At The Crossroads
Demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of people are taking place across the globe, which cannot be ignored. Nor can the UN as the repository of mankind's trust be sidelined. It helps to strengthen public opinion in favor of peace to have countries like France and Germany differing with America on issues of war and peace. The new world order has to be built on the basis of these forces of sanity.
The world is at the crossroads. That it would be so, became inevitable after the end of the cold war. Then, one world order ended without ushering in another. The vacuum created was not an international order but the absence of one. Like any other void it had dark foreboding of disaster. If not chronic disorder, intermittent instability loomed large in the post cold war world. Terror attacks in America, followed by Afghan war and now the war clouds over Iraq have brought the possibility closer to reality.
In the war against terrorism America had the rest of the world, including the UN, behind her. America's shock, loss and anger were shared by almost every nation in the world. Her determination to stamp out terrorism, through overt and covert means, was bolstered by bilateral and multilateral support. In spite of Mr. George Bush Jr.'s crude utterances, America's war against terrorism became a global agenda. Moral and material support for the war came spontaneously and is still continuing. This unprecedented unity across the world received a jolt when the American President all on a sudden spoke of an "axis of evil", mentioning Iraq, Iran and North Korea. There was no link between these countries and the network of terrorists who had been identified as being culpable for September 11. The 'axis of evil speech' was a jarring note in an otherwise harmonious piece presented by the international ensemble.
The rest of the world was rudely awakened to the fact that in the post-cold war era, America was willing and ready to pursue its own geo-political interests, ignoring the sentiments and reactions of others. The world had already been intimidated by the "with us or against us" rhetoric. The 'axis of evil' speech served notice on countries to take sides. But the problem with the rest of the world, including UN, was that there did not seem to be two sides, no good or evil seen in stark contrast. None of the three countries were involved in the terrorist attack in America nor were any connection found between them and any of the known terrorist organizations. It was utterly baffling as to what America was driving at. Though Iraq had earlier committed aggression against Iran and Kuwait, it was no longer in an aggressive mood. Having been thoroughly defeated in the Gulf war and with oil revenue drastically dwindled under UN sanction, its war machine was hardly any threat. It had expelled the UN arms inspectors more in exasperation with the interminable process of inspection than with any intent to rearm.
No doubt, the repressive regime under Saddam continues, but that is a matter for its people to decide. Repressive regimes elsewhere in the past did not become the target of full-scale war with a view to terminating them. Why should Iraq be an exception?
In Iran a theocratic regime might have imposed certain codes of conduct on its people but it too, was an internal matter. Iran has had no record of destabilizing peace and order in the world. On the contrary, it was a victim of aggression when Iraq invaded, with the rest of the world preferring to remain as silent spectators. In that war America even abetted Iraq with intelligence reports and arms supply. Iran's development of a nuclear power plant is for peaceful purposes and its acquisition of missiles is for defense. A country that has suffered aggression without intervention by any of the big power on its behalf has every right to arm itself against future attacks.
As for North Korea, it has felt insecure ever since the Korean war when the Americans fought on South Korea's side and are still militarily present there. Its development of nuclear weapon should be seen in the backdrop of this standoff. It showed signs of normalization of relation when the nuclear program was put on hold after an agreement for aid was reached with America. It is only after America reneged on the agreement that North Korea has threatened to restart the nuclear program. From none of these three countries there was any immediate provocation made or tangible reason given to justify the epithet 'evil'. The speech was wanton, unexpected and provocative to the extreme.
Even when America tried to make a case against Iraq for its alleged development of weapons of mass destruction it did not wash with many countries, including its close allies in Europe. True, Iraq had thrown out the UN inspectors in 1998 but the intervening years did not see her rearming dangerously either through arms purchase or local development. In these days of satellite surveillance nothing of significant size moves without notice. If Iraq was engaged in nuclear weapons development, purchases of various equipment and raw materials would have left a trail. In the event, nothing was available to substantiate the American allegation. But this did not deter America from going ahead with war preparation unilaterally. The only ally who joined was the UK. For a while it looked as if the two would start war against Iraq 'unilaterally', without any UN resolution. But in the face of growing public opinion against war in their own countries and disagreement with allies, they balked.
Then, the UN was pressurized by America to pass a single resolution with built-in provision for military action. This, too, was thwarted, again by unwilling members of the security council. Iraq was given chance to re-open inspection and to declare about disarmament failing which, she was told, a second resolution would be passed for taking military action. This was not what America had wanted but it accepted it, perhaps, to save face. There is another explanation. It might have gone to the UN just for appearances sake and to take a chance if its wish would be fulfilled by the world body. Subsequent approval by the US Senate for war against Iraq, with or without UN resolution, revealed the true intent of America and its attitude to the UN. It has become clear now that in a unipolar world, America as the only superpower feels free to undertake war against any country under any pretext, as long as it promotes her interest. America's "Manifest Destiny" has now become a global writ, it would seem.
The world is now witnessing the curious spectacle of the heaviest arms build up in the Middle East since Second World War with the intent to attack Iraq, even when UN arms inspectors are carrying out their detailed inspection in every nook and corner of that country. They have been given a free run of the country, with no obstacles thrown in their way. Even the humiliation of allowing surprise inspection of presidential palaces has been swallowed by the Iraqis. To allay any suspicion of gagging people they have also agreed their scientists to be interviewed outside Iraq. One wonders what else a country can do to declare its innocence of the guilt as charged by America. Though the inspectors have found no 'smoking gun' Anglo-American forces have practically completed their positioning on land and sea and are having regular practice run for the Iraq war.
There can be two interpretations of this huge mobilization and aggressive posturing. The first is about a bluff. America, and its only ally UK, are merely trying to strike fear in the hearts and minds of Iraq's generals with the hope that they would topple Saddam to save their own skin. The same strategy may be directed at Saddam to precipitate a voluntary exile. So far the bluff has been called as neither Saddam nor his generals have blinked. The second interpretation of the arms build up and army mobilization is that the Americans really mean business and will wage war against Iraq with or without UN approval. In both the interpretations there is a very important common goal: regime change. Disarmament is a pretext, the real purpose is to oust Saddam and install a friendly regime to carry out the victor's bidding.
Regime change by force without UN resolution will strike a death blow to the international order that has prevailed after the Second World War. This 'order' was cold war's single most important positive contribution to world peace and stability. If America, and its only ally-at-arms England, destroy this order now, chaos and instability will follow in its wake. There will be no international law or regulation preventing war and maintaining peace. Only public opinion throughout the world including America and England, can stop the two countries bent on aggression in their tracks. And a rejuvenated UN, as the symbol of world opinion, can bring moderation to bear on impetuous acts of certain members. It is a happy augury that both of these forces are active and playing their part.
Demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of people are taking place across the globe, which cannot be ignored. Nor can the UN as the repository of mankind's trust be sidelined. It helps to strengthen public opinion in favor of peace to have countries like France and Germany differing with America on issues of war and peace. The new world order has to be built on the basis of these forces of sanity. A vigilant world citizenry, a confident UN and an assertive Europe represent the hope for the future. The world may be at the crossroads but it seems to know which road to take.
Hasnat Abdul Hye is a former secretary, novelist and economist of Bangladesh.
Topics: Conflicts And War, Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq, North Korea
I have a bias towards the space program because I grew up in Awe of it and have payed close attention to it my whole life.
You seem to have I bias against the space program because it is America, and probably more now because there was an Israeli aboard.
Let us stick to discussion on Islam since both of us are probably to stuburn to cave on this shall we?
Kindly refer to an article by Mr.Bruce Gagnon coordinator Global Network Against Weapon And Nuclear Power In Space pertaining the Columbia Accident and it's strongly refer to 'Project Prometheus' a.k.a nuclear-propelled rocket.
It's seems that,the reports had the basis of my claimed concerning the present and future NASA Space Programmes.
You have no arguement.
You obviosly have read nothing about what the shuttles do,
because if you had you would know that little is done to enhance destruction and much is done for the environment and people of earth.
You can't just complain about something because its "American" if the same thing had happened to Rassia I wager you wouldn't open your mouth, andthe Russians for the last 200 years til today have done more to repress Islam than America can make up for in a hundred Iraq wars.
All this years,with the US space programme's,I ain't see nothing positive discovery towards peace and to serve mankind.What's the point,if the advancement of that space programme's if by all means it's only enhance further destruction.
don't be a fool. I guess my wife's cousin's death , (a good Arab Muslim), in a car accident was also a sign of hells gaes opening up?
What part of the Quran or Hadeeth is that in?
People like you hold minor events and political opinions as if they came right out of the Quran.
Blame the United States and President George Bush Jr., himself due to his arrogance,with no foresight and cannot think properly President of all times in history of the United States.
From the states of origin of astronauts's in that Columbia,all of them were the slaves and mistress of the "Axis-of-Evil" whom strongly collaborating to denounce the capability of Islam.They and President Bush Jr., deserve the honour during the States funeral.
Remember,presently this are just the first major chapter of the United States catastrophe's.Eventually, with mother nature cause more are coming up,when the "Gate-of-Hell" is open up soon!
When President Bush Jr., gave a speech during the States Of Union Assembly.His speech full of nonsense than innocent accusation's towards President Saddam Hussien.
Unfortunately,United States does not learn bitter lesson from the past war.Example,Somalia War.Warlord Muhammad Farah Aidid had taught The United States that bitter and sour lesson's with returns of large numbers of "Body Bags" back to their homeland of stars and stripes.
More devastating bloodshed outcome for The United States and Britain for the upcoming Gulf War II.The American,British and Australians will expect and infact have already assuming awaiting with open arms of their loves one,in form of more "Body Bags" from the Gulf than Somalia.
Come on Saudi Arabia,Qatar,Turkey,Kuwait,Bahrain and UAE.Don't let your beloved contries become the launch-pad of an attack by the 'Axis-of-Evil' and Company against your brothers and sisters in Iraq.At the same time and on the other side of the picture,"Baby-Axis-of-Evil" the Israelis are slauhtering,barbecueing and cannibalising the Palestinians without mercy,say or word's from The Bush and Blair Administration.
You spineless warmongering cowards arent fooling anyone. Your intentions and false propoganda is useless now, the world has seen your true face.
Crown Prince Abdullah and all the other princes are the BIGGEST KAFIRS in the world today! The quran says if ur friends with the Kuffar, then u are one of them. I often see theses "princes" sitting around on the cushioned chairs, in the palaces, dressed like WOMEN!! These munafiqoon are more worried about their next visit to the beautician, then anything else. I wonder if any of the Royals have ever read the Quran, and if they understand what the punishment is for a person who kills or helps kill a Muslim?? (Both are treated as the same in the Quran)
I was listening to a Kuwaity prince on the news the other day....this is his quote "Americans are our saviours" and again "if it wasn't for the Americans we would not be here now" What kind of Mushrik says such things?? Obviously a Shaitaan with no belief in Allah, with no faith that everything is controlled by Allah, even his pathetic existence. When Allah chooses to take his soul then I will see how the Americans save him.
What I don't understand is what the Muslims in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf are doing. Why are these kind of leaders in place? Why has a war not been declared by the Muslims, in order to replace these leaders? What the hell are the Muslims afraid of? Is Allah not a sufficient helper??? Is he not able to give victory to whom he chooses regardless of the weapons ur enemy may have??? NO MUSLIMS NO LONGER THINK LIKE THIS, NO MUSLIMS THINK LIKE THIS....WOW THEY HAVE M2 ABRAHAM TANKS, CRUISE MISSILES, ARROW MISSILES, AIR CRAFT CARRIERS...... HOW CAN WE WIN???
I did a quick sum the other day, there are approximately 3.5m Jews in Israel. There are 290m Arabs, out of this say 200m are Muslims. So Muslims outnumber Jews by 57:1, but a pathetic little country like that has been flogging the Muslims for no less then 50 years!!
Iraq has not cooperated with inspectors. They have been given no access to Military Bases - which is probably where I would hide WMD. They have also refused the inspectors requests for interviewing the scientists. And to postulate that Saddam is resting comfortably after the 91 Gulf War and just wants to be left alone is ludicrous.
Mr. Hye has one objective here, strictly to throw stones at America.
has once again provided half truths. Hans Blix stated that Iraq is not cooperating enough. The US said he is lieing.
Second I didn't realize you were one of those people who actually believe Al Qaeda and Saddam can ever work together.
They hate each other and they try to kill each other, regularly, You forget there is a large kurdish opposition group that is anti Saddam and al-Qaeda.
Come on keep up.
Oh, Marcus. Saddam gives that money as a bribe to the Arab world.
I don't care what a suicide bomber does. I'll talk bad on IDF or Hamas any day. The only difference between a suicide bomber and a cruise missle is the conviction of the person pushing the button.
Don't think America isn't going after North Korea ot of fear, be assured they are coming up, the just decided to play a little chicken with president push before he was ready. Wait a little. Trust me North Korea has no legs against America
Our foreign policy is so anorexic it's sickening.
The second reason is his bloodthirsty actiojns against his own people. The Iraqi People do not deserve him, whatever form of Government they choose subsequently.
The difference between attacking Saddam Hussein's Iraq and attacking Hitler's Germany is that Hitler was a major threat to the world. Currently, Saddam is not. He was 10 years ago when he invaded Kuwait. The world all over, including middle eastern countries, didn't have a big problem with war.
Today, I think there are more intelligent means with dealing with problems with Iraq. I don't think we should dive into war just because of a president's hunch. But again, let's just wait and see what the UN inspector's have to show us.
Again, to summarize: Hitler Germany And Hussein Iraq 1992, solid proof they were a threat to world stability that needed drastic action. Hussein today, no such proof that requires the shedding of American, British, and Iraqi blood.
With 6 billion people on the earth, most living well below the US standard of living, the tails of the bell curve are engorged. It doesn't take much to get stupid religious fatalism in contact with belligerent intelligence. Look at DC, the headless leading the heartless treating the symptoms with the very thing that causes the disease.
Social unrest can shut down the pumping of whole countries (Venezuela), get the hopeless to drive their trucks into places of worship(Tunisia) and blow themselves up. What if Iraq fires upon the oil ports down the coast? Does the US have sufficient resources to protect them from even a bow and arrow with dynamite taped on? (OK so I watched "Dukes of Hazard" once. It's a good metaphor of the world today also.)
Will the "worlds police" administer the oil to all on the basis of need (need I remind you)? Will the European countries attack Britten over oil or imitate the US and takeover a Middle Eastern oil country. Will the oil countries be allowed the military to protect themselves? Or destroy their facilities to protect their citizens? Will their citizens? Will there be an embargo to stop the wheels of war?
The slightest hint of unrest sends the stock market tumbling and futures market soaring. Are you prepared for a depression coupled with inflation? We are at a crossroads, will the road taken lead to peace? My advice, plant a victory garden this summer. You may need it to feed your family. Peace be upon y'all.
When iraq invaded kuwait the whole world was united against Iraqi aggression. The Anti-war demonstrations around the globe are proof that
the world general public supports justice and peace regardless of the recepient. World power countries must set example in following UN and international laws.
Soviet Russia and the whole of the Eastern Block was then targeted and brought low by other means. Why should totalitarian Iraq be any different?