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Bush the Unilateralist

by John Isaacs

In time for the Christmas holidays, President Bush has presented a lump of coal to the American people: the first withdrawal from a major arms control agreement since World War II.

President Bush is doing his best impression of Scrooge, telling the rest of the world ‘Bah humbug.

Today’s announcement follows a long list of unilateralist actions that will undercut international cooperation to cope with the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Indeed, President Bush and his fellow Republicans have taken a unilateralist stance on enough issues to fill out the 12 days of Christmas:

1. Announced withdrawal from the ABM Treaty;

2. Last week, single-handedly brought the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Review Conference to a halt;

3. Renounced international efforts to negotiate a verification protocol to the BWC;

4. Abandoned the Kyoto Global Warming Accord;

5. Refused to reconsider Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty;

6. Rejected the International Criminal Court;

7. Discarded the Convention on the Prohibition of Landmines;

8. Gutted the U.N. conference on Small Arms;

9. Dismissed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child;

10. Boycotted the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Review Conference in New York;

11. Supported a unilateral embargo on Cuba;

12. Plans to place weapons in space.

Unilateralism harms the U.S. standing and credibility in the world. When we need the rest of the world to cooperate in the war on terrorism, stem proliferation, enforce sanctions on law-breaking countries, prevent environmental degradation from spreading across borders, limit the flow of refugees across international borders, the rest of the world may tell the U.S. ‘Bah Humbug.

John Isaacs is president of the Council for a Livable World.

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