The forces are almost ready for action, and the chances of them being told to pack up and go home without a fight must be approximately zero.
However, there’s something that deeply concerns me about the comments made by representatives of the American government regarding a “coalition of the willing”.
So here’s something to think about.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been only one superpower in the world. Up until now, the US has been fairly benign, so this has not been considered a problem. However, if the US and its allies go ahead with a war in Iraq despite this course having been rejected at the UN Security Council, it will be clear that they do so in the face of opposition from some or even most of the world.
The problem with a single superpower is its apparent omnipotence. If you don’t agree with them, that’s too bad, because there isn’t a lot you can do. You can’t fight a war and hope to win.
There is one thing you can do, however. Terrorism. I’m not seeking to legitimise terrorism, just to point out the obvious: it is an effective way of attacking a more powerful opponent using limited means. The problem with terrorism as opposed to regular war is that it impinges into everyday life, affecting civilians and military alike without distinction and without warning. Thence comes the terror.
I’m also afraid that, the more America and its allies come to appear bullying and invulnerable, the more their numerous opponents will turn to these distasteful methods of attack.
To quote Colin Powell:
Let me put the question to you directly and clearly in the simplest terms that I can. The question simply is: has Saddam Hussein made a strategic, political decision to comply with the United Nations Security Council resolutions?
No one is untouchable, and no matter how strong you are, it’s no excuse for ignoring the law. It’s not realistic to expect every country to agree, given their different political and cultural backgrounds and interests.
However, if compliance with UN Security Council resolutions is the fundamental problem, isn’t it essential that the solution should also be authorised by the Security Council? In stating that they will go ahead with a war even if it is opposed by the Security Council, the US and UK are showing blatant disregard for the UN process.
I fear that it might turn out to be counterproductive.