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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 March, 2005, 00:23 GMT
Allies to join US strategy talks
By Lesley Curwen
BBC correspondent in Washington

US soldiers in Iraq
The Pentagon wants greater co-operation with its allies
The Pentagon has said it will now include its allies in secret meetings about US defence strategy.

It is seen as part of an effort to forge closer links between America and its military allies.

But the administration has made it clear there will be no softening of its doctrine of taking pre-emptive strikes to defend US interests.

The meetings, known as The Quadrennial Defence Review, will help determine military spending.

The review will define the most important missions, future staffing and choice of weapons.

Pre-emptive strikes clause

According to Douglas Feith, the Under-Secretary of Defence, the inclusion of allies in the talks will foster co-operation in the fight against terrorism.

Mr Feith did not name the individual countries which will be invited to the Pentagon talks, but it is understood the discussions will identify tasks and missions that become the responsibility of these other nations.

The meetings will try to hammer out agreement about the threats posed across the world, and how the US can help plug gaps in training and assistance for its allies.

However, Mr Feith said America would still be prepared to go it alone and launch unilateral pre-emptive strikes to defend the country if necessary, without the approval of other nations.

Military officials have suggested the new policy is a significant departure because it could bind together America and its allies more effectively and it could potentially soothe some of the bitterness still felt in some European capitals over the invasion of Iraq.

Some will see it as an admission that the US cannot address all the military challenges alone, or an admission that the Bush administration did not do enough to secure international support before the Iraq war.




SEE ALSO:
US troops to remain in Europe
23 Feb 05 |  Americas
Pentagon rebuffs troop criticism
06 Oct 04 |  Americas
Pentagon Iraq strategy 'failing'
30 Sep 04 |  Middle East
Secret Pentagon spies confirmed
24 Jan 05 |  Americas


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