The Guardian November 27, 2002


Editorial:

Whither the United Nations?

There is some controversy over the sudden withdrawal of Australian SAS 
forces from Afghanistan as to the Howard Government's real intentions, but 
an educated guess is that the real purpose is to send them to war with Iraq 
in January or February.

The US trumpets its threats and military preparations almost every day and 
Howard makes no secret of his 100 percent support for another war in Iraq. 
He pays lip service to the United Nations and attempts to hide his 
commitment to war by declaring that "no decision has been made".

The UN inspectors have started their work but many of them are US citizens 
and their number is certain to contain CIA agents whose real mission is 
spying and creating provocations to justify a US invasion. It was for this 
reason that the UN inspectors were kicked out in 1998.

There are only two forces that stand between the war being planned by the 
Bush administration and a peaceful outcome. They are the mass 
demonstrations against war being held in many countries, including in the 
US, and the possibility that the majority of the United Nations Security 
Council will refuse to back a war.

The demonstrations are set to continue and become larger and more 
determined. But what of the UN Security Council and those three countries -
- China, Russia and France  who could veto a war resolution and speak out 
strongly against war?

These countries have already voted for a flawed resolution which, despite 
the denials, gives the US any number of "triggers" to launch a war. The 
leaders of China, Russia and France tend to talk first about the necessity 
of Iraq carrying out the instructions of the UN but when it comes to the 
necessity of the US carrying out those parts of the resolution which 
require the matter to be further considered by the Security Council, their 
voices get very soft and timid.

It is not only war or peace that is on the line. The credibility of the 
United Nations is also on the line  even its survival. The sickening 
hypocrisy of the United Nations Security Council is only one aspect  its 
total failure to implement innumerable resolutions demanding that Israel 
return to its original borders, its scandalous failure to implement 
resolutions concerning biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, its 
failure to raise even a timid voice to stop the aggression against 
Yugoslavia to mention only a few issues.

The main threat to the UN however, comes from a raging US imperialism which 
has no need for a United Nations anymore.

Either the UN, and that means in the first place the big powers with the 
right of veto, stand against the US juggernaut and threat of endless war 
and do so now, or they capitulate and not only destroy their own 
credibility but also that of the UN.

The people on the streets are showing their commitment and courage and do 
not hesitate to say  "No war on Iraq". They are entitled to expect that 
governments that assert their commitment to the UN, will join them in that 
call.

Within the next several months they will face this crucial test. The US 
intends to go to war. It has nothing to do with alleged "weapons of mass 
destruction". It is about strategy, oil, the military occupation of the 
whole of the Middle East and bases in Central Asia.

When fascism was on the rampage in Europe in the 1930s and '40s and seemed 
to be all powerful, the Soviet Union did not hesitate to denounce fascism. 
It helped to rally the people of the world against the threat of war even 
though it was still militarily weaker than the Nazi war machine.

It was its political strength that enabled it to overcome huge difficulties 
and eventually forge international collective security against fascism and 
defeat the Nazi menace.

The menace to the whole world today comes from the United States under 
Bush. There is an urgent need for a new collective of nations against war 
together with the ability to give a strong voice of support to the anti-war 
demonstrations on the streets.

It is almost D-day for the UN.
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