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LWV-HI Council
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Foreign Policy in Flux
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Foreign Policy in Flux

Speaking at a recent public lecture, Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., focused on the military to foreign policy link. Recently nominated as United States ambassador to Great Britain, Admiral Crowe retired from the military and serves as counsel at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. Holder of a doctorate in politics from Princeton, he is currently a professor of geopolitics at the University of Oklahoma.

Tracing changes in the former USSR, Admiral Crowe focused on economics, health and environment, and the general attitude of the populace needed to work toward sorting out major economic problems. He feels there could be anarchy on the horizon, and that it will take time for the country (Russia) to decide whether it will have a pluralistic system or remain an autocracy. Admiral Crowe expressed his belief that, given certain anti-West feelings, this area is the U.S.'s number one political concern. Therefore, our military strength must remain strong to meet potential dangers.

The next five years will be significant for NATO, Crowe said. The proposed Partners for Peace coalition may be relevant during this period although it would create a different relationship among the countries of Europe. He foresees future situations where the U.S. might become involved and noted at this point, and in later remarks, that it is the will of the people that will drive U.S. involvement.

Problems in the Middle East are driven by religion, oil, and Israel, Crowe stated. Particularly with the U.S. interest in oil, he feels we will be involved for years to come.

Crowe believes that U.S. focus on nonproliferation of atomic weapons will keep the U.S. involved in Korea for the duration, as it will in any other area that threatens us with nuclear power. Thus, military strength will need to be maintained.

The United States' ethical concerns and its economic agenda conflict in the China arena. Crowe expects that in the end, we will reach a political compromise over the issues.

Recent events (Somalia and Bosnia are examples) have thrust the military into unprecedented situations, Crowe noted. He expressed concern over the dynamics of intervention. Intervention, with peacekeeping, is serious; it changes the political "calculus" of the country where the effort is expended. He noted that armed troops have a weight of their own and humanitarian action can lead to armed opposition as a "mission creep" occurs. Crowe believes all of us must understand the problems and accept the untidiness of action, or not be involved. Ambivalence in future missions is possible; therefore, the use of the military and its costs--personnel and monetary-must be understood.

Admiral Crowe addressed current downturns in military spending. He feels they are a part of a realistic approach to strategic transitions now taking place, yet he hopes the country will continue to make wise investment in continuing military and intelligence capability to meet future needs with peace as the major objective.

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