Thoughts on the peace rallies
Henry C.K. Liu
hliu at mindspring.com
Sun Feb 16 18:21:28 MST 2003
As a new century begins, the US advances the notion of "failed states"
in international affairs, which claims a mandate for the sole remaining
superpower to stage regime changes in any nation deemed a failed state
in the world order of nation states that has existed since the Peace of
Westphalia of 1648.
Edmond Burk prophetically recognized the first partition of Poland in
1773 as the beginning of the crumbling of the old international order.
The principle of the balance of power had historically been invoked to
preserve the independence of European states, to secure weak or small
states against universal monarchy. Poland was the first nation in the
European system to be partitioned out of existence without a war, a
source of great satisfaction to the participating powers: Russia,
Austria and Prussia.
The event showed that in a world where great powers had risen,
controlling modern apparatus of state, it was dangerous not to be
strong. A century later, Africa, lacking strong governments, was also
partitioned without war among the states of Europe. Furthermore, the
partition of Poland profoundly altered the balance of power in Europe.
Emerging Western European powers, such as France and England, began
championing the cause of Polish resistance and nationalism for
It is increasingly clear that the real issue on whether a nation faces
attack from the world's sole remaining superpower rests not on its
possession of WMD, but on whether it possesses a creditable
counterstrike force as a deterrence to preemptive attack from a nation
which itself has steadfastly refused to adopt a no-first-use doctrine on
The shift from deterrence to preemption was incorporated into US
national security strategy in September 2002, a year after the September
11 terrorist attacks. After the war on Afghanistan, which left its main
objective of eliminating Osama bin Laden unfulfilled, coercive
disarmament of Iraq has become the centerpiece of the Bush
administration's war on terrorism. But Afghanistan and Iraq are merely
the opening shots of a broad general shift from deterrence to
preemption. Arms control itself now encompasses the unilateral
abrogation of the stabilizing Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic
Missile Systems (ABM treaty) and the deployment of the destabilizing
theater missile defense (TMD) and national missile defense (NMD) systems.
The 1991 war on Iraq has never ended. For over a decade, US and British
war planes have enforced a no-fly zone over Iraqi air space. When UN
arms inspectors left Iraq in 1998, the US and Britain launched
"Operation Desert Fox", bombing suspected weapons sites and
anti-aircraft installations. Such bombings have continued. Economic
sanctions, generally recognized as acts of war, have caused the death of
an estimated 2 million Iraqi civilians, including women and children,
which Madeleine Albright, as US secretary of state, declared publicly on
television as being "worth it". The pending invasion is merely a new
phase in a continuous war. Yet the pretext for the original 1991 war was
to reverse the invasion and occupation of Kuwait by Iraq, while the
pretext of the pending renewed war is WMD disarmament.
>Anyway, my thoughts are not in finished form on this, but I think Mark Jones
>may have been onto something important a couple weeks ago when he pointed
>out that Bush was trying to overthrow the bourgeois principles embodied in
>the Treaty of Westphalia.
>I would be interested in people's reaction to this.
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