Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Sign up for our twice-weekly newsletter!

Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Panel discusses rogue states including Iran, North Korea

Experts mulled U.S. foreign policy toward Iran and North Korea at an all-day conference Thursday at 1957 E Street.

About 40 GW students and professors attended the Elliott School-sponsored conference titled, “Deterring ‘Rogue States’: Do the Old Rules Apply?” Robert Litwak, director of International Security Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, discussed what a rogue state is and how it affects the international community.

“Used by the president of the United States, (the term) constitutes a category of states, after the Cold War, that were considered hostile to the U.S.,” Litwak said. He added that the Clinton administration was the first to use the term, replacing the previously used buzz word “state of concern.”

The rogue state lecture series, a four-part discussion, included keynote speaker Robert Jervis, an Adlai E. Stevenson professor at Columbia University, several prominent GW professors and employees of distinguished think-tanks.

The day culminated with a panel discussion of what policies the Bush administration should undertake in response to countries gaining nuclear capability. Elliott School Dean Michael E. Brown moderated the discussion.

Litwak said he was fearful of North Korea and Iran because they can give radioactive material to terrorist groups. He recommended the United States take a hard-line stance to deter nuclear proliferation.

“The transfer of (weapons of mass destruction) capability from a state to a non-state entity should be strictly watched,” he said. “The bumper sticker with respect to Iran should read, ‘Don’t Even Think About It.'”

Joseph Cirincione, vice president for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress, focused on counter-proliferation. He said the government’s success in dismantling Libya’s nuclear program should be used as an example of good foreign policy. Libya agreed to halt its nuclear program in late 2003.

North Korea should be the administration’s top priority because it has a weak regime and the president can bolster his legacy by effecting positive change in relations with that country, Cirincione said.

“North Korea should be a priority because of the weakness of President Bush,” he said. “He needs a victory somewhere to raise his popularity throughout the country. This is the place to get it.”

Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, said the United States should engage in preemptive strikes on rogue states developing nuclear technology.

“We can not let North Korea become a Nuclear Walmart,” O’Hanlon said. “Preemptive strikes against North Korea for building nuclear reactors can not be left from policy.”

O’Hanlon said he was “pleasantly surprised” with the Bush administration’s reaction to the Iranian nuclear program, and he complimented Bush for looking at alternatives before “committing to preemption.”

More to Discover
Donate to The GW Hatchet