February 24th, 2003 • 11:56 pm
For anyone wondering if there are still any strong and reasonable voices within the US political system, the following two “Senate Remarks” by US Senator Robert C. Byrd are required reading:
I have learned from fifty years in Congress that it is unwise to insult one’s adversaries, for tomorrow you may be in need of an ally.
Beyond the issue of passivity and rhetoric, I feel that the main issue in this whole crisis is that the world is in dire need of a proper governing structure. If the UN can be bullied and manipulated with impunity, then clearly it is not an appropriate governing structure. Just like any single nation, no matter how great or greatly developed it is, needs multiple safeguards against excesses, recklessness, corruption, etc. — the world as a whole needs multiple safeguards. Its only real safeguards at the moment are the goodwill and powers of persuasion of individual leaders. This is clearly not enough.
It is hard to deny, at this point, that the current US administration is speaking and acting in an utterly “uncivilized” manner — one that is not worthy, at the very least, of a nation that has such a long history of fighting for freedom and individual rights.
There might be reasons in this world that justify things such as “preemptive wars” against rogue states. But surely this cannot be decided by a single nation, no matter how powerful it is, without the endorsement of the majority of the world’s democracies. This is something that needs real debate, real consideration by a variety of stakeholders. Where is the openness to debate in the current US administration? How can Colin Powell seriously think that he has provided irrefutable proof of a link between Al-Quaeda and Iraq? How can Tony Blair justify HAVING used a university student paper as “evidence” in his argumentation against Iraq?
Surely in a world governed by a system with proper safeguards, this type of irresponsible behavior would be kept in check. Right now, however, the US administration and Tony Blair can press on with impunity.
If our leaders want us ordinary folks to ever come to terms with the new reality of globalization, they need to SHOW us that it’s not just happening at an economic level, where it mostly benefits businesses at the expense of individual workers, regions, and states. They need to SHOW us that they are also working on establishing a proper structure for world governance at a political level. The UN might eventually evolve INTO such a thing, but it won’t be with the help of the current US administration or British government.
We badly need a world police, a world justice, a world republic. This world right now feels like a medieval society ruled by warlords.