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

The former Japanese Ambassador to the US in an interview.

Of course, war is evil. But when it comes to international relations, if you stick to the position that using force to solve disputes is an absolute evil, you may find it impossible to keep peace and order.

The French argument for continuing inspections is not convincing. They have no answer on what to do after four months of inspections. President Saddam Hussein of Iraq is hopeful that if the two camps remain divided, international opinion will split further. He expects that if the United States is isolated, it will be impossible to use military force against his country.

Within the Bush administration, officials initially talked of bypassing the United Nations. This was because they viewed the world body as ``doing more harm than good.'' But Japan has insisted that America should work through the U.N. In the end, President George W. Bush decided to work with the United Nations. This presidential decision led to the U.N. adoption of Resolution 1441.

Supposing that Japan were a member of the U.N. Security Council, it should vote for the new draft resolution (proposed by the United States and Britain). This support for the draft resolution could induce Iraq to change its attitude at the last minute, though there is little chance for that. I think there is no choice but to take military action if Iraq does not change its policy in the next two weeks.

In that case, the United States will resort to coercive action anyway, contending that the United Nations has abdicated its responsibility for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. Japan should in principle support the U.S. position.

The U.N. Security Council plays an important role. But to say that nothing can be done without its approval is dangerous. The council is not a body designed to dispense justice. A proposal gets through the council on a majority vote only when more than half of the members with conflicting agendas find that passing it is in their interests.

Therefore, there is no guarantee that a just and correct argument prevails all the time as many Japanese seem to think. What will they do when the North Korean threat is taken up by the council in the future?

< email | 3/10/2003 11:58:00 AM | link

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