Letter to the Editor

In the OP/ED article, “U.N.-productive?” published March 31, Terry Burton questions the United Nation’s ability to govern effectively.

Mr. Burton also challenges France and its intractable stance on the United States’ decision for war, going as far as stating its political posture as an, “I can’t hear you” mentality.

The unambiguous truth is that France does hear us, in point of fact rather loudly and clearly. They, along with the vast majority of nation-states however, choose not to align themselves with the United States.

With less then a handful of nations supporting the United States in combat deployment (others opting instead to aid in reconstruction), the administration affirms that many do so quietly. This indicates an important quandary that must be recognized. Nations partaking in this silent support do so in fear of future political isolation from the United States, however opt to refrain visibly in concern of public reprisal at home. At this time across the world, to side with the United States has become politically hazardous. In elections over the past year in South Korea, Pakistan and Germany, anti-American sentiments were campaign platforms. We are the ones choosing to cover our ears, not France.

At large, to dismiss international concerns would be a horrific mistake to our foreign policy. The war on terrorism should be our No. 1 concern, not Iraq. If we continue to isolate ourselves while brushing aside other nations, a grave degradation needed within international support would occur. We will beat Iraq standing alone, however that clearly won’t be the case with the war on terrorism sans multilateral cooperation and shared intelligence.

Mr. Burton also questions the productiveness of the United Nations. He states that the U.N’s power in effect disappeared with its unwillingness to back its own resolutions. Although for 12 years Saddam Hussein has disobeyed the U.N., this act of defiance did not justify (legally, not morally) a pre-emptive, unilateral strike without U.N. support.

If we hold Hussein accountable to U.N. laws and regulations, should we ourselves not abide by the international governing body and rules we created? If the war on Iraq was one of necessity and self-defense, the variables concerning this war are obviously altered. However, it is clearly one of regime change, and thus, a war of choice. As U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan stated in a news conference at The Hague, “the war without U.N. authorization would be illegal.”

The. U.N. remains at the forefront on many issues, ranging in creating a permanent international criminal court, peace operations, protecting the environment, supporting human rights and positive governing among others.

The war on Iraq isn’t challenging the U.N.’s productivity in any manner. In reality it question’s the United States’ legitimacy. The United States months ago, clearly indicated that it would abide by the U.N. and international law, however as the governing body and international community began to question our motives, we no longer felt compelled to follow them.

Our hegemony clearly permeates through our actions – actions of dismissing the U. N. because it does not agree with our decisions. The U.N. was never in question, however our agenda was and will be.

Lu Duong
Political Science

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