Madeleine Albright is losing patience—when she isn’t worrying about how long her job will last if the Presidential cocksuckers speak out. Robin Cook, too, is losing patience—when he can spare the time away from the problem of when a secretary, who is also a mistress, is a secretary, and when she is a mistress. Even little Derek Fatchett is losing patience—but there isn’t much going in his public life so he has plenty of time to work on the feeling that his patience is running out.
What they are all losing patience about is the interruption of the arms inspection in Iraq.
Saddam Hussein made an unreasonable and unacceptable demand: he asked that a definite time limit be set for the completion of the United Nations investigation of his armaments, which has already been in progress for eight years.
That demand is essentially unreasonable because everybody knows that, regardless of the armaments intentions in Iraq, the country will not be allowed to resume normal life until somebody kills Saddam.
One recalls the repeated statements by George Bush, Margaret Thatcher and Douglas Hurd, during the months leading up to the massive United Nations bombing early in 1991, that Saddam must not be allowed to save face. The game ever since has been to ensure that Washington does not lose face through having normal life resumed in Iraq under Saddam’s leadership.
But the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs, deliberately incited to insurrection by Washington and Whitehall, failed to dispose of Saddam. And the Kurds, responding with a will to Anglo-American incitement, expected, reasonably enough, that Anglo-America was about to accord them a right of national self-determination. The surge of deliberately inspired Kurdish nationalism then had to be broken by Turkish bombers and tanks, within the territory of Iraq, with the blessing of the United Nations. And, much as they disliked Iran, Britain and America could not reasonably object when the Iranian government acted similarly towards the Kurds on the other side.
The upshot is that the Kurds have been taught a very painful lesson about the integrity of the two most moral states in the world; that they have come to terms with Saddam as the lesser enemy, who acts according to his word and does not operate through moral deception; and that they will think long and hard before again taking on the role of Fifth Column under instigation by Whitehall and Washington.
And it is not only the Kurds who hav been taught a painful lesson by the two Puritan states.
When Madeleine Albright says she is losing patience, and that the diplomatic option is running out, who is she losing patience with? Not Iraq. Washington will not lose face by engaging in diplomatic negotiation with Iraq.
The language it invariably uses towards Iraq is the language of mastery. It does not negotiate. It gives orders.
The party that patience is being lost with is quite simply, the world. Because the world indicates that it has infinite patience with Iraq, and that it is profoundly sceptical of Anglo-American motives. And the world—the mere de facto world of actual states—would be happy to see a line drawn under the Kuwait business. Even Kuwait itself is hesitant about further bombing of Iraq. It learned nine years ago just how artificial a creation it is and how easily it might disappear if the Middle East is thrown into turmoil.
The United Nations is now reducing to its original components: Washington and Whitehall. These two have declared their intention of killing some Iraqis on their own if nobody else agrees to join in the spat. But this is not a perversion of the purpose for which the UN was formed.
It was dreamed up by Roosevelt in 1942 as a structure for ensuring Anglo-American (or Ameranglian) dominance of the world. Because of the way the war was working out it was obvious that it would not be credible as a world organisation if Russia was not in the act. So Churchill (who was sceptical about the project, but had to please Roosevelt) agreed to approach Stalin about taking part. He explained to Stalin that it would be an instrument of world domination for the Great Powers setting it up. These Great Powers would control the Security Council, and the General Assembly would have no authority.
The UN would act through the ideology of law, but the originating powers would be above this law. The league of Nations was a kind of democracy of the world’s states. In 1939 it expelled Russia for invading Finland, and it could if it chose have made war on Russia. Churchill explained to Stalin that such a thing would not be possible in the United Nations. (This is related with disarming frankness in Churchill’s War History).
It was intended at first that there should be three Permanent Powers in the Security Council. Then Roosevelt added China, which he saw as an American client state through which Asia might be controlled. And Churchill insisted on adding France as a European counterweight, even though France did not exist as an actual state at the time.
The UN was set in stone in 1945, and it is hard to see any change in it until there is a major war, or the build-up of such enormous power in a state which is outside the five Permanant Powers that the UN would risk being marginalised if it was not given a permanent seat.
If Washington and Whitehall act alone against Iraq, they will not be in breach of UN rules, even if the rest of the Security Council is opposed to this action, because it would be impossible for the Security Council to adopt a resolution saying that such an action is improper.
The Times editorialised that Britain and America are upholding international law against the rest of the world, which is breaking it. That is an absurd statement de facto, but in the UN context it is not absurd de jure. At least it would not be possible for the rest of the world to get the Security Council to adopt a resolution saying that Britain and America by acting alone did not uphold international law.
New Labour is thirsting for blood, and is losing patience. It won’t feel that it has really settled into the seat of power until it kills somebody innocent by direct action. Of course it has been killing them by the thousand by means of the blockade on trade, but that doesn’t bring the same sense of achievment. They were cheated out of their blooding by the Russians in mid-November and they are determined not to be cheated out of it again.
Recall what they were saying in mid-November.
Brian Wilson (Old Left/New Right): “I think that he [Saddam] is genuinely threatening the whole world order” (BBC Question Time, 13th November).
Blair: “Iraq is a threat to world peace” (14th November), etc, etc.
Here is a state, with a modern economy, dependent on trade, whose public utilities and general infrastructure were destroyed by weeks of intensive, and unopposed, bombing in 1991. (The first night’s bombing was proclaimed by the United Nations as the greatest act of violence the world had ever seen.) Its reconstruction has been frustrated by the United Nations (effectively by Washington and Whitehall) as much as possible by means of a stoppage of external trade.
And it has had satellites spying on it and armaments inspectors crawling all over it at will ever since, seeking out and destroying whatever was missed in the intensive bombing. And yet it remains a threat to world peace, with Saddam as the new Hitler, intent on world domination. What a truly remarkable man he must be! What a superman!
Meanwhile another dictator rests in quiet possession of conquered and annexed East Timor, where he has killed a third of the population. There is on the record books a Security Council resolution on East Timor identical with the resolution on Kuwait. And yet Indonesia trades freely, and armaments are pressed on it.
Blair, Cook, Robertson, Fatchett, etc, might, if they chose, set about implementing the East Timor resolution, where the conquest still stands. Their Veto places them beyond criticism. But they prefer an easy blooding in Iraq. How did Joseph Locke’s song go?
When we meet the helpless women
And little boys who do no harm
We run them in
We run them in
We tell them we’re the bold gendarmes…
Compared with the hypocritical moral posturing of Blair and Co., there is something admirable in the blunt statement made before the First World War by Robert Blatchford (author of Merrie England, who did more than anyone else tomake socialism a popular cultural force in England) that he stood for his country right or wrong.