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GAMBIA-L  January 2004

GAMBIA-L January 2004

Subject:

*** How the Iraq war harmed the UN

From:

uga479 <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The Gambia and related-issues mailing list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 15 Jan 2004 22:48:07 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (149 lines)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andy Mensah" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2004 8:36 PM
Subject: [unioNews] How the Iraq war harmed the UN


Thursday, January 15, 2004
<H3>How the Iraq war harmed the UN</H3>
<B><i>The events of 2003 provoked a crisis of legitimacy for both the
US and the UN, writes Ramesh Thakur.</i></B>

'Twas a Dickens of a year for the United Nations - the worst of times
and the best of times. The advocates of war condemned us for failing
to enforce Iraqi compliance with UN resolutions; opponents faulted us
for failing to punish the aggressors.

Pre-war polls consistently showed that for most people in the world,
UN blessing was the circuit-breaker in endorsing the war option.
After the war, most people still look to the UN as our best hope for
unity in a world of infinite diversity, where global problems require
multilateral solutions.

To Washington, the US wasn't turning its back on world opinion - the
world had become anti-American. Iraq was ruled by a rogue who had
long pursued the clandestine acquisition of weapons of mass
destruction; used biochemical weapons against his own citizens and
neighbours; perpetrated horrific human rights atrocities; attacked
Iran and invaded and annexed Kuwait; and defied the UN for 13 years.

The crisis with North Korea proved the wisdom of dealing with Saddam
Hussein before he got his hands on nuclear or other equally powerful
weapons; to wait for the morning after would surely have been nuclear
folly.

All acknowledged the need to confront Saddam; most ruled out acting
without UN authorisation. The Security Council is not an
authorisation tap to be turned on and off at the whim of its most
powerful member.

Another argument held UN authorisation as necessary but not
sufficient. There was grave disquiet that the UN was being subverted
to a predetermined agenda for war. Reasons for the strong anti-war
sentiment included doubts over the stated justification; anxiety
about its incalculable toll, course and consequences in an already
inflamed region; and scepticism that the US can stay engaged -
politically, economically and militarily - for the years of
reconstruction required after war. The first has been strongly
vindicated, the second shown to have been exaggerated, and the jury
is still out on the third.

The United Nations is not congenitally anti-American. In 1990, when
Saddam invaded Kuwait, it strongly supported the war to eject the
Iraqis.

Last year the crisis was seen to be the result of US belligerence,
not Iraqi aggression. If the Security Council had authorised war, it
would have been seen to have caved in to American threats and bribes.
People look to the UN to stop war, not wage one.

Sometimes war will be necessary. The will to wage war will weaken if
force is used recklessly, unwisely and prematurely.

The Iraq war ruptured US relations with traditional allies and
friends of long standing and proven reliability; damaged the three
great institutions of the last half-century - the European Union,
NATO and the UN - to have overseen peace and prosperity; squandered
the spontaneous and universal goodwill for the US after September 11,
incited fanatical hatred of US policy in parts of the world instead;
and reintroduced deep domestic divisions.

<B>Legitimacy is the conceptual rod that connects power to authority.
On Iraq, the US and the UN provoked a legitimacy crisis about each
other: of American power and UN authority.</B>

The certainty of moral clarity put the Administration on a course
that seriously eroded its moral authority for the exercise of US
power in the world. The lack of a sense of moral clarity diminished
the UN's moral authority.

<B>The UN is the arena for collective action, not a forum where
nations that are unable to do anything individually get together to
decide that nothing can be done collectively.

The UN and the US share an interest in isolating and defeating
terrorism, not each other; in containing the threat of weapons of
mass destruction; and in promoting democracy, human rights and the
rule of law in Iraq, the Middle East and the world.</B>

***
The writer is senior vice-rector of the UN University in Tokyo
(Assistant Secretary-General of the UN). These are his personal views.


Copyright   2004. The Age Company Ltd




lllll
QUOTATION:

"All of us may not live to see the higher accomplishments of an African
empire, so strong and powerful as to compel the respect of mankind, but we
in our lifetime can so work and act as to make the dream a possibility
within another generation"
-<html><A HREF="http://members.aol.com/GhanaUnion/afrohero.html">Ancestor
Marcus Mosiah Garvey <i>(1887 - 1940)</i></A></html>

llllllllll
 *  //\\//\\ unioNews Newsgroup //\\//\\   *
 * http://members.aol.com/GhanaUnion *
 *          We're One People         *
 *          Join the Chorus          *
 -    African Union Shall Succeed    -
 =====================================
A luta Continua!

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