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the Taepo-Dong II that is still largely a paper system. Although Iran disavows any intention of developing a system of greater range than the Shehab III, some of the signs suggest otherwise. The real question is whether Iran could or would be able to finance the development of a strategic missile program over a necessarily long period. The answer is far from obvious. Meanwhile, efforts to develop the Shehab III, a vastly simpler system than any ICBM would have to be, are proceeding, but with mixed results.

Most of the Clinton administration's national security apparatus, according to a New York Times report, feared a more imminent danger than the one portrayed by the CIA and others. "The intense focus on longrange missiles that could hit American soil also obscured the more immediate threat posed by nuclear weapons carried by terrorists or fired from ships. The officials said the change in focus devalued the concept of deterrence, by which the sheer force of the American arsenal would inhibit even the most irresponsible leader from attacking American soil."“

Ironically, the documents that contributed most to inflating the threat from North Korea and Iran-the Rumsfeld Commission report of 1999 and the intelligence community's unclassified estimate of the ballistic missile threat that appeared a few weeks later-could be read as supporting a contention that Washington had radically skewed the threat. Both documents noted that the United States confronts a wide range of threats, of which the most imminent, credible, and dangerous involve not unfriendly ICBMS, but cargo ships, or other sea-based platforms, equipped with medium-range ballistic or cruise missile systems (or chemical or biological weapons) and deployed not far from the U.S. coastline. These non-ICBM systems were described by the intelligence estimate as being less expensive to develop, easier to produce, more easily disguised, and probably more

accurate than ICBMS for at least the next 15 to 20 years.

In August, Tom Daschle, the Senate Majority Leader, recommended taking $2.5 billion from the administration's funding request for National Missile Defense and using the money to develop defenses against what he called the more immediate threat from cruise missiles and theater ballistic missiles. At this still early stage of the Bush administration, some of the threats to U.S. interests and international stability have not been thought through, perhaps partly because there has not been enough time, but partly, of course, because the war on terrorism has absorbed the administration's attention.

Lower-Profile Threats

There is an array of threats that are vastly more credible than the widely discussed notion of long-range missiles deployed by rogue states, and there are few, if any, active defenses against many of them. To take just one example, thousands of container ships, many of them carrying hundreds of containers, arrive in the United States annually. But less than 5 percent of the containers are checked by customs officials, and the identity of the packers is often unclear.

Another example is the potential for massive disruption and damage inherent in fuel trucks and other vehicles that can carry large amounts of stored energy. On any given day, about 6,000 trucks cross the bridge between Windsor, Canada, and Detroit. Half of them carry auto parts, the rest other cargo. Customs officials, who are on duty 24 hours a day, are not authorized to check these vehicles. Inspecting each truck would mean having to do so in just 15 seconds, although an adequate inspection cannot be completed in less than 15 minutes. Even checking, say, every fourth vehicle could create gridlock on the bridge, thereby disrupting the "just in time" rapid transportation system on which much of our economy depends. An agreement with Canada, signed

last December, should help. One of its provisions will allow customs officials to inspect factory shipments on site and then electronically seal the container. A similar deal with Mexico is being worked out.

The Need for Sustained Multilateralism Nothing less than sustained multilateralism will enable major powers to neutralize the interactive problems of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. As noted above, passive defense based on agreements among nations and between nations and international institutions is the only reliable means of limiting the spread of destructive weapons and discouraging their use by one state against another, whether by design or accident.

Efforts to shut down financial support for terrorist cells must be multilateral. The scope of the challenge is evident in former national security advisor Brent Scowcroft's observation that "there are thousands of avenues for the laundering of money into the terrorist organization.'


Regarding intelligence, no matter how good the performance of the intelligence community, surprises are probably unavoidable. For that reason, measuring performance by the standard of prediction is unrealistic and can damage the standing, morale, and performance of intelligence agencies. They are engaged not in winning a war against terrorism but in managing it--restricting the activities and options of hostile forces. However, in waging this campaign the administration talks of discarding deterrence and various forms of passive defense in favor of a strategy of preemption. In that case, prediction would have to become the measure of performance, because a preemption-based strategy would require sustained and timely collection of the kind of intelligence that is rarely available, least of all in a form that connects all the dots.

Effective intelligence collection must be conducted bilaterally but with a wide array of countries. Terrorism can be contained if

intelligence services and police agencies acquire the habit of cooperating closely with each other and suppressing their competitive instincts and preference for acting alone. The United States would be the chief beneficiary of such activity, first, because it appears to be the primary target of various nonstate terrorists; second, because it lacks adequate human resources for gathering the intelligence it needs, notably in Central Asia; and third, because its ability to eavesdrop on global communications is declining. The rapid growth of commercially available technologies is allowing for the creation of all but unbreakable computer codes. Fiber-optic lines give off no electronic signals that can be monitored."

The United States needs help, especially from allies and other friendly regimes that have productive relationships with countries in this region and in the Middle East. (America has never been good at old-fashioned spying or penetrating the intelligence services of unfriendly countries.) The 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles may have produced a model of diligent cooperation among intelligence services operating at both the national and multilateral levels. Well in advance of the games, the U.S. intelligence community felt certain that the possibility of a terrorist action in Los Angeles had been virtually eliminated. Subsequent Olympic events have been equally insulated against terrorism. More impressive was what did not happen during Y2K, when planned attacks by terrorists were thwarted by the combined efforts of intelligence services.

The same could be said of the protection against terrorism that swiftly built up around members of the coalition that took part in Desert Storm in 1990–91. Joint intelligence operations conducted at the time rolled up 30 or so terrorist groups, many of them connected to Iraq. U.S. intelligence agencies found themselves collaborating with elements normally considered more or less off-limits.

The lesson is that terrorism has been headed off when the intelligence agencies of like-minded governments have ramped up cooperation, usually under the pressure of some major event. After such events, however, agencies tend to ramp down, returning to their normal "stovepipes" pattern, which is shorthand for information drifting from the lower to the upper levels of an agency's confines, but not beyond. The terrorist strike against the World Trade Center in 1993 was the consequence of ramping down.

Left to itself the intelligence community is unlikely to take this lesson to heart. Old habits die hard, and the agencies regard sharing information as compromising security. It is counterintuitive, in part because knowledge is power and possessing it may give one of the parties an edge in bureaucratic and budgetary battles. Also, as the game is judged by any one of them, there is no such thing as a friendly intelligence agency. The bias runs this way: I give them something, I've lost something. Law enforcement agencies have a similar mindset.

In a recent article, John Deutch, a former director of central intelligence and Jeffrey H. Smith, a former CIA general counsel, summarized the problem: "Historical boundaries between organizations remain, stymieing the collection of timely intelligence and warnings of terrorist activity. This fragmented approach to intelligence gathering makes it quite possible that information collected by one U.S. government agency before an overt act of terrorism will not be shared and synthesized in time to avert it.""

The dead weight of America's intelligence bureaucracy clearly choked off movement of vital information in the weeks leading up to the events of September 11. Still, the anxiety imparted by September 11 was widely shared, and U.S. allies have since then been freely offering useful intelligence, although they began complaining after a

time about a one-way flow of information, of getting nothing back from Washington.

The intelligence agencies of Central and Southwest Asia tell their American counterparts what they want them to hear. Last January, President Bush and senior U.S. officials, referring to documents acquired in Afghanistan, amplified warnings about possible terrorist attacks. But intelligence officials were unable to identify actual plans for another attack. "That's where you need to get multiple sources and interview folks," one official said. "So far, we haven't had enough to issue any new alerts."

Briefly, a pivotal question is whether governments, starting with America's, can develop the habit of insisting that intelligence services work together closely on an uninterrupted basis and give up narrowly focused, bureaucratized behavior patterns. The question has nothing to do with technological gaps between various services or other differences and everything to do with the give-and-take of politics, bureaucratic and international.

Bush's people must soon decide whether the primary goal in the war on terror is subduing terrorist groups, starting with al-Qaeda, that threaten the United States, or pressuring, if not removing, regimes of which the administration disapproves. A useful admonition was provided by Vincent M. Cannistraro, formerly chief of counterterrorism at the Central Intelligence Agency and director of intelligence programs for the National Security Council in the Reagan administration: "Some Defense Department officials argue for broadening the anti-terror war by confronting Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and others.... The Justice Department seems determined to take its own anti-terror war into the jungles of Colombia. But such moves risk inviting new enemies to kill Americans even before we have completed our mission to stop al Qaeda operations.... We need to be aware that by confronting terrorists who do not have a 'global reach,' we will do little to

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The term "failed states" is in fashion. And a survey of those among them that may harbor threats of the kind we have to think about offers a view of the world that is nearly panoramic. They cannot all be helped or stabilized. The task will be to select a few states that have special regional significance and, if helped, could begin to diminish tensions and moderate behavior within their neighborhoods. This huge task could only be taken on by a special group of countries—perhaps the membership of the G-8, with a chair for China if it chooses to take part. The group would have to work closely with the United Nations and other organizations, global and regional. What all this requires, notably of Washington, is a style of political leadership that eschews unilateralism and anchors itself to a multilateral approach to national security.

It should be clear that terrorism is not a single problem, but an element of a larger problem. Thus far, however, Washington's concern with the causes of terrorism has been minimal. Its actual focus appears to be regime change-establishing an impression at home of threats emanating from the "axis of evil" states, plus a few others. The focus of all or most of the U.S. effort and investment is on dealing with terrorist acts and potential acts. The numbers in the 2003 budget say as much. U.S. foreign aid to promote democracy, address poverty, and improve education will increase by $226 million, or one-fourth of the $1 billion that President Bush said the United States now spends each month on the war in Afghanistan. And only $66 million of the aid money is actually new, the rest having been shifted from other State Department

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Neutralizing al-Qaeda and moderating the Arab-Israel conflict are the twin firstpriority tasks confronting the Bush administration. Helping to stabilize Afghanistan is another.

The need to do something about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction is apparent but less pressing and should not blur Washington's immediate focus. The problem of Iraq has little, if anything, to do with terrorism; and what to do about Saddam Hussein's weapons program is far from clear. Equally unclear is just what he has in the WMD bag and whether he could effectively deliver what there is. There is no shortage of opinion on this subject, much of it shrill. Hawkish elements favor combining a surgical but massive assault from the air against Saddam's military infrastructure with a (hopedfor) insurrection abetted by U.S. special forces. Invading Iraq with a force of appropriate size and preceding the step with a bombing campaign would be a more realistic option. However, in the time required to prepare militarily for such a step, not to mention building political support for it, Saddam could be under heavy pressure, especially from countries that matter to him, to meet his obligations to the United Nations. Specifically, he could and should be pushed to allow random inspections of his weapons facilities wherever located. That has been the stated objective of the Bush administration, as it should be. Ridding the

region of Saddam, however desirable, is far less important than eliminating his weapons programs. His refusal to allow inspections on a scale sufficient to pinpoint the location of these programs, along with their scope, would justify changing Iraq's regime by force.

Political support for the military campaign that may be required could be difficult to secure. Russia, various European allies, and countries within the region would want to know whether Washington was ready to accept heavy casualties. More to the point, they would be likely to withhold support unless convinced that the U.S. campaign would succeed in ridding the scene of Saddam and his Baathist regime, and that a generally acceptable successor regime could be installed. Imparting credibility to this latter assurance would be difficult, since a successor to Saddam that various key parties can live with has yet to be identified, and improvisation is not likely to meet the test.

Since the Second World War, the Arab world has been largely shaped by transient passions, notably anticolonialism, nationalism, socialism, and Islamism. The single constant, apart from corrupt and/or incompetent regimes, has been the Arab-Israeli conflict and a perception throughout the region that Washington shares responsibility with Israel for the plight of the Palestinian people. The effects of the dynamic aroused by all this will damage American interests, along with everyone else's, including Israel's.

The Middle East and Persian Gulf constitute a region linked both by geography and persistent instability, of which the Palestine problem is one of two immediate sources. The other lies in the difficulties posed by Iraq and Iran and the uncertainties arising from Washington's controversial policy of dual containment and its application. A key variable is Bush's evolving relationship with Putin and what sort of grand bargain they can work out on a range of issues. Russia has priority interests in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and, of course, the Central

Asian republics. This is the region in which terrorism and organized crime intersect. The United States clearly needs close Russian support in coping with these persistent threats to security. In getting this support, not least from Russian intelligence, Washington will have to meet Moscow at least part way.


European capitals, probably including Moscow, are unsure about which threats are seen by the Bush administration as most immediate and worrisome. They don't know whether Washington's first priority is isolating, if not removing, regimes of which it disapproves or thwarting al-Qaeda. George Tenet, the director of central intelligence, estimates that only 20 to 30 percent of the cells deployed by the al-Qaeda network in some 50 countries have been destroyed.

The gap between Washington and allied European capitals is widening. It is partly about soft power versus hard power. Politically, Europe is somewhere between unable and unwilling to invest a lot in creating hard power-a capacity to wage high-intensity conflict. However, the United States still regards the first and best answer to threats to security as lying in preponderant military force. European governments, without exception, see military force as a complementary tool in the campaign against terrorism-less essential than a soft-power mix of intelligence, law enforcement, border and financial controls.

A growing chorus of critics within and beyond the region deplore the thrust of U.S. policy and objects to what it sees as pronounced unilateralism and indifference to the interests of others. In describing Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as an "axis of evil," President Bush was taking a line that was -is-radically different from that of close U.S. allies, including Britain.

The question arises: can a strictly mefirst policy accommodate itself to the requirements of the era in which we find

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