Usually I node history, and I node it objectively. This isn't history, it's pure conjecture, but I did consult numerous sources. Make what you like of the following, it's just a view that I think needs recording. For the history books.
It's hard to know what we should be more worried about at the moment: the fury about to be unleashed against the largely innocent population of Iraq, or the crisis in the United Nations Security Council. Depending on who you ask, one of two terrible things is going on in the Security Council at the moment. You ask a lot of people, they'll tell you the United States is blatantly ignoring the will of the World, and bullying and coercing what members it can into bending to its immovable will. Personally, I subscribe to a slightly different view.
The United Nations Security Council has been a talking shop for quite a while. I didn't realize this, and when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein sent a letter to the Security Council calling it a "kitchenhouse" (Lenin once called the League of Nations the same thing) I thought, "How wrong you are, Hussein! The will of the World is finally going to disarm you." How wrong I was. The United Nations has imploded, and if Hussein has achieved nothing else, he has destroyed Western unity. France have a lot to answer for in this regard, as well.
The idea that "no-one wants war, and the United States is pushing them into it" is incorrect. Most countries don't have moral agendas. We'll return to France in a minute, but let's look at the current rotating (non-permament) members of the Security Council, and how much moral legitimacy they have. Here you go: Angola, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Germany, Mexico, Pakistan, Spain and Syria. Doesn't anyone see this as a problem? Want me to explain?
A lot of these states are poor, they're nasty, they're unstable, they're whatever. So-called "failed nations" like Syria are especially poor, nasty, and unstable. But now, suddenly, this state, with its plethora of international terrorist links, is required to give legitimacy to a war against Iraq, its sister rogue state! Oh, what idealism, did we honestly believe this system could work? We have reduced the United States to travelling around the lands of tin-pot dictators, offering them rewards and incentives for backing military action to oust another tin-pot dictator. And all this after several resolutions have already been passed saying he should be removed if he is found to be in material breach of them, which he demonstrably has!
There is your "international law." It'd be easy to say the United States has debased this system by offering bribes and incentives - but that's not really the case. The rational self-interest of nations doomed it from the start. Its interesting to note how U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 was passed unaminously, with the phrase "all necessary means" (and we all know what that means), but for the next resolution there's a problem. What factor is different? The fucking French.
I support a nation's right to do as it wishes, in its own rational self-interest. This is just what Great Britain has chosen to do in supporting the United States - the Anglo-American alliance is crucially important for us, and pretty important for America. France, with a President who wields more personal authority than any French President since Charles de Gaulle, has apparently chosen a path that he believes is in his country's own self-interest, and it is one very hostile to America. Not just passively in opposition to America, actively hostile. Franco-American relations are ruined, and likely will be for a long time. I think I have an idea what Jacques Chirac's plan was, and I can see in what ways it has failed. He must really be kicking himself right now.
Chirac, it seems, wanted to set himself up as the "far more moral than thou" leader of resistance to American will, gathering his little flock of Eastern European states behind him and spearheading an assault also including the Russian Federation and China. What could be more telling than when he told the Eastern European nations that they should have "taken the opportunity to keep quiet" when they sent a letter to America in support of her? All nations are equal within our system of international law, except when Monsieur Chirac wills it so! Two other things have sealed their fate, and helped to hamper their credibility still further. One was saying they would never vote through a resolution authorizing the use of force. What idealism, what inflexibility, what stupidity. The joke's on them though, because they already did. Rejecting the new proposal from the Anglo-Spanish camp before Iraq had even rejected it didn't help their cause, either. And now they're flying around the World, trying to get tin-pot dictators to support them in opposing the overthrow of another tin-pot dictator. Their desperation is such that I've seen some journalists wondering if there are documents in Iraq that France don't want the rest of the World to see, and I'm starting to consider this myself.
It is not likely the United States will go through the United Nations next time. They're only still there now because Tony Blair needs them to be so very, very badly. Tony Blair could turn out to be a victim of this system, because of the one real power it still has: the power to appeal to the public. There is now quite a large camp, particularly in the British Labour Party, who say "Sure, we'll support a war on Iraq... so long as the United Nations does as well." I find this really hard to understand - can't they make their own decision, why do they need to absolve themselves of the responsibility of making a decision and pass it onto the U.N.? Especially when they've seen how quickly its mind can change! What legitimacy can possibly be sourced from the Council, given its members, and what they really base their decisions on?
I don't know what's next for the Security Council. My father keeps telling me its finished. I'm not so sure - I think it has the will to perpetuate itself. But the last real power it has, that power to give something legitmacy in the eyes of the public, could have its days numbered. In a year, when this is all over, if it's gone right for them, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair will be heroes. I realize that there are many of you who won't see them as this, but what matters is what the majority of the public think. When WMD are discovered in Iraq, the truth of his brutal regime reported for all to see clearly, I can't see the French being hailed as benevolant guardians of freedom and democracy. Hopefully their pretentions will vanish, although I sadly can't say I'm too hopeful on that point...