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Alternative to War

by JEREMY BRECHER

Might does not make right. Neither does it provide wisdom, beauty, friendship, or security. By brandishing its might without wisdom, the Bush Administration has created an ugly America that is turning America’s friends against us and undermining the true basis of our security.

In a few short months, the Bush Administration has managed to do what the Soviet Union failed to do over generations: isolate the US from its allies, drive a wedge into the heart of NATO, turn America into a pariah for the world’s people, and put hostile countries like North Korea on the road to acquiring nuclear weapons.

If the Bush Administration pushes forward with its attack on Iraq, it will only further isolate America and further unify the forces that now oppose it.

While some governments, notably in Southern and Eastern Europe, are making a show of their support for the US, polls show that their people oppose a US attack on Iraq just as strongly as the rest of the world. In Britain, Italy, and Spain, for example, 70-80 percent of the population oppose a war on Iraq without UN approval.

In a recent poll, more Britons said the US was the biggest threat to world peace that said Iraq was. If Tony Blair tries to go to war without the endorsement of the Security Council, his days are numbered. Bush’s last major ally will be plunged into a political or even a constitutional crisis.

Global isolation is the inevitable consequence of the Bush Administration’s pursuit of global domination. The Administration seems to believe that military might should make it ok for the US it do anything it wants, including forcing the world’s other powers to accept its commands. That “arrogance of power” has now met a predictable rejection–a global “not ok.”

The Bush administration’s basic premise is fatally flawed. Four percent of the world’s people, no matter how heavily armed, cannot rule the other 96 percent. Trying to do so is a formula for unending conflict and ricocheting calamity.

Fortunately, the American people understand this. That is why, despite the Administration’s often-deceptive PR campaign for war, they have insisted that the US deal with Iraq through the UN, not through unilateral war.

If the Bush Administration gets America into war–and open-ended occupation of Iraq–without support of most major allies or the UN, the American people will wreak vengeance–not on Iraq, but on those who have so wantonly damaged the true basis of our security and well-being.

But why wait till catastrophe strikes? This is a calamity waiting to be averted.

France, Germany, Russia, and China are trying to help pull us back from the brink. They have joined together to present an alternative to war based on expanded inspections. The American people should be grateful for their efforts. And we should demand that our own government join them.

The rest of the world is not seeking to destroy the American people, but rather to partner with us in addressing the real problems that threaten us all, from terrorism to global warming, and from weapons of mass destruction to AIDS.

For a short time, we Americans still have a choice. We can let the Bush Administration drag us into a catastrophic war followed by a still more catastrophic occupation. Or we can exercise our democratic right to protest so powerfully and in such numbers that the Bush Administration realizes that letting peace break out is the prerequisite for its own survival.

JEREMY BRECHER is a historian and the author of twelve books including STRIKE! and GLOBALIZATION FROM BELOW. He can be reached at: jbrecher@igc.org.

 

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Jeremy Brecher is an historian and co-founder of the Labor Network for Sustainability. A new, post-Paris edition of his Climate Insurgency: A Strategy for Survival was published by Routledge.

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