Tuesday, November 11, 2003
I’ll offer a fifth position: Internationalists who believe the “international community” through its bodies (like UN) should have a tough enforcement mechanism for rogue states. I’ll apply this to the Iraq war later, but other examples would include arguing for ratification of the International Criminal Court and keeping standing peacekeeping forces if they are needed.
These internationalists (or neo-liberals) would give two occasions where pre-emptive war is justified. The first case is simple. A war is justified if there is an imminent threat of danger to America although I don’t know of anyone in the neo-liberal camp that believed this to be the case in Iraq. The second case is harder to understand because it means certain levels of agreement between nations (very subjective). This case where pre-emptive war is justified is if there is international backing (UN sanction) for the war. In cases where a county has misused WMD in the past, harbored terrorists or there is a possible threat of doing so in the future, the international community can chose to remove rouge actors on the international stage. Most internationalists see this as a justified response to the post 9-11 world in order to rein in threats to the world order.
What they heard being argued in pre-September by the administration’s neo-conservatives was that America needed no international authorization to go to war against Iraq. Most internationalist Senators threw a revolt in August and demanded the first resolution be withdraw and narrowed. Interestingly enough, the second resolution only empowered Bush to enforce all “relevant'' Security Council resolutions related to Iraq. Hence the internationalists felt they had “won.” The President and Secretary of State in the weeks leading to the September resolution, backtracked from the neo-conservative arguments with language indicating, “war is a last resort,” “we’ll build an international coalition” and an offer to get a second resolution. In the weeks leading to the Resolution, it looked like Colin Powell and the grown-ups were back in charge and pushing the neo-conservatives off the stage. Powell argued passionately with the Senators that he needed a Resolution to get the inspectors back into Iraq.
Knowing the WMD had been found in Iraq by UN inspectors in the late 90’s, most internationalists, voted for the resolution to either get the inspectors back into Iraq or build a UN coalition to remove him if he did not let the inspectors into the country. If they did not vote for the Resolution, Bush would not have had leverage to get the inspectors back into the country. This would have allowed the neo-conservatives back into the forefront arguing imminent threat. The Internationalist would have none of this especially now it looked like the President was relying on Powell for advice.
Most voted for the resolution to get the inspectors back into Iraq. Simply said, no resolution, no inspectors! I don’t think the Internationalists had any had an idea how quickly and with such bloodlust this administration would turn. Even with the inspectors back in, this administration rushed to war. Most internationalist who believe once the inspectors were back in had believe the US would opt for containment felt betrayed by the rush to war.
My thoughts are about the resolution are that people superimposing the dread we felt in January with Bush’s march to war, with the nuances of the September resolution.