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Security politics

Focusing on North Korea and Iran, the Financial Times observes, "While analysts and diplomats in Washington do not rule out the possibility of US military strikes against Iran - some even wager a better than 50 per cent chance by next summer - there is a sense that the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive or preventive war is buried in the wreckage of Iraq...  Interviews with US officials... reveal that the liberation theology that dominated the post-September 11 2001 discourse... has given way to a more pragmatic approach.  The shift is so pronounced that both neoconservatives and liberal hawks... are alarmed that the Bush administration's apparent embrace of realpolitik will mean abandoning promises made to oppressed peoples while entering into nuclear-reduction deals with the Iranian and North Korean regimes." 

The Wall Street Journal covers the political debate "about which administration bears more responsibility for allowing [North Korea] to acquire such weapons.  Republicans accused the Clinton administration of failing to take tough steps in the 1990s to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear-weapons program.  Democrats say Mr. Bush's refusal to engage Pyongyang drove North Korea to accelerate that program, culminating in the announced test this week."

The United Kingdom's new army chief is in the spotlight for his comment that "UK forces should leave Iraq soon because they were making the security problem there worse," which put him at odds with Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government.  "The UK prime minister's office is certain to argue on Friday that Britain will stick to its commitment to maintain a military presence in Iraq until the country's own forces are fully trained," per the Financial Times

Bloomberg reported yesterday that the port-security bill Bush will sign in to law today does not "address what security experts and U.S. lawmakers fear the most: terrorists placing a nuclear or 'dirty' bomb in a shipping container and detonating it upon arrival in the U.S....  The Bush administration is caught between competing pressures -- to improve homeland security on one hand, and on the other to avoid imposing standards that would tie up trading routes." 

Bush issued an apolitical statement yesterday marking the sixth anniversary of the attack on the USS Cole.