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Saturday, June 25, 2005

The new guy

While John Bolton may or may not be the next American Ambassador to the United Nations, his replacement is already working at the State Department as undersecretary for arms control and international security: Robert G. Joseph.

Tom Barry calls him Robert "First Strike" Joseph in an article for CounterPunch (also found at
Joseph replaced John Bolton at the State Department as the new undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs. Like the controversial Bolton, Joseph has established a reputation for breaking or undermining arms control treaties, rather than supporting or strengthening international arms control. Joseph, too, has long believed that U.S. military strategy should be more offensive than defensive.

Over his long career in government service starting soon after receiving his doctorate from Columbia, Joseph has advocated a military policy that extends beyond deterrence to preemptive first strikes. The Bush administration has given free rein to Robert Joseph's militarist and treaty-breaking convictions.
Barry calls Joseph a neocon, and he has certainly long been associated with that faction of the Republican party. Joseph has been in the Bush administration from the very beginning; indeed, he was partly responsible for the so-called "16 words" about Nigerian uranium that should not have been in the 2003 State of the Union address.

Joseph very much advocates research on and deployment of missile defenses, which have been a defense contractor boondoggle for decades. He is skeptical that new proliferant states can be deterred.

It might be more accurate to call Joseph a super-hawk. This is from an interview with Sandy Spector after 9/11:
Today's threats are vastly different. We are no longer talking about a superpower with thousands of nuclear weapons aimed at us. We are talking about a number of rogue states, each with handfuls of long-range missiles. None of these states seeks, in the Cold War context, to launch a first strike against us. Rather, they seek to hold our cities hostage and thereby deter us from coming to the assistance of friends and allies in key regions of the world. We believe that our deterrence concept must change to fit the times. It no longer makes sense to maintain thousands of nuclear weapons and the same counterforce offensive capabilities that we had in the Cold War. It simply does not fit the security environment of today. However, limited defenses against handfuls of missiles, rather than against hundreds or thousands of missiles, do make sense...

we believe a deterrent based exclusively on offenses is not going to be sufficient to deter the types of threats we face today. These threats are different. The leaderships of rogue states are different from the leadership of the former Soviet Union. The leaders of these states have demonstrated a willingness to gamble the lives of their nationals. We do not communicate with these states as effectively as we did with the Soviet Union. We also do not have agreed understandings with these states. That dynamic of deterrence is much different than in the Cold War. Quite frankly, the prospects for deterrence failure are greater now than they were in the past and therefore defenses are also needed to protect against the danger of its failure.
It looks like John Bolton has been replaced with a policy clone. The mustache isn't quite the same, but that's about it.

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