War with China Update:
Prelude to Disorder
The AP reported today that,
While Russia and China have been reluctant to endorse sanctions, the council's three other veto-wielding members say a strong response is in order.
The United States, France and Britain say if Tehran does not meet the deadline, they will make the enrichment demand and other conditions compulsory and they want punitive measures to stay on the table.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it was time for the Security Council to act if the world body wished to remain credible.
"The Security Council is the primary and most important institution for the maintenance of peace and stability and security and it cannot have its word and its will simply ignored by a member state," Rice told reporters at a NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria.
This is serious stuff here.
As Russia and China continue to manipulate the Security Council for reasons more national than global, they have raised the specter of having their threatened vetoes overridden extra-legally by members who may take matters into their own hands. The Security Council, nay the UN, cannot survive such a blatant affront to its mandate.
The rules and procedures of the UN were created to promote conflict resolution, not conflict itself. When those rules do not serve the members' interest, when they incite and encourage conflict, they become "irrelevant" and "uncredulous". Self-serving Council members need to understand that membership in the UN is not worth dying for, not as broke and corrupt and ineffective as it has proven to be in recent history. No amount of arguing about the "sanctity" of international laws or treaties will change that.
Chicken is a game for ultra-realists who coolly calculate odds and assess risks. There is more at stake here than geopolitics. America has already once taken moral action, in response to the misadventures of amateurs and demagogues, and in defiance of Great Game Strategists.
And that is the crux of the larger issue here. As the UN repeatedly demonstrates its Paper Tiger status, it seems an almost certainty that the Security Council will indeed split apart at some point in time on a veto. As global interests tear in asymmetrical directions, the UN needs more than a face lift. The current war in Iraq avoided becoming the UN's death rattle, precisely because the other members knew, with Bush's admonishment ringing loudly in their ears, that this was a make or break vote. When they do stop listening, when a vetoing member miscalculates the intent and will and indignation of the others, or simply doesn't care, the Council will crack like Humpty Dumpty.