Wed, 28 Jun 2000

No more 'rogue' nations?

The Clinton administration's declaration that "rogue nations" no longer exist and the countries which have been so labeled will hence forward be known as "states of concern" can be attributed to reasons other than those officially stated by the U.S. If Washington has decided to ease trade restrictions on North Korea, the debate over how far it could go in sacrificing its economic interests to other foreign policy concerns assumes significance. It will, therefore, be very unreasonable for the U.S. to look forward to expanding trade with North Korea if it continues to be regarded as a "rogue" state.

The same reasoning would hold good for Iran as well. Trade relations with every country, irrespective of a few of them having been regarded so far as "rogue" states, remain significant for the U.S. Its economic supremacy might make it appear that the U.S. could afford to be indifferent to matters relating to global economic and commercial ties. That was the reasoning behind the resort to sanctions even as the European nations were reluctant to sacrifice their trade and economic interests.

Time seems to have healed these wounds for the U.S. and it could now see the erstwhile "rogue states" as far less dangerous states of concern. Washington could also do with a little introspection of whether it should sit in imperious, summary judgment over the other countries. It should act with a greater sensitivity in its dealing with the rest of the world.

-- The Hindu, New Delhi