#5 - JRL 7062
February 14, 2003
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
REASONS FOR IRAQI CRISIS LIE IN THE USA
By Mikhail GORBACHEV
The situation around Iraq has reached a dangerous stage. The unthinkable can happen. And I am not dramatising the situation.
All concerned parties agree that the Iraqi problem must be resolved, that this acute international conflict must be clarified. I think Iraq needs clarity above all and no less and possibly much more than others do. But global politics, public opinion and the international community have been split over ways of bringing clarity to the Iraqi crisis.
There are two apparent variants: the use of military force or political efforts. The fissure has run across the UN Security Council, NATO, Europe, America and the entire global community. It must be said frankly that the bulk of nations are against the war on Iraq, for continuing inspections and taking requisite measures to preclude the threat from Iraq in the future. But the US administration has opted for the military solution to the problem and refuses to listen to arguments. The reasons it provides do not convince the world.
Washington announced the intention to use military force although the UN inspectors have not yet finished their work. Germany, France and Russia have advanced practical proposals for bringing the inspection to its logical end. Iraq has reciprocated by agreeing to the flights of reconnaissance planes and other demands advanced to make the inspection more effective. But the political leadership of the USA does not seem to hear and does not want to hear. Moreover, it keeps saying that the USA is ready to act unilaterally, without listening to other states.
Everyone knows very well what this means. It means above all death and destruction for the Iraqi people. But it also means a heavy blow at the UN Security Council as the foundation of the international community and the key instrument of the collective solution of security problems.
Yet Washington has plotted the course for confrontation even with its partners, who nevertheless want to keep up strategic partnership with the USA. This behaviour of the US administration, which is impossible to explain from a political viewpoint or by common logic, makes one wonder: Maybe the point of contention is not Iraq? Or maybe Iraq is just a random victim?
Or a pretext? Maybe somebody simply wants to cross the threshold to destabilisation of the global situation so as to create a new world order based not on international law but on crude force?
We do need a new world order but the US administration seems to think that the world should become one big American bailiwick where US interests would take precedence and the interests of all other states would be ignored.
This is a double mistake. First, the world cannot accept a situation where the Americans will decide which interests to uphold, regarding their own security a greater value than global security. Second, this attitude is completely unrealistic.
Washington may wish to establish such world order but it is impossible simply because the rest of the world will rise against it. And the USA will not strengthen its security but engender more threats.
I would like to remind the current US president what one of his predecessors, John Kennedy, said back in 1963. He said that the way forward was not a "Pax Americana declared with American weapons on war." He went on to say that there can only be peace for all or not at all.
Prophetic words these were. But bellicose statements have been made in the USA that clash with these wise words. It is said there that the 20th century was the century of America and so the 21st century must likewise be the century of America.
The question is, will there be a place for other nations and countries in this century? Where is the century when the interests and hopes of their children and grandchildren will be implemented? Many people in the USA see the impossibility of these claims. But what makes the US administration move in this dangerous direction then?
I tend to think that the reasons for this should be sought not in Iraq but in the difficult, crisis situation in the USA. I do not intend to draw apocalyptic scenarios but the world's nations, including the American people are certainly worried by the deep rift that can end in the destruction of all current institutes of international cooperation.
This policy will not be changed unless the USA seriously analyses its model of economic and social development and forces itself to look at the world more realistically. In other words, America needs perestroika.
P.S. The other day a poll on the Iraqi problem was held in Britain. The press reported that every third respondent sees the danger not in Iraq but in the USA.