The end of the cold war a decade ago has ushered in a greatly transformed international landscape. Instead of a pacific era of peace and political harmony, the world, and particularly the United States, has been confronted with a menacing challenge of rogue regimes whose propensity for violence is matched by their intentions to disrupt regional stability, contribute to outlaw behavior worldwide, or to possess weapons of mass destruction. Ruthless rogues also endanger American interests and citizens by their active or passive sponsorship of terrorism. If left unchecked, rogue states like Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya, and others will threaten innocent populations, undermine international norms, and spawn other pariah regimes, as the global order becomes tolerant of this political malignancy.
As a major beneficiary of a global order of free markets, free trade, growing prosperity and spreading democracy, the United States, the world's sole superpower, must take the lead in confronting rogue governments, even though our allies may balk from time to time. Specifically, American power should be used to enhance the credibility of our diplomacy. Law and diplomacy alone are unlikely to affect rogue dictators. They must be reinforced with power. Four broad policy options, which in most cases should be combined rather than implemented individually, can be applied:
- Sanctions and isolation to achieve containment of and inflict economic damage on a rogue state
- International courts and domestic prosecution to bring rogue criminals to justice
- Shows of strength and armed interventions to coerce or eliminate rogue regimes
- Support for opposition movements or covert operations to oust rogue figures
Unless the United States addresses the challenge of rogue states with a combination of force and diplomacy, the new millennium will witness a widening of global anarchy, deteriorating progress toward economic development, and declining political reform. Dire consequences await the United States if it fails to react forcefully to international roguery.
The comments of my colleagues Charlie Hill, James Noyes, Henry Rowen, and Abraham Sofaer were helpful and are gratefully acknowledged along with those from Addison Davis, David Gillette, Bradley Murphy, Douglas Neumann, Piers Turner, and Robin Wright.