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Can America Manage 3 Fronts Simultaneously?

Posted October. 21, 2002 23:07,   


Is America really capable of managing three fronts simultaneously?

That is the question the American media constantly asking. Considering Iraq and North Korea as local fronts, the terror of Al Qaida is spreading the front to everywhere in Earth. From Bali, Indonesia to Kuwait, the Philippines, and Morocco, terrors are happening everywhere changing times and locations.

The Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), George Tennet stated attending the Congress last week, “We are going back to the situation like last summer right before the 9.11 terror.”

The recent issue of the Newsweek (Oct. 28) reported that the Director Tennet asked the Director of the National Security Bureau to upgrade the National Terror Alert from Yellow to Orange, but it was refused. If the alert is upgraded the Coast Guard must expand its patrol to ports, and the Office of Customs Administration must keep high-level search for airplanes, trucks, and freights. Since they did not have the ability to keep this strengthened provision system, they could not upgrade the alert although they know the danger was near. This magazine reported, it seemed to show the lack of resources even before attacking Iraq.

The magazine also reported, on top of this, the typical hard-liner, a former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich said, “It is predicted that the Defense and Intelligence budget will rise from 3% to 5% of the GDP if we attack Iraq,” and “there must be a national debate whether to spend this much budget or not.”

However, the resources that are even more lacking are the mental and time reserve of the President and his staff. The situations that are simultaneously happening scatter and vanish completely the attention of the leaders.

The New York Times reported on the 20th quoting an officer of the White House, “The 12 days after the acknowledgement of nuclear development by North Korea, one of the discussion topics at the Situation Room of the White House was whether we are overloading the circuit or not.” The newspaper reported that a former Ambassador to Korea, Stephen Bosworth said, “I worry about that we are overloading the intelligence, human, and technological resources.”

A high ranking official said, “Although we are developing a satellite system that can patrol multiple areas simultaneously, there is only bunch of high ranking policy makers who can control the whole Earth.”

The overloading could bring a critical mistake. The New York Times reported that however, the George W. Bush Administration also saw this as an opportunity to totally reform the world according to the American value. The New York Times said quoting historians, “During tense situations like this, the most creative diplomacy in history was happened,” and pointed out the facts that made Germany and Japan into democratic countries at the same time after the World War II, and overcame the Missile Crisis of Cuba in 1962 as clear examples for that.

Eun-Taek Hong euntack@donga.com