PINR: "The defining of international order"
Printed on Monday, March 17, 2003 @ 01:14:25 EST ( )
Power and Interest News Report (PINR)
(PINR) -- In the next few weeks, the future of international order will be determined. If the Bush administration chooses to invade Iraq after failing
to secure United Nations approval, a precedent will be established encouraging states to pursue unilateralist rather than multilateralist policies.
The failure of the U.N. to restrain the United States may spark a new wave of nationalism, where states no longer feel secure under the symbolic
umbrella of international treaties and agreements. This will weaken global cooperation and increase the possibility for conflicts around the world.
The United States, formerly a public proponent of U.N. cooperation and multilateral arrangements, has shifted its national policy toward unilateralist
action where the perceived interests of the U.S. are held sacred above all else. Withdrawing from the 1972 anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, rejecting
the protocol to the bioweapons treaty, refusing to participate in the International Criminal Court, abandoning the Kyoto protocol and threatening
preemptive warfare are all products of U.S. nationalism and unilateralism introduced by the current administration.
The upcoming decision about whether to invade Iraq will be paramount to the future of international order. If the United States invades Iraq without
securing a Security Council resolution specifically approving an invasion, it will be following a nationalist, unilateralist policy rather than an
internationalist, multilateral policy. Once the United States abandons multilateralism, other states will react in kind in order to secure their
interests that are no longer protected by international agreements and alliances.
North Korea's bellicose foreign policy reflects this change. Pyongyang no longer feels secure by international assurances and is now attempting to
strengthen its military by producing a large nuclear arsenal capable of deterring the United States from possible aggression. Iran has also reacted to
the U.S. threat to operate outside of international restraint institutions like the United Nations. Tehran expressed its desire to control every
aspect of its nuclear energy program, including the reprocessing of its spent fuel -- a procedure that can be used to develop nuclear weapons. If
other powerful states also abandon multilateralism, global alliances will be replaced by smaller alliances, following the pattern set by the Bush
administration's "coalition of the willing."
Larger powers such as France, Germany, Russia and China are against a U.S. invasion of Iraq because they do not want to abandon multilateralism. The
reason that powerful states do not want to abandon multilateralism is because the United States stands unprecedented in its level of economic and
military supremacy. Other states will have a hard time securing national interests in a world that is dominated by a colossal power that has abandoned
However, if the United States actually does abandon multilateralism, by invading Iraq without U.N. approval, powers such as France, Germany, Russia
and China may also abandon multilateralism in order to secure their interests against a power unrestrained by international agreements.
This danger is already becoming evident in the European Union. The initial plan for European integration was to bond all of Europe together. However,
in order to weaken the unity of the European Union's resistance to U.S. plans in Iraq, the Bush administration divided the continent by splitting it
into "Old Europe" and "New Europe." By rallying prospective E.U. member states behind American policy, the U.S. undercut E.U. unity, causing these
future E.U. states to side with Washington rather than the rest of the Union. This undermined the current member states and caused E.U. policymakers
to reassess the idea of further European integration; afraid to lose control over E.U. policy to U.S. interests that are no longer synonymous with
their own, a reawakened French nationalism is now attempting to preserve their control over the body.
Therefore, the current debate over Iraq is merely a power struggle set on the world stage. Multilateralists such as Colin Powell would rather have the
U.S. secure U.N. support, or an otherwise broad coalition before invading Iraq. Powell's purpose for this is that he does not want the U.S. to
blatantly abandon multilateralism because it may hurt U.S. interests in the long term. The so-called "hawks" of the administration associated with
the Pentagon are indifferent to the U.S.' failing to secure international support. These nationalists would like to see a U.S. unrestrained by
international agreements, solely pursuing its own short-term interests even at the expense of other powerful states. As of now, the "hawks" are in
control, expressed through U.S. willingness to attack Iraq with or without U.N. support.
If the U.S. continues to express its nationalism and invades Iraq without U.N. approval, nationalist sentiment could quickly spread throughout the
world. If this occurs, it will increase the chance of future conflict as international institutions will be weakened and there will be a higher
potency for the collision of nationalist interests between states.
Erich Marquardt drafted this report.
The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is an analysis-based publication that seeks to, as objectively as possible, provide insight into various
conflicts, regions and points of interest around the globe. PINR approaches a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral
judgments to the reader. PINR seeks to inform rather than persuade. This report may be reproduced, reprinted or broadcast provided that any such
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[Edited on 19-3-2003 by truthdrug]