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Posted: Sunday, March 23, 2003

NEWSDAY EDITORIAL, Trinidad and Tobago

The United States of America, not content to wage horrific war on Iraq, even without the authority of the United Nations Security Council, is now playing the role of big bully in virtually ordering States as to whether they should or should not support any UN resolution denouncing the unauthorised war.

It is a threat to the sovereignty of nations, no less than the unsanctioned invasion of Iraq. We ask the question: Did the US coerce its 'allies', in what the Government of this country has denounced as an unjust and unjustified war, to go along with it in flouting the current United Nations position on Iraq, and in clear violation of the United Nations Charter? If this is so, then the power brokers on Capitol Hill are not much better than that repository of evil, Saddam Hussein, whose dictatorship of Iraq and his cynical invasion of and hostilities against his neighbours have stamped him as one of the most ruthless men of this age. And while Hussein sought to take away the sovereignty of Iran and Iraq by force of arms, implied in the clearly unwise US move may be a withdrawal of most favoured status to some States; the possible imposition of countervailing duties on critical exports to the US, the withdrawal of aid and/or the threat of refusal of aid. The United States may have determined that for many nations, large and small, which are short on cash and marketing opportunities as well as the moral strength and guts the above may represent their collective Achilles heel.

Only a few days ago, in the runup to military action against Iraq, the United States called on the Governments of 60 nations to expel (some of the) Iraqi diplomats accredited to them. Several countries complied, some shamefacedly. What the US did in effect was to violate the right of free and independent States to freedom of action, and relegated them to the status of colonies and/or protectorates, whose foreign policy was that of the Imperial State. Today, the US is using the big stick to effect just that. The US has never been comfortable with the situation in which it has found itself since the late 1960s, when the admission of certain new Member States to the United Nations saw it losing its tacit control in the UN, via compliant "sure" majorities when there were votes on issues it deemed as critical. The wholly immoral demand by the US that non-aligned countries refrain from voting in favour of any motion denouncing its attack on Iraq, which was and is being done outside of a UN mandate, is not the first time that the US had bucked the United Nations. In 1971 it had defied an economic boycott of the then Rhodesia, imposed by the UN on the racist State.

Big bullies wherever they are found, must be condemned. We do this even though we recognise that Saddam Hussein is an evil dictator. But even though we are of the view that he should go, the weapons inspectors assigned by the UN should have been allowed the opportunity to complete their job, and the UN should have been the one to decide on any action to be taken.

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