Wednesday, September 11, 2002

ONE, TWO, THREE UH .. MANY!

It's difficult to find anyone who will not admit that the world in general, the Middle East in particular, but most especially, the Iraqi people, will not be better off once Saddam Hussein shuffles off his mortal coil. He Does Not Work and Play Well With Others. But it is unacceptable to the anti-America Left that the USA be the one that does it. The first (and probably last) hyperpower cannot be allowed to succeed swiftly, easily, or twice in a row.

But the case is thin. The only card left to play is the Unilateralism charge. It usually runs along the lines of "you can't go it alone", or "the UN has to approve", mixed with the usual "it's all about the oil".

A moment to consider the word "coalition". There is no lower limit to how many make up a coalition, provided it is more than one. It can be two, or two hundred. Currently, the US has the backing of Australia and the UK, as well as a few others. Now this is, by any definition, a coalition. Is there an accepted lower number before the glorious Peace Crusade accepts that there is "international support"? Is there an accepted number at which point the US can declare "we have a coalition"?

There is a body of little thought that maintains the UN owns the rights to the Seal of Good Warmaking. But which part of the UN? Keep in mind that the question of Iraq has never been put to the General Assembly, so there has not been the required two thirds majority vote. The extant Resolution was passed by the Security Council, which is 15 nations, and they all don't all have to vote. When it comes down to tin tacks, the five Permanent Members run the show. All they need is their own vote, and three others to get a vote up. Is this the lowest number required?

I'm not really sure, but it's unlikely the First Gulf War had anything like unanimous approval. It might just have been an oversight, not getting the green light from Malawi, or failing to acquire the proper approvals from Monaco. Is the 1991 coalition the benchmark for future wars? No-one gets to invade anyone without the approval of the USSR. Oops. Or the Security Council, except that many of the nations that were on the Council then have rotated off.

The fashionable charge against the USA is "unilateralism", or going it alone. Since unilateral action requires the US to act alone, then the support of one country will suffice to end that spectre.
Seriously, the yackety-yack that demands the US build a "coalition", or "seek international support", or whatever internationalist spin is in Reuters today, is designed to do one thing, and one thing only. It is an attempt to get the US to voluntarily limit their own power, by assigning their self-defence to a woolly concept of "consensus building", backed by non-existent "international law". The real punch line is that the UN's biggest fear is that the US will pull out of peacekeeping efforts around the globe. They know that the whole house of cards will fall if that happens.

One of the interesting things this whole debate shows up is the casual racism in the Left protests. They know that the opinions of Sierra Leone matter not a jot in the real world, but in Consensus Land T, why is their opinion worth so much less than, say, Germany's?

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