I think this interview with Richard Perle in the German conservative daily "Welt" is outstanding.
(Translation by Hartmut Lau)
“He Won’t Change The Thrust Of His Policies”
Groundbreaking neo-conservative thinker Richard Perle
on George W. Bush, the Iraq war, multilateralism and
the UN’s weakness / by Hanspeter Born
Born: “Have you – privately - had doubts on the decision
to go to war in Iraq?
Perle: No, I don’t have any doubts. Given the
circumstances at the time, doing what we did was the
right thing. At the end of the day we’ll look back on
this effort and see it not only as successful and very
much necessary, but also as the beginning of
comprehensive change in the region. ...
Q: Will President Bush continue on the same course in
his second term or will he listen to people
who advise him to rely more on soft power than on
A: We don’t want to emulate the Europeans. The
Europeans employ soft power day and night. They
cannot get enough of it. That isn’t our role. Our
role is not to pretend – as the Europeans pretend –
that soft power can change North Korea’s Kim Jong Il
or the mullahs. ...
Q: A primary European criticism of the America
concerns its behavior with respect to international law.
Europeans regret that the US deliberately undermines
the world order created by Roosevelt and its
institutions, such as the UN.
A: What world order? The UN passed 17 resolutions
against Saddam Hussein and did nothing to enforce
them. It was weak and ineffective.
Q: The Europeans especially deplore the doctrine of
preventive war. Can any country now justify a
war-like attack with the claim that it pre-empted a
A: The Europeans have learned nothing from their own
history. Would a preventive war against Nazi Germany
have been a mistake?
Q: It would not have been a pre-emptive war if
Europeans had attacked after Hitler’s march into the
Rhineland in 1936. They would have been punishing a
violation of the Treaty of Versailles.
The Iraq war is, as Kofi Annan and most Europeans see
it, a violation of international law.
A: Nonsense. Claiming that there was a world order, in
accordance with international law, upon which we could
rely, is nonsense. There was no such order. Who is
Kofi Annan to say what is legal and what is illegal?
Every country has the right to defend itself. This
right is not granted by the UN Charter, but is
mentioned in Article 51. This right existed long
before there was a UN Charter. At the time the
Charter was written, there was no terrorism that could
pose a danger such as that which we now face. The
concern was tank divisions advancing across borders.
Today’s concern is people who conduct terrorist
attacks. Do we have to wait until the attacks have
been carried out before we move against the
Q: In Europe people resent that the US has moved away
A: We will not allow our fate to be determined by a
majority vote in the UN when there are dictatorships
casting a vote. The world in which we live is not a
world that we can trust with our fate. We cannot
depend on Zimbabwe’s vote to assure our safety. We
will not subject ourselves to this sort of
Q: Do you see parallels between Bush and another
underestimated president, Harry Truman?
A: Yes, I do see such parallels. And I see parallels
to Ronald Reagan. Bush is straightforward, honest and
says what he thinks. When he visits Europe in
February he’ll say some reconciliatory things but he won’t
change the thrust of his policies – policies with
which he is completely comfortable.