Haass Likely Next CFR President

The New American 01/14/03

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Richard Haass, head of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, is "the most likely choice" to replace Leslie Gelb as president of the Council on Foreign Relations, reported the December 18th Washington Times. Former head of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institute, Haass has also worked in the National Security Council and at the Pentagon.

Unnamed "foreign policy analysts" told the Times that Haass "has been unhappy in his position at the Department of State.... Haass has reportedly not been given the authority he would need to truly influence policymaking" in the Bush administration. Accordingly, he’s apparently going over the president’s head by seeking the presidency of the CFR, which Washington Post ombudsman Richard Harwood called the American "ruling establishment."

CFR sources told the Times that selecting Haass, a nominal Republican, would "balance the image that the organization has become too Wilsonian." Whatever selecting Haass might do for the CFR’s image, his credentials as a Wilsonian are impeccable. Author of the book The Reluctant Sheriff, which calls for deeper U.S. involvement in UN-mandated military missions abroad, Haass also favors police-state measures to combat terrorism.

Following the 1996 Centennial Park bombing during the Atlanta Summer Olympics, Haass — at the time director of national security programs at the CFR — wrote an op-ed column warning that the struggle against terrorism is "a war with an unlimited number of battles, none of them decisive.... Now, terrorism has come to the United States, with a growing list of casualties and notorious events: the World Trade Center bombing, Oklahoma City, the Unabomber attacks, possibly TWA Flight 800 — and certainly the pipe bomb at the Atlanta Olympics.... In a world in which borders count for less and less, it should come as little surprise that terrorism has come to America. Our cities are the new battlefields, and we are the combatants."

Accordingly, Haass continued, Americans will have to endure some dramatic dislocations in their everyday lives: "People will have to accept longer lines before entering buildings, longer delays at airports, more intrusive searches of their belongings and our persons, and higher ticket prices to pay for all of this. We may have to make it less easy to obtain the weapons and the tools that terrorists require to carry out their evil trade.... [The war] will require increased police and intelligence work. It will also take large amounts of public money, something that will require more taxes or less services in other areas.... Greater vigilance will also involve a willingness to compromise some of our civil liberties, including accepting more frequent phone taps and surveillance. Those who would resist paying such a price should keep in mind that terrorism could well get worse in coming years."


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