(FinalCall.com)–Even before 9/11, the anti-UN forces in Congress were threatening the world body because they felt the UN exerted too much control over U.S polices in world affairs. Going by the rules became too restrictive, they felt, so they withheld and/or delayed paying their dues and used other methods of intimidation.
In that climate, the UN walked softly where the U.S. was concerned. In the post-9/11 world, the UN has suffered an even heavier blow to its legitimacy and relevance in the face of the U.S. pre-emptive strike on Iraq. Nevertheless, it begs to be asked by any objective observer, why has the UN been so silent about the war?
It’s evident that the Security Council opposed the invasion, including some of its permanent members; they supported allowing the weapons inspectors more time. They wanted to avoid the unnecessary loss of life–both U.S. and Iraqi. But despite all the ballyhoo against the U.S. desire, not one Security Council member has proposed a resolution denouncing the pre-emptive strike, nor has the UN raised its voice in any audible denunciation of what is going on in Iraq.
Why? The excuse can’t be that the United States would veto any such resolution. If that is the case, why have numerous resolutions been proposed that were viewed as critical of Israel and were vetoed by the United States? Security Council members knew those resolutions wouldn’t fly even before they proposed them, but they proposed them anyway.
Bringing a resolution that put the U.S. invasion in its proper context according to UN rules and regulations would have provided the world body an opportunity to debate the issue of nations that launch a pre-emptive strike against another nation, and the issue of how nations will move forward in a world where the only superpower decides unilaterally how it will address conflict.
One Egyptian newspaper asked in an editorial, has the United Nations been reduced to a “New York-style soup kitchen?” The Bush administration–despite objections of his main supporter, Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair–wants to confine the international community to handing out food and other humanitarian items in Iraq, while the U.S. forms an interim and future government.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has been criticized for abiding by U.S. instructions to pull UN workers out of Iraq. That cleared the way, his critics say, for the invasion.
Now the secretary-general says the UN must play a role because it will “bring legitimacy” for the government that replaces Saddam Hussein. He wants to “bring legitimacy” to an action that the UN never had the courage to bring to the floor and brand as “illegitimate.” What the world body ultimately will be doing, if allowed to play a major role in post-war Iraq, is putting its stamp of approval on a U.S.-installed government that will allow free reign of U.S. corporations to the oil wealth of that nation.
The proof will be in what the United States does if the next government acted on its own and did something that curtailed U.S. access and influence over the riches of the country.
“Iraqis have to be responsible for their political future and to control their own natural resources,” Mr. Annan has said. Even the Bush team says Iraqis will rule themselves, but history shows that such a statement rings true only as long as Iraq abides by U.S. rules.
Only time and circumstances will tell how much independence the new regime will have in Iraq. But one thing we do know: The United Nations had the chance and the responsibility to raise the question of the legality and legitimacy of the U.S. invasion into Iraq. But it did not.
Such a discussion will have to be held at a later date when the United States or another country decides to launch a pre-emptive strike against another nation for “regime change” or some other reason.
Meanwhile, the UN can pass the soup.