February 8, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Morning Cup of Kofi

This morning, it was Kofi, not coffee, that woke me right up. Speaking at the 310th anniversary (wow!) of the College of William and Mary, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan once again tried to shore up the failing authority of the UN Security Council. If actions speak louder than words, then Annan spoke barely above a whisper today.

"When states decide to use force, not in self-defense but to deal with broader threats to international peace and security, there is no substitute for the unique legitimacy provided by the Security Council," Annan declared.

While Annan's words seem logical in an academic sort of way, the unspoken truth behind them is that the UN Security Council's legitimacy is sorely threatened. If the Council does not act decisively—and quickly—to disarm Iraq, the Council will have no more legitimacy than a spineless parent who never reigns in his spoiled brat child. Threats without consequences are mere empty words. The UN has threatened to disarm Iraq since 1991, but few consequences have backed up such threats. It's plain why Saddam Hussein has consistently thumbed his nose at the UN. What misbehaved child, who never feels his father's hand on his backside or the isolation of being grounded, has respect for his parents?

Annan urged the United States not to act against Iraq unilaterally—but if the Security Council does not act, then someone must. To carry the parenting analogy further, it's not your place to discipline someone else's bratty child if you observe him talking back to his mother in public. But if you find that same kid planting a pipe bomb under someone's car while his careless mother isn't watching, it's your duty to grab that kid and take him to the police station. The UN Security Council is that careless parent, and Saddam Hussein is that spoiled brat—with weapons a lot more powerful than a pipe bomb. If the UN wants to just sit on the couch and watch Jerry Springer, and occasionally yell at Hussein when he acts up, then it's time to grab the dictator by the ear and haul him off.

In his speech, Annan further warned Iraq that if it failed to make use of "this last chance, and continues its defiance, the council will have make another grim choice, based on the findings of the inspectors."

With all of the chances Iraq has been given in the past 12 years, one wonders what "grim choice" the Security Council will make. My guess is they will "grimly" debate the issue further and "choose" to pass another toothless resolution.


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Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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2/7: Game Over
2/6: The Eagle Never Landed
2/5: Pope: Potter No Problem
2/4: Time for Another Rewrite
2/3: A Matter of Opinions
2/2: Suicidal Bravado
2/1: Godspeed, Columbia

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