Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, tried to frighten France and Germany into supporting the American war against Iraq yesterday (2003–03–04), by suggesting that unless they support the US in that war, the US will abandon their support for the UN and will become uncontrollable, saying:
“And we will reap a whirlwind, if we push the Americans into a unilateralist position in which they are the centre of this unipolar world.”
Which means that a “multipolar” world, according to Jack Straw, is the one where all the world supports anything the US chooses to do, while a “unipolar” world is the one where the US does anything it chooses to do regardless of whether all the world supports them or not.
As the US will do whatever they choose in either of the above cases, the outcome will be the same for better or for worse. But, if it is for worse, then in the “multipolar” world, where everybody supports the US, the rest of the world will be accomplices of the US, and will share the blame for any crimes that US will commit. While, if the US will be opposed by those heads of states who believe that a war without valid reasons is wrong, then, although their opposition will not deter the US from attacking Iraq alone, they will not be accomplices of the US in what they see as a wrong action.
The fact that Jack Straw, has to resort to such an obviously immoral argument, is an indication that the moral argument of Tony Blair, that he would urge the US to attack Iraq, because of his moral convictions has been abandoned, now it is “saving the authority of Europe and the UN” by agreeing to anything the US decides to do for better or for worse.
This new “save the UN by supporting the US war” argument of the Blair government raises the question “Is the UN of any value, if it is but a rubber stamp for the US politics and policies?”
The desire of the US to shape the world in accordance with its “national interests”, as they openly state in their Foreign Policy document, is contrary to the very principles on which the UN is based.
The very reason the UN came into existence after World War II, was to prevent resurgence of a nation state that would wish to subjugate the rest of the world to its national interests by military force, that is by war. The purpose of the UN is to prevent wars, not to give them a semblance of legitimacy.
Jack Straw's suggestion that all the UN member states should support the US, because otherwise it will go on a worldwide rampage regardless, is like telling the police to join a heavily‐armed gang of criminals in their intended rampage on the city, because, if they try to stop the gang, the gang will try to do it anyway. As they say, “If you can't beat them, join them”. Hardly a moral argument! Nor is it an argument that is likely to strengthen the role of the police, or, on the world stage, of the UN.
The only reason that the Iraq war might be “inevitable”, is because the UN is not sufficiently developed to be an effective means of resolution of international disputes and of maintenance of international law and order.
And the way to assure peace and security in the world is to make the UN such effective supra‐national institution, which will be in charge of the world peace and security.
Peace and security in the world cannot be achieved by a super‐power trying to control the world by military force in accordance in its perceived “national interests”. Such world order is inherently unstable. It is like hoping to reduce crime in the US by abolishing the police and vesting the maintenance of law and order with an Al‐Capone‐style Mafia.
If Tony Blair is really concerned with peace and security in the world, he should openly condemn the US Foreign Policy and the “War on Terror” doctrine on which it is based, and should start working towards turning the UN into and effective means of maintenance of world peace and security.
And, if Tony Blair uses his energy to show the US government the advantages of a world order based on rule of law, rather than super‐power gangsterism, then the war can stop being “inevitable”, and would suddenly become “avoidable”. This might even boost his own waning popularity!
The present attempts to “disarm” Iraq is a farce, because on the one hand the Iraqi government is told that they should disarm, otherwise they will be “disarmed by force”, on the other hand they are told that they will be attacked and occupied by the US in any event. So, what is the point of disarming?
There is certainly a case for elimination of the Weapons of Mass Destruction not just in Iraq, but in all the world. There is a strong case for general disarmament not just of Iraq, but of all the world. And there is a strong case for vesting the task of world policing with the UN. But to disarm one country, so that it would be attacked by another one to advance its “national interests” makes no sense at all. Using the UN for such an obviously corrupt purpose turns the farce from an absurdity into a tragedy.