January 29, 2005

US Foreign Policy: Preventing Perpetual Peace

Hidden in the middle of David Brooks' latest banalism was this disturbing statement:

Their favorite kinds of institutions are the kinds they created in response to the tsunami disaster: the kind with no permanent offices and no permanent staff, the kind that is created to address a discrete problem and then disappear when the problem is over. The phrase for this is coalitions of the willing.

Organizations like the UN and World Court have been formed by nation-states in an attempt to manage international affairs peacefully, in an effort to stop conflict before it starts and provide a forum for fairly resolving all those issues which must be managed on a global scale. Hence, they have been regarded almost universally by theorists of international relations as the only route to a long-term peaceful and just global society. Ad hoc coalitions like the neocons praise can never function in the long term the way a body like the UN can; while they may be of some use in particular cases, rejecting universal organizations in favor of the ad hoc ones is a rejection of the universal humanitarianism Bush claimed to support in his state of the union address.

1 comment:

Drew said...

The most recent example of the Bush Adminsitration's wrong-headed attitude on issues such as these is, I think, the upcoming showdown in the UN Security Council over how to handle war crimes relating to the troubles in Darfur. It might make sense, to any reasonable person, to use the International Criminal Court to handle these issues. But the US is more interested in undermining the ICC than effectively handling the crisis. So the US is expected to push for exactly the sort of ad hoc solution that the ICC was intended to replace.