Cheney Urges US-Europe Drive for Mideast Democracy
January 24, 2004
Vice President Dick Cheney urged Europe Saturday to join the United States in promoting democracy in Iran and the Arab world as the key to winning the global war against terrorism.
"We must confront the ideologies of violence at the source, by promoting democracy throughout the greater Middle East and beyond," Cheney told political and business leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss mountain resort.
In a speech aimed at healing transatlantic relations frayed by a bitter dispute over the Iraq war, Cheney described the war on terrorism in broader, softer terms to counter criticism that Washington focuses too narrowly on military solutions.
Europe and the United States should join in encouraging the Iranian government to "honor the legitimate demands of the Iranian people," he said.
"Our forward strategy for freedom commits us to support those who work and sacrifice for reform across the greater Middle East. We call upon our democratic friends and allies everywhere, and in Europe in particular, to join us in this effort," Cheney said.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan Friday warned in Davos against following the "laws of the jungle" in the quest for global security. Several Arab and Muslim leaders accused the United States of hypocrisy and double standards in a selective drive for democracy and disarmament in the Middle East that they said ignored Israel's nuclear arms and behavior.
Cheney acknowledged European efforts to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and reaffirmed Washington's commitment to the NATO defense alliance.
He said NATO's future lay outside the European heartland and urged Europe to step up its long-range military capabilities. He also urged the European Union, as it develops its own defense policy, not to shrink from military power and influence.
"America wants the strongest possible Europe. And just as we must not force you to choose between your European and transatlantic vocations, you must not sell yourselves short and settle for less than the military capability and influence that your people deserve," Cheney said.
With the U.S. military stretched by engagements in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, Cheney said "today that need is critical" for Europe to step up its troop deployment capacity. He noted that Europe and Canada had 1.4 million soldiers under arms, of whom just 55,000 were deployed abroad.
NATO and the European Union could not "afford waste, duplication or competition," he said in an allusion to lingering U.S. concern about plans for an EU military planning cell.
Cheney showed no sign of backing off from a central element of the U.S. case for war on Iraq -- its alleged unconventional weapons stockpiles and programs -- even after the head of the U.S. hunt for Iraqi weapons quit Friday and said he doubted any such stockpiles existed.
The vice president defended the war, saying that if the United States had not acted, Iraq would still be "defying the United Nations and making a mockery of its mission."
The world's democracies must send an "unmistakable message" that "the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction only invites isolation and carries great costs," he said.
Cheney said there was reason for optimism over the course of global events following the divisions of last year in the run-up up to the Iraq war.
He cited "robust" economic growth in the United States and Asia, the adoption of a new constitution in Afghanistan, an easing of tensions between India and Pakistan, and Libya's decision to abandon its unconventional weapons programs.
He credited "quiet diplomacy" for Libya's decision, but said this was reinforced by a German-Italian operation to intercept nuclear equipment bound for Libya, and America's proven determination to fight the spread of unconventional weapons.
"We mean exactly what we say," he said. http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=4199381
Iranian-American makes Top 12 on UPN's "Top Model". http://www.upn.com/shows/top_model2/bio_sara.shtml
Occupation: Restaurant Hostess
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Favorite Movie: "The Making of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit"
Favorite TV Shows: "Hannity & Colmes" and "Gilmore Girls" and basketball
Favorite Music: Rap, R&B, 80s
Favorite Food: Mom's famous spaghetti
Other Activities: Volleyball
Self-description: Articulate, stunning, sarcastic as hell.
Life Motto: "What's next?"