Tuesday, September 17, 2002
Why the U.N.? – 17Sep02.

If I were an American hawk, I should be wary of invoking the United Nations in support of my case.

Either Iraq is a threat to America, or she is not. Who is best able to decide: the United Nations, or America herself? If Iraq is a threat to America, what does it matter whether the United Nations says she is not? If Iraq is not a threat to America, what would it matter if the United Nations said she were?

If Security Council resolutions need to be enforced to save the U.N.’s credibility, why are there glaring exceptions? Of course it is better that one resolution should be enforced rather than none; of course the inconsistency per se does no damage to U.S. interests; but expectations are bound to be raised & then disappointed. Is it really in America’s interests to have even more deeply disappointed Arabs in the world? Is it likely to help the “War on Terror”?

Why does the U.N.’s credibility matter? What credibility can an organisation devoted to “human rights” & stuffed full of bloodthirsty dictators & incompetents aspire to anyway? The greater the U.N.’s “credibility”, the greater the credibility of the anti-Western sentiment that preponderates within it. How is that in the interests of the United States?

No doubt America is merely using the U.N. as a convenient fig-leaf to hide her pursuit of her own perceived interests. And that’s fair enough. The attack on Iraq may well be less “destabilising” if it is carried out under the aegis of the U.N., & no doubt it is better for America if it is. But is it good for America to get into the habit of acting in her own most urgent interests only after the United Nations has been conciliated? I have my doubts.

Sometimes, of course, it is necessary to conciliate important countries who have the power to impede America’s pursuit of her interests. But the United Nations has no power. Why not discard the fig-leaf & proclaim to the world, “The most solemn moral duty of the government of the United States is to protect the people of the United States from violent death at the hands of her enemies. That is our priority, & that is what we shall do. If you object, you object; we have the power to silence objectors”?

It would be a bold proclamation; but when we know the safety of our citizens is at stake, we can afford to be bold.

Can’t we?


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