Is it just me, or has Bush declared war against the United Nations? At the moment, everyone is letting the Bush administration frame the debate over the U.N.'s effectiveness -- if the U.N. is unable to "disarm" Saddam within the U.S. timetable, then the validity of the whole U.N. system is brought into question. Let's step back for just a moment and consider the consequences of allowing a Bush administration "victory" over the U.N. What happens next? There are several members of Congress who have, for a number of years, questioned the necessity of U.S. involvement in the U.N. I don't think the U.S. would go so far as to pull out, but it does seem that if the Security Council objects to war with Iraq there will be alot more talk, specifically from the political right, about minimizing U.S. commitment to the U.N. For instance, it took a number of years for the U.S. to finally begin paying off its backlog of dues to the U.N. This was largely the result of Jesse Helms, whose position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee allowed him to block payment of U.S. dues. Noninterference in world affairs has long been a traditional conservative value, and there are many occasions when the U.S. would have done better to not intervene. However, this ideal has been hijacked by the neo-conservatives and distorted to mean an open hostility to the rule of international law. The U.S. withdrew from its obligations to the Criminal Court and the Kyoto Treaty, and has proceeded with plans for a missile defense system despite treaty obligations and strong criticism from Russia and other countries. All of this does not bode well for the immediate future of U.S. engagement with the world.
The victory will, of course, be hollow as long as we don't allow ourselves get suckered into accepting the logic that failure to act against Iraq discredits the whole U.N. system.
Andrew 7:03 PM : |