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Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 17:21:40 -0600 (CST)
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Subject: [NYTr] US too weak to implement international agenda
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US too weak to implement international agenda, says IISS

IRNA, 31 January 2007

Great power relations are in a state of flux due to the US not being strong enough to enforce the international agenda it seeks to impose, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

“US power is strong enough to establish an agenda for international activity but is too weak effectively to implement that agenda globally,” IISS Director General John Chipman said.

“The power of others, whether states or sub-state actors, is strong enough to resist an American agenda, but too weak to shape an internationally attractive alternative or to implement an enduring local agenda free of outside influence,” he further said.

Speaking at the launch of the London-based institute's latest Military Balance, Chipman said in such a state of instability, many place hope in the resuscitation or re-creation of multilateral institutions.

But he warned that ‘the paradox is that when international power is in such flux, powers both on the rise and on the decline are reluctant to concede long-lasting new constraints on their current ability to exercise influence’. His belief was that in the foreseeable future, ‘jockeying for power, seeking new alliances and friends, dealing for influence, will more likely be the norm’.

Military Balance paints bleak pictures of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the stand offs with Iran and North Korea, the conflicts in Africa and the question of China's geopolitical and military ambitions.

In Iraq, President George W Bush's new policy was to announce the dispatch of a further 21,000 reinforcements to the current 132,000 US troops already in country.

The IISS director general said that the new deployment would see a new total of 32,000 US troops in Baghdad, a city of 6 million, but was 'still well below even the 50 per 1,000 that the new US Army and Marines field manual on counter-insurgency recommends'.

“In addition, simply flooding one area of Iraq, in this case parts of Baghdad, with troops, neglects the subtler aspects of counter-insurgency doctrine,” he said.