January 17, 2004

Straw House

from - smijer

I encourage you to go and read this blog entry, that I came upon while reading NGD. I suggest you read the entry in its entirety, and the other readers' comments. I suggest that each time you encounter the moral argument for war to remove an abusive dictator, you remind yoursef that there was never any diplomatic pressure on Saddam Hussein to reign in the cruelty of his security forces, and that the major atrocities of the Hussein regime happened during times of war long past. I suggest that each time you encounter the argument that war was done in order to remove a future threat of WMD, you remind yourself that Hussein had submitted to a very intrusive inspections regime after only the mere threat of force, and that the best evidence ever presented never suggested he was even close to being able to threaten America or his neighbors with any kind of non-conventional weapon.

I suggest that, if you do so, you will find you begin to recognize just how weak this "shifting justification" for war is. On the other hand, each of the arguments - taken out of the context of our most recent overseas expedition - seems to be a sensible one. And so, instead of further criticizing the procrustean bed these arguments must be made to fit in order to find some post hoc justification for the Bush war, I will present an outlined plan for a more coherent and successful approach to securing the desirable ends of human rights and non-proliferation.

One note before I begin: I will not include in my outline a plan for combatting terrorist groups. I believe that this effort should be a fairly straightforward operation carried out with all intensity in a combined effort from our military and intelligence agencies, and those of our allies overseas. I consider false on their face the apologists' claims that our actions in Iraq had significant effect upon - or were motivated by - our need to be secure from terrorist attack. I won't otherwise address those claims.

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The outline:

1) Create a diplomatic policy of furthering human rights around the world. Enlist the cooperation of all allies. Use diplomatic and economic incentives where possible to foment liberal reform, use sanctions where incentives fail, and use force only as an extreme last resort, and only in a case of humanitarian crisis. Above all, apply this policy consistently. Do not allow other, less important, strategic or economic benefits for the U.S. or its allies to create a selective enforcement of the policy.

2) Create a similar policy with regards to non-conventional weapons proliferation. The eventual goal should be the complete disarmament of all parties, without exception. Rigorous international inspections should be a centerpiece of this policy, and the U.S. and all allies should be committed to participation in that program.

3) As more nations come into compliance on these policies, accept their assistance as allies to further the policy goals with nations closer to their sphere of influence. Acknowledge and respect the spheres of influence of other world powers, and the sovereignty of other states.

4) Make these policies and U.S. adherence to them transparent. Leave no room for the enemies of the U.S. to portray us as cultural or geopolitical imperialists.

5) War must only follow a direct attack, imminent threat, or a well-evidenced crisis of human rights or non-conventional weapons deployment and an ultimatum for the resolution of that crisis.

I believe that the U.S., even now, has the moral credibility to take the lion's share of leadership in creating a world climate where the abuse of human rights and the proliferation of WMD's is so discouraged as to become an extreme rarity.

Posted by smijer at January 17, 2004 01:11 PM
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May I ask a question. You said, ") Create a similar policy with regards to non-conventional weapons proliferation. The eventual goal should be the complete disarmament of all parties, without exception. Rigorous international inspections should be a centerpiece of this policy, and the U.S. and all allies should be committed to participation in that program." Do you suggest the USA disarm first or last? If we disarm first, we have no 'muscle' to back up our request. If we disarm last, there will not be a last. Others will not disarm when we have not. The approach sounds simplistic, but the facts are complicated in such a way as to make simple approaches unworkable. Perhaps, rather, than weaken ourselves, we should do as we have been doing. Remain armed and strong and not involve ourselves with nations who have WMD unless they are considred to be a threat and refuse to allow inspectors to inspect without prior notice. Concerned stated that WEAPONS of MASS DESTRUCTION + ENEMY = SERIOUS THREAT. I have to agree with that statement.

univar.jpg Posted by Jan on January 17, 2004 01:49 PM
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"If we disarm first, we have no 'muscle' to back up our request. If we disarm last, there will not be a last. Others will not disarm when we have not."

I suggest the first step be strong efforts at no new proliferation. All stockpiles be frozen at current levels. At near the same time, the U.S. and other nations of good will begin a gradual process of disarmament. At some point before the final lap, all nations must be on board with disarmament. This should be accomplished by incentive first, then sanctions, and -as a last resort- force.

The U.S. and China (or the equivalent regime of the time) should be the last two to destroy the last of their non-conventional stocks... perhaps simultaneously with Pakistan and India.

The U.S. and its allies will have ample conventional force to deal with any group that attempts new construction on non-conventionals, and will also be readiest to begin reconstruction if a crisis should arise making a nuclear deterrent necessary.

univar.jpg Posted by smijer on January 17, 2004 06:56 PM
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Might work, We should at least try.

univar.jpg Posted by Jan on January 18, 2004 07:16 AM
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