Little to say for myself

Wednesday, March 12, 2003  

A Ray of Hope

I was filled with optimism yesterday morning - not something I'm normally prone to, especially about the Iraq crisis. It currently seems unlikely that the US and UK will get their new resolution passed by the UNSC. This got me thinking. There's good and bad to come from this.

The bad is:

  • Saddam will feel victorious

  • He will hang onto more WMDs for longer

  • The UN will find it much harder to impose its will in future

  • Chirac will preen and congratulate himself on being a force in world politics
The good I predict is:
  • Given his rapidly weakening support at home, Blair will not prosecute a war without UN backing (just because I'm naive, doesn't mean I'm wrong)

  • He will be able to say to his critics "Well, I did what I knew to be right, but was thwarted by less visionary people beyond my control."

  • He will avoid accusations of wavering or U-turning, whilst also avoiding the risk of being prosecuted for war crimes at the new ICC.

  • Bush will be stranded. He will have a choice of (a) complying with the UNSC's decision (and thus retaining a vestige of authority on the world stage) whilst suffering the humiliation at having been humbled by lowly foreigners; or (b) waging war anyway, and marking distinctly the point in time at which future historians will be able to identify the start of the decline of American world influence.
I told you I was optimistic.

posted by Plig | 01:18 |

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Forget the sentimental notion that foreign policy is a struggle between virtue and vice, with virtue bound to win.
Forget the utopian notion that a brave new world without power politics will follow the unconditional surrender of wicked nations.
Forget the crusading notion that any nation, however virtuous and powerful, can have the mission to make the world in its own image.
Remember that diplomacy without power is feeble, and power without diplomacy is destructive and blind.
Remember that no nation's power is without limits, and hence that its policies must respect the power and interests of others.
Hans Morgenthau

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts
Bertrand Russell

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one
Albert Einstein

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative
Martin Luther King Jr.

Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man
Bertrand Russell

I think it would be a good idea
Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization

There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun
Pablo Picasso

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others
Groucho Marx

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it
Mahatma Gandhi

Always make new mistakes
Esther Dyson
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