Unilateralism and Diplomatic Failure

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AAAintheBeltway, Apr 5, 2003.

  1. A frequent complaint from the Democrats here and anti-war groups worldwide is the issue of American unilateralism and diplomatic failures. It was expressed recently by Sen. John Kerry who said we need "regime change" here as well as in Iraq, because Pres. Bush is unable to work with the UN.

    The war has crsytallized these complaints, but they arose before war was on the table. The first major issue concerned the so-called Kyoto global warming treaty. This treaty was agreed to by the Clinton administration but never submitted to the Senate for the required ratification. The reason was that it would have been defeated by a huge majority, as the treaty was terribly flawed. Bush basically announced it was dead, prompting a tantrum from the europeans and radical environmentalists.

    The next issue was missile defense. Remember this was the scheme that couldn't possibly work and was destabilizing. Tell that to people in Kuwait and Israel, who have been saved by the PAC 2 anti-missile system. The issue here was the sacred icon of the arms control movement, the missile defense treaty, which put handcuffs on our ability to developa nd deploy an effective defense system. Bush withdrew from the treaty, again promting howls of outrage from the international left. No doubt it would be better to be vulnerable to N. Korean nuke missiles than to call into question the wisdom of unenforceable arms control.

    Iraq basically represented the third major falling out between the Bush administration and "world opinion." There have also been a steady drumbeat of trade and tax issues that are important but less amenable to bumper sticker reasoning.

    When I hear people say "We failed diplomatically", I really wonder what they mean. That we didn't persuade a group of self-interested europeans who would like to see us weak, vulnerable and submissive? That our foreign policy is made by our President, not by the UN or Jacque Chiraq? Even if you assume uncritically that these people are only motivated by the sincerest wishes to do good for the world, why does that somehow make their analysis more valid than our own? Most of the european countries are governed by leftwing socialist parties. Even their "conservative" parties support a level of socialism that would make Hillary Clinton proud.

    The US does not seek to exploit any country, but we have to be prepared to act in the first instance to protect and preserve our own interests. Huge majorities of Amercian voters agree with the President on all these contentious issues. The fact that huge majorities of europeans disagree is regrettable but ultimately irrelevant.
  2. msfe


    Yes, Oil Plays Big Role As Motive for Iraq War

    By Youssef M. Ibrahim
    Youssef M. Ibrahim, a former Mideast and energy editor for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, is a group editor with Energy Intelligence publications.

    April 4, 2003

    This war may not be about oil in the first place, but to argue that the United States is committing more than 300,000 armed men and women to the single area of the world sitting atop two-thirds of the global oil reserves without having oil on its mind is a bit of a stretch.

    Of course oil is crucial. We consume 40 percent of its world production and import half of the oil we need. Furthermore, we have always preserved in one way or another a hegemony over the Persian Gulf region that in the past few years has become threatened by the rise of rogue regimes like Iraq and Islamic fundamentalism in Iran and Saudi Arabia. Checking this threat is unquestionably part of the scenario.

    If proof were needed, even as the war is under way the press reports that the Defense Department has already contracted the same companies that extinguished many of the fires in Kuwait's oil wells in the past Gulf War, 12 years ago, to stand by. More important, the department has signed up a subsidiary of Vice President Dick Cheney's old firm, Halliburton Co., to subcontract that work. A spokesman for Halliburton confirmed that the value of these contracts is estimated at $900 million. While the Halliburton spokesman claims the company got the job because of its 84-year-long experience, the smell of oil, business and politics wafts in the air.

    The vice president, it is well known, controls the nation's energy policies under authority ceded to him by the president. Equally significant, he has been one of the prime hawks behind the war on Iraq. It is legitimate for taxpayers to ask where one ends and the other begins.

    Indeed, of the $74.7 billion the White House requested from Congress for the cost of war, $500 million are targeted to repair Iraqi oil fields in poor condition for lack of spare parts over the past 12 years of United Nations-imposed sanctions. Nearly 100 American companies are lining up for contracts. While we claim the oil of Iraq is for the people of Iraq, it seems that, for now at least, it is for the companies of America.

    We are "doing" Iraq because it has oil and it is "do-able."

    The oil argument becomes stronger when we consider that other great powers are fighting for Iraqi oil - France, Russia and China.

    Over the past 12 years, since Iraq was placed under sanctions, it has followed a clever strategy of encouraging French, Russian and Chinese oil companies to come into the country, look at the oil data and undertake preliminary surveys of areas they might want to bid for to obtain oil-production concessions once the sanctions are lifted.

    If those countries are successful in making deals for Iraqi oil, given that naton's huge reserves, the entire American hegemony over Mideast oil would come apart. Is it a surprise the French, Russian and Chinese governments were among the biggest opponents of this war in the UN Security Council? Is it a surprise we were for it as we were losing our oil foothold?

    Now what remains to be asked is whether the French, Russians and Chinese are more moral or less moral than the United States. Do they have more rights to Mideast oil, equal rights or any rights? Do we?

    What matters most is that this war, as far as we, the French, the Russians and the Chinese are concerned, is indeed about oil, not about any democracy. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney should come clean with the American people. We are not really interested in democracy in the Mideast.

    Furthermore our pursuit of Iraq in an attempt to turn it into some private American gasoline-pumping station could lead us into a quagmire. No people, be they Iraqis, Iranians or Saudis, will accept American dictates over their single national resource - oil.

  3. Well, that is obviously not true. The US has done a grand job of exploiting other countries to further its own interests. If you choose to ignore this simple truth, that's up to you.

    Whether "huge majorities of American voters" support the President is completely immaterial when it comes to matters that have global implications.

    Why the hell do Americans consider it their birthright to intervene in matters that are the concern of other countries? It is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. And it goes against every conception of fairness that a human being can hold. And yet the merry men of the GOP, in particular, march on oblivious to this obvious fact.

    It's precisely because conflicts of interest arise in international affairs that the UN was created. It wasn't created, as you might think if you listen to the Americans for long enough, just so that America could legitimise its own global designs. To turn around and call such a noble attempt at improving the lot of humanity a "joke" -- as some do, including some here -- is insult to compassion and decency everywhere.
  4. Alfonso, if what you don't know can't hurt you, you're practically invulnerable.

    What is a joke here is your passionate belief in an organization that has proven itself to be, for all intensive purposes, a eunuch in the international arena.

    Noble idea? Yes.

    Realistic and practical? No.

    The UN should stick to world food aid and health issues. Other than that, it is about as effective in policing the world as Argentina is of conquering an island of sheep-herders.

    The "insult to compassion and decency everywhere" are people like you, who would rather perpetuate the subjugation, torture, and murder of people like the Iraqis rather than allow the US to intervene BECAUSE IT ISN'T "FAIR." Life isn't fair, amigo. Surely you've at least learned that by now, haven't you?

    Make your argument to an Iraqi who isn't a member of the Ba'ath Party, the Republican Guard, or the Fedayeem Saddam and they'll most likely spit in your face.

    Keep talking, maybe someday you or your comrade iceman will say something semi-intelligent.