chemical...