What is the alternative to war? Negotiation in the context of the United Nations. Already, Iraq has dismantled weapons and looks to continue doing so. They move too slowly for Bush just as Poland and Czechoslovakia moved too slowly for Hitler. Hitler claimed that these countries threatened the most powerful country in Europe and demanded humiliating concessions. Hitler was able to at least use the excuse that Germany shared a border with these ‘aggressor’ nations. It sounds ridiculous looking back and Iraq ‘threatening’ the U.S. will look equally ridiculous when seen through the filter of time. America is not only the most powerful country in the world but the most powerful country in history.
And why is Hussein slow to disarm? Perhaps he hesitates because he’s not absolutely sure of the good intentions of the U.S.A. Perhaps because he senses that whatever he does, American troops will invade.
Working through the UN is slow and cumbersome. This organisation, like all human organisations, is imperfect. Its shear scale means it lumbers along. But it makes progress and can continue to make progress if Bush and his allies stop pushing for war.
But the U.S. have shown their contempt for the U.N. before and continue to do so by actions such as refusing to pay their outstanding dues to the organisation. And war will come. And then what?
Well, the U.S. have intervened many times in the governance of other countries – supposedly for their own good. Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Korea, Vietnam are but a few sordid examples where things have gotten much worse instead of better. Many have died; mostly the locals but Americans as well. And lets not forget American support of the Afghan rebels back in the 1980s. Those rebels would later be led by Osama Bin Laden.
The U.S. has the arrogance to intervene in other parts of the world not for the greater good but for their own purposes. For example, in several countries of Latin and South America, democratically elected governments were overthrown because they were unfriendly to American interests. Puppet dictatorships were established to support American aims. Time and again, things turn sour for the locals and have unintended and unexpected consequences internationally.
Can the the invasion of Iraq be any different? Though Hussein and Bin Laden hate each other, another gulf war may push them closer together. This kind of action may also provoke other anti-American reaction. In no way can military action against Iraq produce a feeling of goodwill towards the U.S. in the Middle East.
Unilateral action by the U.S. will also weaken the United Nations. Despite its many failings, we need this organisation that promotes global discussion and consensus. The United Nations has important work to continue. It must retain its credibility. Without the U.N., we return to a period where might makes right and the sounds of gunfire overpower the voices of reason.
I’m glad at least that we share an abhorrence for war and a wish to avoid it and that we want to better the condition of other peoples around the world. These fundamental and important points of agreement outweigh our different opinions on how to achieve those goals.