The United States and the « rogue State » concept : towards the end of containment?

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US policy towards so-called « rogue State » (North Korea, Cuba, Irak, Iran, Libya…) has recently seen significant changes which have called to question the traditional containment strategy. Successively announcing the easing of the embargoes on Iran, North Korea and Cuba, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also decided to officially drop the ambiguous and counterproductive « rogue » rhetoric. The question today is whether these measures reflect a genuine change in policy, or whether they are only pragmatic adaptations to what is often known in Washington as « sanctions fatigue », not only among US allies, but also within a growing part of the American electorate. In this respect, a close examination of the US attitude brings the conclusion that the « rogue state » concept, which has tailored the American strategic thinking for the last decade, is still very steadfast among many decision-makers. A return to measures of containment could easily happen, in particular due to US foreign policy’s excessive reactivity to international events, such as terrorist attacks. – Summary AFRI-2001