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October 21, 2003
Brian Mulroney: Replace the UN

Brian Mulroney, Canada's Prime Minister from 1984 to 1993, writes in support of US action in Iraq and the need to reform the UN:

Although the reality of pre-emptive action is new, so was the terrorist strike on America. What is also new is the suggestion that Security Council approval is--and has been--a sacrosanct precondition to action against a hostile state. The historical record is to the contrary. In any event, I would never have agreed to subcontract Canada's international security decisions and our national interest to 15 members of the Security Council. This would be a surrender of national sovereignty to which I'd never consent.

Mulroney strikes at the heart of the anti-war argument of requiring the UN to agree to action: it is tantamount to surrendering our sovereignty and foreign policy to Britain, France, China, and Russia. Agreement at the UN Security Council would have been wonderful, but there are too many countries with too much interest in our failure to make that a possibility. Mulroney continues:

In fact, a coalition of nations--including France, Germany and Canada--mounted a massive air war against Serbia a few years ago without Security Council authorization, under President Clinton's leadership. There was no "imminence" of attack on any allied nation, nor did Serbia represent a threat to anyone outside her own borders. Why the reversal of policy when Iraq was involved, with the same nations piously insisting that Security Council approval had to be obtained before any military action could be initiated--and that the absence of any such approval had rendered illegitimate any military action against Saddam Hussein?

The answer is that the American President is a blunt oilman and cowboy from Texas instead of a glib lifelong politician from Arkansas. That's it. Oh, yeah, he's Republican, too.

Fifty-eight years ago, in San Francisco, statesmen gathered from around the world, facing decisions every bit as momentous as those we face today. Yet now, the U.N. is like a sheriff without a police force, unable to respond effectively to global conflict, even genocide ... In my judgment, the U.S. should instigate and lead a "San Francisco II," a major reform effort to establish new multilateral approaches that respect the principles of the U.N. Charter.

It's hard to argue with Mulroney about this. When an organization puts Libya in charge of its Human Rights committee and Syria in charge of its counterterrorism committee, it has gone beyond satire into the realm of unreality. It's time to refocus our diplomacy on building multilateral relationships instead of funneling everything through the increasingly inert UN. We should continue to participate in the UN and push for reform, but we should no longer count on it as a reliable means for our security.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 21, 2003 5:39 AM

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