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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 55, March 2001

Bush Brings 'Rogue Nations' Phrase Back into Official Fashion

President Bush has been rehabilitating the term 'rogue' to describe states Washington considers beyond the pale of the 'civilised' political community. Addressing Congress on February 28, the President stated: "Our nation...needs a clear strategy to confront the threats of the 21st century... They range from terrorists who threaten with bombs to tyrants and rogue nations intent on developing weapons of mass destruction." Speaking in Virginia on March 4, Bush observed: "We are no longer divided into armed camps locked into a careful balance of terror. ... Our present dangers are less concentrated and more varied. They come from rogue nations, from terrorists, from missiles that threaten our forces, our friends, our allies and our homeland..." In its last year in office - in a change of emphasis widely attributed to the significant improvement in US-North Korea relations - the Clinton administration actively disfavoured the 'rogue' label, preferring to talk of 'states of concern'. Referring to the label, Mary Ellen Countryman, a spokesperson for the President's National Security Council, told reporters (March 5): "The President thinks it's a term that means something to people. It's pretty clear what it means..."

Report: Bush brings 'rogues' back into vogue, Reuters, March 5.

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.