Nicolas J S Davies

A collection of published articles and letters to policymakers regarding the crisis in United States foreign policy by Nicolas J S Davies.

Location: North Miami, Florida, United States

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Letter to Congress on Powell at U.N.

The Hon. Kendrick Meek
1039 Longworth H.O.B.
Washington DC 20515

Thursday, February 6th, 2003

Dear Kendrick,

Yesterday in the U.N. Security Council, Secretary Powell made a persuasive case that Iraq is failing to cooperate fully with the U.N. weapons inspectors and still appears to be hiding some banned weapons, although the inspectors have not yet been able to determine exactly what or where.

At this time, it is crucial to give the U.N. inspectors our full support, and to consider strengthening their numbers and their capabilities. Various inspection methods were proposed before the current round of inspections began, but the Bush administration failed to devote any consideration to these proposals, preferring to rely solely on the threat of overwhelming force as an incentive for Iraq to cooperate. This has clearly failed, as Mr. Powell’s report suggests. In fact, it may have encouraged Iraq to hide and hold onto whatever weapons it has in order to use them in a conflict that seems inevitable.

Unfortunately, this is not the last time that the world will have to confront a state that possesses such weapons, and it is therefore of vital importance that the international community develop effective ways to deal with such situations. An effective inspections regime in Iraq could be a model for the future, and the skills and methods developed could prove invaluable.

It is also unfortunate that, since President Bush took office, the U.S. government has rejected the consensus of the international community on a wide range of issues, has “unsigned” or undermined numerous international treaties, and has pointedly ignored the views of our friends and allies. By contrast, the National Security Strategy officially published by this administration in September 2002 advocates close consultation with allies; working to strengthen multinational treaties and organizations like the U.N.; and even “a truly global consensus about basic principles” (NSS p.26). An evaluation of the Bush administration’s efforts to realize these fundamental goals leads to the conclusion that they have failed on their own terms and that this has caused a dangerous schism in the international community at a most critical time.

On the other hand, since the end of the Cold War, the United Nations has begun to play the role for which it was intended, to act as a parliament of sovereign nations with an authority that is uniquely respected and a strength that derives from its impartiality and unity. Through the United Nations and other multinational organizations and treaties, the international community has begun to come together to confront the most difficult challenges facing the human race, from AIDS to ethnic conflicts to weapons proliferation.

Now President Bush is challenging the United Nations to choose between acquiescence to his planned invasion of Iraq and “irrelevance”. The response of the other Security Council members to Secretary Powell’s presentation encourages me to hope that they will continue to reject such a choice and to work together within the letter and the spirit of the U.N. Charter to seek a peaceful resolution to this problem. I urge you and your colleagues in Congress to support them in this courageous endeavor.

Please use all your influence with the Bush administration to insist that they finally begin to implement the clauses of their own National Security Strategy that commit them to listen to our friends, to “coordinate closely with allies” (NSS p.16), “to sustain a common perspective on the threats to our societies” (NSS p.26), and “to sustain the supremacy of our common principles” (NSS p.28).

Yours sincerely