Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Monday, March 10, 2003

Even in Europe some understand that the crisis in the UNSC is not recent nor is it the fault of Bush the Cowboy.

Arend-Jan Boekestijn, professor of international relations at Utrecht University, rejects this argument. He told Newsline's Jane Murphy that the UN's prestige has already been undermined by its inability to implement previous resolutions.

AJB: "Surely there will be a problem of course, because the United Nations would be in a much stronger position if the resolution is adopted, but I think there is another problem: there have already been 17 resolutions in the last 12 years regarding Iraq, and if the UN is not able to implement them, it means the international order is already damaged by the behaviour of the United Nations itself. I agree that the UN is undermined by this whole new situation, but I don't think you could argue that this is the fault of America or Britain."

RN: "But then again, France would argue that in fact those resolutions are now being implemented, that we are seeing progress in that the reports from the UN weapons inspectors are saying that Iraq is now disarming …"

AJB: "But the problem is weapons inspections will never work. It is perfectly possibly, even if you have Iraq full of weapons inspectors, that somebody is trying to construct new weapons. This is a very difficult problem. I don't think Iraq at the moment poses a real threat for the world. I don't think that there is a significant link between Baghdad and al-Qaeda, but I still support Mr Blair's decision for the simple reason that if we let him go now and withdraw the soldiers, or choose not to attack and continue the weapons inspections, I think the problem will remain, because the only way to disarm a nation that doesn't want to disarm, is regime change."

"But if the UN Security Council doesn't vote in favour of military action and one or two countries go ahead, doesn't that go to the heart of the whole reason for having a United Nations? Why have it if individual countries are going to play world cop?"

"That's not true, because we have a resolution, 1441, which says that Saddam has to prove himself, he has to draw up a full list of all his weapons, and if he fails to do that, he'll face the severest of consequences, that's the wording of resolution 1441. Now, he simply hasn't produced any complete lists, even Dr Blix says there are problems here …"

RN: "But there is still time, there is still room to use as much diplomatic pressure as possible … "

"But history teaches us that you can only disarm governments that really have the intention to disarm."

RN: "But just looking at the position of the United Nations and its legitimacy: opinion polling around the world show that people in general are against this war, unless it has the backing of the UN, a United Nations mandate. So, people clearly feel that it's important that this goes through the United Nations."

"Yes, but then people must also acknowledge that over the last twelve years, the UN has produced 17 resolutions that haven't been implemented. That's strange, because it means the organisation is powerless. I'm not going to argue here that we should abolish the United Nations, but I only want to say that there is a limit to international justice and that's because we don't have a world government."

< email | 3/10/2003 12:04:00 PM | link

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