12 November 2007

FFS It's Monday: Iran: Why America Needs the United Nations

The USA, and possibly this country, could be heading to war with Iran, for all the reasons we've head before in relation to another Middle East country – Weapons of Mass Destruction, links to terrorist atrocities and a dictator generally hell-bent on destroying Western civilisation.

Some people say that the US has real concerns about Iran and the stability of the world, but personally I believe Bush just wants to be able to roadtrip it straight from Kabul to Baghdad , via Tehran. He'll probably make a movie, full of tits, fart jokes and vomiting, that'll flop at the cinema, but sell really well on DVD, as thousands of horny teenagers rush to buy another teen movie they can masturbate over whilst pretending to study. And if you believe that you'll believe anything, in which case I'm the widow of a Nigerian General who needs your help transferring some money out ... I think I'm getting beside the point.

You see, politicians don't really understand what war is all about – namely that it's bloody, it's horrible and it's only necessary in extreme cases. Those we elect however, see their poll ratings go through the roof and they want a bit of that, so they all engage in a mass circle jerk over some tin pot dictator, throwing words like "Weapons of Mass Destruction" around and making nebulous claims about atrocities in far flung places that the tin pot dictator couldn't possibly have committed. What’s even worse in the case of Iran is that President Ahmed-showaddywaddy isn’t a dictator, but an elected politician in a theocratic system of government.

For the first few months of war, of course, all goes swimmingly - the media can't criticise, the opposition shut up and everybody generally "supports our troops" - and those who don't are peer-pressured into shutting the fuck up or demonised for undermining morale. Quite why the country completely loses its ability to critically analyse this absurd situation just because somewhere in the world its army is doing its job, is beyond me, but that’s the way life is and there's bugger all I can do about it.

At the end of the Second World War, the four winners (and France) set up the United Nations, with the aim of prohibiting war and other uses of armed force except in cases of self-defence or where the Security Council authorises it. The victors (and France) got a seat at the top table, and instituted a voting procedure called “screw everyone else” (the veto), in which they always got their own way, unless they decided not to show up for a vote. The United Nations system hasn’t worked fantastically, in fact for the first forty five years of its existence it was a giant bloody shambles, unable to do anything because the US and USSR kept facing each other off in a dick waving contest that the rest of the world barely cared two hoots about. But, as everyone knows, democracy was victorious and communism was shit (except for Tetris) and hopes were high in 1991 when the world bandied together under US command and kicked Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.

Things have pretty much returned to normal since then, however, meaning the US can’t rely on the Security Council to let it go round whatever country it wants, kick some arse, set fire to some buildings and then go home for tea. And they want to do that, because their under attack from “terrorists”, who want to rape their grandmas, take their freedoms and do a dump in their gardens. So, George Bush and his team of rabid monkeys set out a doctrine of pre-emptive self-defence in which they maintain

“the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction— and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.”

The only problem with this is the rest of the world said, “well, you can fuck right off”, and completely rejected the doctrine of pre-emptive action. So, when the US went to war with Iraq in 2003 it based its use of force not on the pre-emptive doctrine but on previous Security Council resolutions, arguing that the 1991 ceasefire was no longer operational as Iraq was in material breach of its commitments under it (see, I did discuss Kuwait for a reason). The problem that the US has with Iran is that there are no equivalent resolutions that they can use as they march into Tehran and open up their latest Starbucks and McDonalds chains. Meaning they would have to rely on the pre-emptive doctrine and they don’t want to do that for a very simple reason: the rest of the world can then use it whenever they perceive a future threat against their survival – Pakistan against India, China against Taiwan, Israel against the rest of the Middle East, the Middle East against Israel, Scotland against England, you get the idea. The whole thing would resemble something close to apocalypse, and then who would there be left to consume Hollywood movies and buy frankly suspect hamburgers.

Therefore, the USA, if it wants to take action (military or otherwise) against Iran, needs the United Nations and it needs to make a concerted effort to ensure that at the very least the permanent members are on its side. They should hopefully act as a bulwark against any hasty military action.

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