The US and Great Britain (effectively one entity, the US/GB, in terms of their Iraq policy) proposed a draft resolution supposedly authorising military action against Iraq to the UN Security Council on February 24. After introductory background points, the draft states simply that the UN "decides that Iraq has failed to take advantage of the final opportunity afforded it in Resolution 1441 (2002)." The US/GB argue that resolution 1441 authorised the use of force if Iraq did not comply, and that this resolution will confirm that authorization. France, Germany and Russia, who dispute that interpretation of 1441, say there is no need for another resolution yet. Instead, France and Germany propose that inspections be given more time. The US/GB have already prepared themselves for failure in the Security Council, saying that they will not consider themselves to be bound by any "unreasonable veto" and that the UN will expose itself as irrelevant if it refuses to act against Iraq.
An attack on Iraq now seems inevitable. Unofficial US/GB sources indicated on February 24 that they would allow about two weeks for the draft resolution to be passed before deciding to act unilaterally. Iraq appears to have concluded that nothing it does matters, and it is probably right. This is no longer about Iraq, but about politicking between the major Western powers, who have different views of the nature of the Western alliance. The US believes that, as it is the overwhelmingly dominant Western power, the others should toe its line. Britain (and Spain, Italy and other junior Western countries) believe it is best to stay in the hegemon’s good books, although Britain claims that its aim is to "moderate" the US position. France, Germany and Russia agree that the rest of the world exists to be carved up for the West’s benefit, but would prefer the West to be a more a collective enterprise than a US-led gang. China, still only a semi-member of the Western club, prefers the collective position but lacks the stature to challenge the US directly.
The UN is the main public body through which these various parties work together, the other members of the Security Council being little more than pawns. (In November, the US secured the passage of 1441 by bribing, blackmailing and threatening the Council’s members: Russia, for example, was given a free hand against the Chechens; Columbia received a massively improved financial aid package.) Now the US is threatening to bring the UN down if it does not get its way over its new draft. It is unlikely actually to do so, because the UN is too useful; instead it will probably simply defy the UN this time, claiming to be acting in the greater interest of the international community, and then challenge the dissenting members of the Security Council to do something about it. There is little they can do; even France and Germany together, the Western powers most concerned to limit the US’s hegemony, will have little leverage against it, especially as the US will still be supported by Britain and most of the junior Western states.
The French position is undoubtedly better for the West as a whole, including the US, whose long-term international position may be severely weakened by the current administration’s arrogance and aggressiveness. It is easy to fall into the error of regarding the US as virtually all-powerful in political terms. In fact, by taking on its international allies in this way, the US may be seriously over-reaching itself and damaging the Western alliance in the process. This may be a result of people like the Bushes (senior and junior), Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld believing their own lies about the US’s virtues, dominance and invincibility. The US’s western allies may have to put up with this administration’s excesses, and pick up the pieces after it, in the hope that it or a future administration will be more moderate in future.
One thing is certain, however: the needs, interests, wishes and rights of ordinary people are irrelevant to this political process. This is a game being played out between political, economic and corporate elites, in which ordinary people have little part except as instruments to be manipulated and discarded as necessary. Such is the nature of the West-dominated world we live in. That is why it cannot survive, and an order more in line with the essential goodness of human nature that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has given to humanity, established by Muslims following His guidance to us, must replace it. In the meantime, however, the West will continue to have a devastating impact on the lives of millions.