George W (Let's Roll) Bush gave his long awaited September-12 speech to the
United Nations, and it was pretty much as expected. He asked sweetly for the UN's
cooperation in action against Iraq, and let them know that he would just ignore
no for an answer - and soon.
Some of the UN delegates may realize that it is not actually Iraq on trial
here - it's the United Nations itself. The delegates in the UN have to
continually balance the trade-off between the credibility of the UN, and the
the petty causes of the dictatorial tyrants who they represent. It is normally
far better for them to criticize the democracies of the world for not giving
them enough money rather than draw attention to the failings of their fellow
dictatorships. But they have enjoying a little too much sugar, and not
prescribing themselves enough medicine. And the cost has been UN credibility.
While the UN constantly asserts their monopoly on international law, they have
failed to realize that rules are pointless without enforcement. By taking no
action against Iraq for ignoring UN demands for inspection compliance, they
have set a precedent for action against the US doing likewise. What action can
they take against the US for going into Iraq without UN permission? None. Apart
from further demonstrating their impotence.
The UN is actually in serious trouble. They are likely to be sidestepped
completely on this issue, and with other treaties (such as the 1951 refugee
treaty and the ICC) in danger of collapse, they may never recover. They may go
the same way as the ill-fated League of Nations.
Perhaps if the UN had spend a little less time criticizing Australia for her
treatment of Baktiari-class asylum seekers, and a little time focused on Iraq
they wouldn't be in this quandary now.
Which way will they jump? Well, that's a bit like asking how to save a
drowning lawyer: who cares? It's not going to affect the actions of the US.
But either way, the UN will get a bitter dose of reality.