Tuesday | March 11, 2003
Is Bush II 'multilateral'?
Two Bushes decided to wage war in Iraq. One did so the right way, multilaterally, the other did it the wrong way. Of course, people now argue that Bush II is a multilateralist because Spain and Italy and Bulgaria support the US. But the true definition of "multilateral" is not whether a country supports you, but whether it is willing to back up that support with actual military forces.
Take a look at the multilateral coalition Bush I managed to piece together for Operation Desert Storm:
Afghanistan: 300 troopsWhat's that, 25 countries in addition to the US? Not to mention UN Security Council resolutions, NATO support, EU support, and Arab League support. That's multilateral. On the other hand, let's see what Bush II has cobbled together:
Australia: a couple hundred commandosThis is what the neocons and chickenhawks claim is "multilateral"? They have no support from the UN, none from NATO, none from the Arab League, none from the non-aligned movement, none from any multilateral organization.
And worst of all, UK participation in a non-UN-sanctioned war is still hazy. Given that the Australian SAS is traditionally assigned to UK command in these types of operations, we may still see a literal unilateral invasion by the US.
But even with UK and Aussie participation, there is no doubt that while "multilateral", such an invasion would make a mockery of the term as it is understood in the real of interational relations. Bush I was multilateral. It's amazing that Bush II is actually kin of our first Bush president.
Update: This more complete list shows contributions from 39 nations (including the US). As Jake notes in the comments:
Many are tokens or medical personnel, but the sheer breadth of the coalition is pretty remarkable: from mujahadeen from Afghanistan to 7,000 troops from Pakistan, to a lone corvette from Denmark. The first Gulf War was about the maintenance of the institutions of international order; this one is about destroying it.Posted March 11, 2003 01:40 PM | Comments (64)