19 May 2007 04:17


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  • Title: [SW News] (Reuters) State Department Drops 'Rogue State' Tag
  • From: []
  • Date:  [19 June 2000]

State Department Drops 'Rogue State' Tag

Story Filed: Monday, June 19, 2000 3:13 PM EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iran, Libya and North Korea are rogues no longer, the State Department has decided.

Now they're just ``states of concern'', Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in a radio interview.

``Some of those countries aren't as bad as they used to be. They say: 'We've done some stuff so why are you still calling us a rogue state?''' one State Department official said.

Or, as State Department spokesman Richard Boucher put it more carefully on Monday: ``It's just a recognition that we have seen some evolution in different ways in different places, and that we will deal appropriately with each one based on the kind of evolution we're seeing.''

Iran, for example, has become more democratic, with presidential and parliamentary elections. Libya has handed over the suspects in the Lockerbie case for trial and North Korea has declared a moratorium on tests of its long-range missiles.

Even Iraq, a hardcore ``rogue state'' under the old description, is now ``a state previously known as rogue'', to quote Boucher's jocular formulation.

Albright, speaking on National Public Radio's Diane Rehm show, said: ``We are now calling these states 'states of concern' because we are concerned about their support for terrorist activities, their development of missiles, their desire to disrupt the international system.''



The Clinton administration, and especially Albright as ambassador to the United Nations, was once an enthusiastic proponents of the ``rogue state'' theory.

In an April 1994 lecture, she divided the countries of the world into four categories -- international good citizens, emerging democracies, rogue states and countries where a state hardly exists, such as Somalia and Sierra Leone.

She defined a rogue state as one that had no part in the international system and that tried to sabotage it. U.S. policy should be to isolate them, she added.

For the past year or so, the United States had used the term mainly for countries it thought might be working on long-range missiles. This was the justification for planning a controversial national defense against their missiles.

But experience, especially with the isolated Stalinist state of North Korea, has shown that it might be more productive in the long run to engage in dialogue.

In the case of Iran, moreover, the United States has been actively seeking a dialogue with the government, despite repeated rebuffs from Tehran.



Talks between the United States and North Korea, which have no diplomatic relations, have persuaded Pyongyang to freeze its nuclear program, allow the United States to inspect suspect sites and suspend the missile tests. The talks may have been a factor in persuading North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to take part in last week's summit with South Korea.

One U.S. official tied the change in terminology specifically to the case of North Korea, one of the countries which the United States calls a state sponsor of terrorism.

``It doesn't help to be calling them rogues one minute and trying to get them to be reasonable the next,'' he said.

Boucher said the State Department wanted to move away from putting countries in groups and would not be drawn on whether there were ``states of concerns'' which were never rogues.

The term ``rogue'' never had any formal status but Albright initially included Iraq, Iran, Serbia, Sudan, and North Korea.

Cuba and Syria have been on the U.S. list of ``terrorism sponsors'' but were rarely if ever called rogues.

``The category has outlived its usefulness...but we're not trying to create new categories. We're trying to deal with each situation in U.S. interests. If we see a development that we think is in U.S. interests, we will respond,'' Boucher said.

``If we're able to encourage them (states of concern) or pressure them or otherwise produce changes in their behavior, and therefore change in our relationship, we're willing to do that,'' the spokesman added.

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