by George Gregoriou
It was a real show at the UN. The stars were Annan, Bush Jr, Schroeder, and Chirac. Blair was not. Bush, Blair, and Schroeder are sinking at the polls. The speeches were for domestic consumption, to neutralize critics. The audience at the UN was icy.
The UN cannot be blamed. It cannot solve conflicts without the approval of the major powers. The veto power offers each of the five permanent members in the SC to do as they please. This veto was included when the UN was formed in the 1940s to protect the UN itself. If, for example, the SC voted to take action against a powerful member (the SU, China, or the US) which member(s) of the UN would dare implement such a decision? In a way, a no decision was better than a decision which could not be implemented.
That is why the problems in Palestine, Cyprus, or Iraq have been lingering for decades. These problems can be solved. The obstacles: the invading forces want is to legitimize the facts on the ground. The Israeli regime want to hold onto the Palestinian territories under occupation for the 230,000 Jewish settlers, and to create a greater Israel; Turkey and the Denktash dictatorship want to legitimize the occupation, that is, the Turkification of 37% of Cyprus, the legalization of 120,000 settlers from Anatolia, and the creation of two equal states joined into a loose confederation. In both cases, Washington gets its OK from Ankara and Jerusalem. And, the United States wants to legitimize the war and occupation of Iraq, even spread the financial costs and casualties to other UN members.
The problem is that the victims are not cooperating. The Palestinians resisted the occupation with stones, bullets, and now suicide bombers Israel has tremendous military and economic power (including $4 billion annual aid from the U.S.) to wage war, but cannot have peace. Peace is too costly, to Israeli national chauvinism and territorial aggrandizement.
Turkey is the regional bully. Its strategic position is such that Washington will always excuse, forget, and forgive Ankaras bullying of the neighbors, the genocidal war against the Kurds (now it is legal to use Kurdish names for children!), and the occupation of northern Cyprus. The Greek Cypriots have not been willing to capitulate to Turkish threats, for a two-state solution. Behind the Israeli-Turkish policies to plunder and carry out ethnic cleansing is Washington, offering economic and military aid and vetoes against any UN condemnation or censuring. It will use its veto to protect strange bedfellows.
The Talibans and Saddam Hussein were allies of convenience against the SU and Iran, respectively. The Talibans in Kabul went about their own fundamentalist ways, even refusing to allow an American pipeline through Afghanistan. So did Saddam Hussein. Not only he rejected an American pipeline through Iraq, he decided to settle Iraqs differences with Kuwait (oil drilling at the border and pricing oil to bankrupt the Iraqi economy after the Iraq-Iran war) through war. The 1991 war was followed by Washingtons economic embargo of Iraq for 12 years, including daily bombing of Iraqs military and economic infrastructures.
Did Bush address any of these issues at the UN? He repeated the lies, Saddam Husseins ties to terrorism (though he stated recently there were no ties to Al Quaida), the programs to develop weapons of mass destruction (which will be found, though nothing was found by David Kays team after 4 months of searching), Washington is winning the war (according to Washington insiders), the US is promoting freedom and self-government in Iraq (selected and approved by Washington), American unilateralism to strengthen the United Nations (quite a stretch!), peace in the world (US controls 45.5% of the world market on armaments), and freedom in the M.E. (through Israeli occupation and militarism). Lies told with a straight face, even a smile.
Small opportunistic states (and bigger) are rushing to help Washington, for money and to be on the side of the superpower. Turkey will get $7 billion? Are France and Germany capitulating to force majeure? Schroeder and Chirac will stand by their principles, but the former will train Iraqis, the latter will not use the veto power at the SC. Washington will persuade the other ten states to pass a Ofighleaf resolution giving legitimacy to its war. The Bushies are desperate for UN legitimacy. Will more international soldiers in Iraq lead to a bigger mayham? War is good business. Haliburton got $7 billion to put out oil fires in Iraq. No bids. Just 19 and 20 year old American kids and thousands of Iraqis dying.
Professor, Political Science Department
The william Paterson University
Wayne, New York 07470