The full debate is here I thought this deserved front page... .
I have replied, but regrettably the format is not too good so, without any other reason, I repeat it here... I confess to changing formats to making it clearer (one of the drawbacks of Haloscan Lance, sorry...) and some judicious editing of my replies to the points made.
First, I dispute your suggestion that GWB has "global ambitions." His campaign platform in 2000 was that the U.S. should be less involved - not more - in the affairs of other nations.
Yes, and then there is the argument that “other nations involved themselves in the affairs of the US.
Well, that does not entirely wash with me. A bunch of armed religious thugs involved themselves in affairs of the US; the leaders of one nation were harbouring the leaders of those religious thugs; but then the US administration in its wisdom decided that the moment was opportune to take out another thorny problem in the Middle East region.
Irrespective of the “justification” that might be the current favourite, the truth is that that action against Iraq by the “coalition of the brave” had as much validity in international law as did Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.
As I said in my original comment, what was one of the very first actions taken by GWB as President; why did he take that action?
Ans – he withdrew, no sorry he impugned the US signature on the ICCJ documents. He said that it was to prevent any US serviceman from being charged with war crimes.
It just happens that any serviceman (or woman) taking part in an illegal war MAY be guilty of war crime…
Then, what is the US going to do next, after Bush is re-elected…invade Iran? That has already been signalled. North Korea? Well there is a problem there now that SOUTH Korea has admitted having intensive research into Pu extraction.
Also, I don't accept any criticism from Kofi Annan. He is the hypocritical leader of an insignificant, corrupt, and hypocritical organization. It was the UNSC's own resolution which gave any member nation the authority to use military force against Iraq, if Iraq did not comply with UN demands. For him to call the war "illegal" is beyond contemptible, particularly considering UN corruption in the Food for Oil scandal, and their apparent indifference to genocide and slavery in Sudan, not to mention the atrocities against the Iraqi Kurdish population that their own inspectors confirmed.
Well now, I have not yet seen any direct evidence that Kofi Annan has profitted personally from illegal activity within the UN.
I know that kicking the UN is a favourite US pasttime; has been for some while, and probably will be for as long as other nations try and pass resolutions criticising Israel for breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and the illegal occupation of “foreign territory”.
The only “corruption” that has been anywhere near “proved” is that Hussein and his henchmen were not only black marketing oil into Russia and other nations, but that they were sucking the Oil for Food tit dry as well.
Yes, I have seen the accusations against one of Annan’s family. To my knowledge, those are still only accusations. I am waiting for the various enquiries to be completed.
While on the subject, recall the reasons given to the international community for undertaking Iraq2. Not once did the subject of internal genocide, the Kurds, or any of those topics come up. Why?
Because the US knew and knows that would be pictured as interference in the affairs of a sovreign nation. The only justification that the international community might wear (and they did not) was the "direct threat posed by WMD" and that is where GWB hung his hat.
Added as an afterthought.... The other aspect to the "humanitarian justification" is the fact that many of the events used as examples took place some years prior to GWB trying to find reasons to get rid of Hussein.
As for Sudan, there is no difference between the US’s attempts to promote UNSC resolutions on Sudan on the one hand, and Jordan, Egypt, France, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran trying to have resolutions placed before UNSC regarding Israel.
I think you are being somewhat parochial in view of the fact that the UN has passed now several resolutions on Sudan, and that one of the major stumbling blocks is now the funding of a pan-African force. The only opposition to those resolutions came, I believe, from China.
Your criticism of the UN ignores one very important fact. Any Organisation is only as good as its members. Are you a golfer? Or a member of a club of any kind? If things go wrong, who is the first person everyone blames? Themselves? NEVER!!! It is always that poor B*******d at the top. Doing the job that no one else would want.
What should you do in order to be an effective member of the club? SUPPORT the club. MAKE SURE that the truth is told. BE CERTAIN that you comply with the club rules. PAY your dues. Think on't...
Now: you are absolutely correct that military power is only part of the U.S. influence over the rest of the world: there are economic and cultural aspects to it, too. I'm sure it would be bothersome to me, if I were a native New Zealander, just as it's bothersome to me as a Wisconsin native that East and West Coast culture has so much influence on the Midwest.But I think you would feel the same way that I do, if we were talking about letting Australia and Indonesia vote in New Zealand's elections. I wouldn't let that happen, any more than I would let my neighbor down the block tell me my kids have to be in bed at 8 instead of 9.
If you were regulating what time your neighbours’ kids were going to bed through the imposition of an illegal curfew and at the same time letting your kids operate the neighbourhood crime ring then there would be a parallel in your final point.
As it is, NZ is not illegally invading Australia or Indonesia. NZ is not allowing the Nauru government to murder the refugees that are being housed there for the Australian government.
The only economic aspects of US policy that I object to are, once again, the hypocritical and illegal. For example, banning NZ lamb imports “to protect US sheep farmers” on the grounds that the NZ product is heavily subsidised, Well, take the time, look it up. OECD publishes statistics on such matters. You will find that the NZ subsidy on ALL agricultural production amounts to some US2 million on border controls. Work out the percentage of USD60odd BILLION in total agricultural exports. Really significant, eh!! Same thing for the “chip” ban against Japan. Steel imports from Japan and Europe, cars from Japan, Korea and Europe… the list goes on. All of these found by WTO to be illegal.
Oh and remember too that the US was pivotal in promoting the formation of WTO, not an unwilling partner.
It will be interesting, real interesting, to see just how much the US does not get involved in the affairs of other nations during the next four years.
And yes, Kerry does come over as a total ponce. But that would not make me feel comfortable voting for Bush.