Jewish World Review March 6, 2003 / 2 Adar II, 5763

David Warren

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Logic of war


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Notwithstanding numerous erroneous reports in the media, the United States, Britain, and Spain intend to press for a vote on the very brief Resolution they have put before the Security Council. The Resolution is a simple statement of fact -- an acknowledgement that almost 12 years after the first U.N. demands were made of post-Gulf War Iraq, and more than four months after the Security Council's unanimous passage of its latest, "1441", the Saddam regime remains in breach of all 17 U.N. resolutions against it.

The French and Russian governments suggested in Paris yesterday that they would vote against, and thus doubly veto, this statement of fact. Germany, a temporary Council member by rotation, was along for the ride, committed as it now is by the Schroeder government to the new Berlin-Moscow-Paris axis.

Since the vote will be called, in fulfilment of a U.S. commitment, much greater pressure is now placed on the U.S. to win at least the line-vote in the Security Council, by persuading such unattached governments as those of Chile, Mexico, Angola, Cameroon, Guinea, Pakistan. And that is where Jean Chretien's essay in "third way" diplomacy -- with which he persisted after U.S. rejection -- suddenly rises to an unexpected significance. It subverts the U.S. pitch for support, by giving the illusion that a non-aligned position is tenable. Once again our prime minister has shown that he is willing to risk U.S.-Canadian relations for the sake of a cheap political stunt.

Compounding this, it becomes increasingly evident from Mr. Chretien's statements -- such as the surprise he expressed in Mexico upon discovering that the U.S. wants to change the regime in Iraq -- that he is very poorly briefed by Canada's embarrassingly inept Foreign Affairs Department.

Add to this rhetorical flourishes such as Carolyn Parrish's description of the Americans as "bastards". Both the remark and the fact she was only mildly reprimanded was widely reported in the U.S. Moreover, it is becoming clear that such childish anti-Americanism is not confined to the CBC and the NDP, but is now common among a wide cross-section of people in the Liberal government and in our foreign service. It is what they have in common with "Old Europe" --the malice that emerges from an empty snobbery. There is a dangerous shortage of adults in there, at a crucial time.

And at large -- much of the world has badly miscalculated the American mood since Sept. 11th, 2001. That mood is premised on the discovery that the U.S. itself, and ultimately all free nations, are in mortal peril from large-scale terrorism, and the proliferation of genocidal weapons and delivery systems among mad regimes. Through direct experience, the U.S. has consciously discarded the old and failed methods of deterrence and containment -- policies that cannot possibly preserve security in the circumstances that have now emerged. Much of the world does not get this yet, and is inclined to reverse cause and effect, blaming the victim for desiring to defend himself, in a repetition of the 1930s dream of "peace in our time".

The latest red herring is the hesitant and desultory destruction under U.N. supervision of the first couple dozen of about 120 "legal" short-range missiles that the Saddam regime openly declared -- not realizing that thorough inspection would reveal them to be illegal medium-range missiles. The very fact the regime was willing to declare them negates the preposterous claim that their destruction is a significant concession. The Iraqis meanwhile continue to stall on destroying more than five of 380 more significant, illegal rocket engines that the U.N. has identified. As usual the media, and Franco-German diplomacy, are helping Saddam focus the world audience on the wrong shell.

Assisted by his poetical foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, France's President Jacques Chirac has identified a "logic of peace" in opposition to the U.S. "logic of war". This "logic of peace" requires the French and their supporters (with Canada trying to occupy the non-existent middle ground) to embrace the premise of a bald lie -- the "success" of inspections -- in the specific hope of preserving one of the most hideous dictators on the face of the earth from the action that would remove him.

There are not two "logics" -- I advise my reader to be always alert to such verbal fraud. This one begins with the notion that there can be "peace" when one is living under a violent threat. It is a false logic that was spawned, unfortunately, by the experience of the Cold War, when we all lived under a threat that never materialized; because our Soviet enemy was sane, and finally agreed to collapse without a nuclear war. But we are now dealing with enemies whose sanity cannot be presumed upon.

There is one reality, not two; both sides cannot be right. "Old Europe" is working on the logic of an alternative universe, where "9/11" did not happen, and the proliferation of genocidal weaponry among the West's most lethal and reckless enemies is not happening. They posit an international order that has ceased to exist -- one in which they imagine it is safe to break the solidarity of the civilized nations.

And the troika -- France, Germany, Russia -- are further sustained by the knowledge that the Bush administration is not equally petty. Mr. Bush has repeatedly sent messengers from his National Security Council to Congress, the Pentagon, and elsewhere, begging very angry legislators and administrators not to respond -- to the French especially -- in kind.

But in their public declaration at Paris yesterday, the troika's foreign ministers stood in open and definitive opposition to the U.S. defence of its vital interests. They announced, in effect, that they would cross a red line. (They will actually do so when and if they veto the U.S.-British-Spanish Resolution.) This puts the Bush administration, which must look out for those American interests, in a difficult position. It cannot allow, or be seen to allow, its supposed allies to indulge anti-Americanism, gratis. The troika are in effect triggering a series of reprisals and counter-reprisals that will heavily cost both sides -- throwing into jeopardy not only the U.N. and NATO, but also the world trading order.

And there is worse to come. The same bitter logic that has made a U.S. attack on Saddam's regime inevitable, continues to apply to North Korea, Iran, and other murderous rogue states.

For the first time, yesterday, President Bush mentioned the "military option" aloud, for North Korea, while the Pentagon placed squadrons of B-1 and B-52 bombers within range of Korea on Guam, ignoring South Korean alarm. They are aware that the North Korean regime is exploiting the Iraq crisis to make its break for the mass production of nuclear weapons -- that it may use the distraction of that war to fully activate plutonium production at Yongbyon. While the Bush administration continues to publicly credit diplomatic alternatives, the singular logic of self-preservation suggests a U.S. pre-emptive strike.

Much of the world thinks the U.S. can be persuaded, through diplomatic pressure, to live with a North Korean regime armed with nuclear weapons, and with long-range missile delivery systems including an untested three-stage rocket that could reach California, and which will continue to ship the most lethal weaponry it has to the highest anti-American bidders. They think that, beyond North Korea, the U.S. can be persuaded to live with a similarly armed Iran, under the tutelage of fanatic mullahs. They think that a people who suffered the surprise attacks on New York and Washington will succumb to organized diplomatic posturing, or can be tied down with thousands of tiny threads.

In the end, we'll all pay for their catastrophic mistake.

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JWR contributor David Warren is a Columnist for the Ottawa Citizen. Comment by clicking here.

02/10/02: Play up, play up
01/30/02: No ambiguity
12/05/02: A farce
11/13/02: A game of chess
10/30/02: Material breach
10/21/02: Armed & dangerous
09/11/02: The enemy within
08/21/02: Bush v. world
08/06/02: Has Sharon gone 'wobbly'?
07/24/02: Evil Sharon
06/19/02: The end is nigh
06/17/02: Those darn American imperialists!

© 2002, Ottawa Citizen