He said it and we must obey! “We (America) want the United Nations to be effective and respected and successful. We want (the) its resolutions to be enforced.” This is the third of Dubya’s new foreign policy doctrines, each a furtherance of his unilateral approach to world domination.
Following September 11, the fledging President, whose foreign policy initiatives up to that date had been marked by retreat from international and global agreements in favor of isolationism, announced a declaration of war against the forces of evil that reside in the world. This Manichean perception of the world fit logically into his Puritan fundamentalist view that America represents the forces of good fighting against the forces of evil, the same America that had been directed to this new land by the Almighty and blessed with truth and righteousness. “You are with us or against us,” he declared on September 20th. The authorities in power in 1636, the Puritan Divines, determined who was good and who was evil because they believed they were God’s anointed. They determined that the Natives were “salvages” working for Satan and that gave them the right to exterminate the Pequot tribe in 1637, and they praised God for permitting it and for making the slaughter so thorough! So today we have a President who believes that he is born-again in Christ and can interpret His word as to who is good and who is evil.
Unfortunately, since terrorists cannot be defined as rulers of nation states as defined by the United States, he provided to the world’s leaders an avenue of justification for their acts of occupation and slaughter of those opposed to their regimes or their desires. We have witnessed this in Russia’s justification of the slaughter of the Chechnyans, Melosovic’s defense that he was only subduing “terrorists” in his ethnic cleansing of the Muslims in Bosnia, Pakistan’s and India’s justification of their respective attacks against each other in Kashmir, and in Israel’s defense of its occupation of Arab territory. The first Bush doctrine has opened the door for anarchy throughout the world as leader after leader justifies his actions against his enemies as a “war against terrorists.”
But our President didn’t stop there. He annunciated his second doctrine at the West Point military academy: the right of America to determine and execute “pre-emptive attacks” against perceived enemies. This doctrine effectively undermines international law and makes “irrelevant,” to use a Sharon operative word, the United Nations. But it is worse than that. It also undermines the basic premises that have determined how the United States declares war: a determination that the United States has been attacked before it attacks. It also shifts responsibility for determination of such action from the Congress to the Executive branch if the reality of “pre-emptive” strike is to be effective. The second Bush doctrine augments the first by giving those in power another “right” to act without evidence of perceived intention or determination of “evil” by presentation of evidence before a court or a congressional or representational body.
Now we have Dubya’s third doctrine: resolutions of the United Nations must be enforced; at least that is how Dubya defended his desire to bring about “regime change” in Iraq when he addressed the UN on the 12th. On the surface this would seem to be a desirable goal for international order. Unfortunately, neither Bush nor his administration mean what they say. If they did, they would apply the same doctrine to Israel. Consider the discrepancies: Iraq has broken UN resolutions since 1991 according to the President; Israel has broken UN resolutions since 1948. Bush claims that Saddam has defied the UN and thus ” is a threat to UN authority and to peace.” He asks this question as he presents his arguments before the UN delegates: “Are UN resolutions to be honored and enforced or cast aside without consequence?” Will the UN become irrelevant if its resolutions are not obeyed? The answer applies, of course, only to Iraq. It is the only argument he could make at the UN.
He could not claim that the United States has authority to “go it alone” against his perceived “evildoer.” He could not use the fabrication that Iraq, with only a third of its military in tact following the other Iraqi war and hobbled with a population that has suffered ten years of deprivation caused by the US imposed sanctions, could pose a threat to the US unless they were to hand-deliver a weapon across 7,000 miles. So he resorts to this doctrine trusting, I suspect, that no one would notice that Israel has defied over 55 UN resolutions since 1967 and others prior to that reaching back to 1948. These resolutions condemn Israeli intransigence against implementation of fundamental human rights and illegal occupation of Arab territory.
Consider the wording of these resolutions and contrast them with the resolutions condemning Iraq. Resolution 194 (III), dating from 12/11/48, demands that Israel give refugees the right to return. That right has never been granted. Resolutions 237, dated 6/14/67, and resolutions 2252, 2341B, Human Rights Resolution 6, and 1336 continue a string of UN resolutions against Israel demanding “Right of Return” calling “upon the government of Israel to facilitate return of those inhabitants who have fled the area of military operations since the outbreak of hostilities.” They further “Expressed its (the UN) grave concern at the violation of human rights in Arab territories occupied by Israel.” These resolutions “Called upon the Government of Israel to desist forthwith from acts of destroying homes of the Arab civilian population inhabiting areas occupied by Israel and to respect and implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Convention of August 12, 1949 in occupied territories.” Israel has defied the UN on each and every one of these resolutions.
But it gets worse. The UN Security Council passed resolutions 242, 338, 262, 267, 446, and 465 each stating substantially the same thing, Israel must vacate all their illegal settlements and provide “land for peace” for the Palestinians. Israel has defied every one of these resolutions. In wording resolution 56/59, dated December 10, 2001, the UN deplored “those policies and practices of Israel which violate Human Rights” Yet Bush has said nothing about Israel’s disobedience nor has he asserted that its defiance is a threat to the UN authority or to peace. What hypocrisy.
Bush condemned Iraq for defying the UN by not acquiescing to resolution 688 of 1991 concerning repression of minorities and the use of torture. Similar condemnations of Israel have been made by human rights organizations and accepted by the UN as fact in its resolutions. Why condemn one and not the other? Bush condemned Iraq for not returning 600 prisoners of war as demanded by UN resolutions 686 and 687, but he said nothing of the many UN resolutions demanding that Israel permit Palestinians who number in the million to return to their homeland. Why? The answer is clear enough: Bush supports Israel and condemns Iraq. He determines who is good and who is evil. How else can he implement his first two doctrines?
Bush doctrines as noted provide a blueprint for US domination of the world agenda regardless of the UN. If the US demands it, it must be done. It is not a question of equality of treatment; it’s a question of who is with us (US) and who is not. It is a question of who determines who is good and who is evil!
William Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. He can be reached at: cookb@ULV.EDU