OPINION

War in the West

The United States yesterday suffered a debacle in the UN Security Council. Washington failed, dismally, to even get a simple majority among the 15 members of the council so it did not even bring the resolution authorizing force up for discussion. It therefore decided to subvert the United Nations, dealing a severe blow to the image and the future viability of this international organization. The world is entering an extremely dangerous phase for international relations. International law is losing ground to the idea that a state can attack another one at its will. It is hard to imagine the horror of a world where states will feel free to follow the US example, attacking their militarily inferior neighbors to settle their differences or to merely get rid of their unwanted rulers. The political fracas between Europe’s leading powers and Washington over Iraq is undermining the cohesion of the West, which faces the risk of becoming the first victim of the pending war. It makes one wonder how the Bush administration has managed to spawn such a broad coalition against Washington, squandering the worldwide support engendered by the September 11 attacks. Who can forget Le Monde’s editorial after the terrorist blitz declaring, «We are all Americans»? «Three men meeting on an Atlantic island seems an apt symbol for the failure of the Bush administration to draw the world around its Iraq policy,» an editorial in the International Herald Tribune said yesterday under the characteristic title: «The summit of isolation.» The policy of the Bush administration is causing serious divisions even in the countries which have fallen in behind the US war plans. The resignation of the British government’s leader in the House of Commons and former foreign secretary, Robin Cook, a close friend of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the pressure on Spanish Prime Minister Jose-Maria Aznar and the looming crisis in Turkey all demonstrate the unpopularity of Washington’s policies. The UN, NATO and the EU are plunging into an ever deeper crisis, which threatens to open unbridgeable gaps and transform their character. A world of uncertainty and danger is emerging as a result of Washington’s insistence on conquering Iraq and its big oil resources, which will at the same time consolidate America’s global hegemony.