Printer Friendly

The post-war gulf order.

The Post - War Gulf Order

We too easily neglect the fact that this affair is not a product of individual ambition of the policy of a single nation, Iraq, but has cultural and historical sources in Europe's domination of Islamic society from the time of the Dutch conquest of Indonesia in the 17th century and Britain's conquest of Moghul India in the 18th. The rage that Saddam Hussain exploits - and the late Ayatollah Khomeini, and Moammar Qadhafi - has its origins in more than three centuries of Foreign domination. Since the late 1940s, four Islamic states have struck back - Indonesia against the Dutch, Algeria against France, Egypt under Nasser at Suez and under Sadat in the 1973 attack on Israel, and Iran under Khomeini. The Gulf war is a fifth such effort. Only a fool would think it the last. It is very difficult to believe that there can be "orderly" resolution of the tensions that now exist not only between the Islamic countries and the West but also between all the impoverished or failing societies and the privileged nations. The gap between them grows deeper.

Observers believe, the future of the gulf is linked with Saddam Hussain whether he survives or not they insist that inspite of CIA led anti Saddam propaganda, people of Iraq stand firm behind their revolutionary leader. There exists in fact no strong opposition which could threaten Saddam because he has very tactfully destroyed and liquidated the anti-Baath elements, even then if a US sponsored coup succeeds, the scenario presents a more grim picture. It is believed that any form of government in Baghdad, will keep on influencing the Gulf region, and it is in the interest of the Middle East states to involve the Soviet Union and Iran in any post-war structure of relations they devise for the region to safeguard, its peace and security. Unless the Soviet Union is inducted as a countervailing force to American power, the Arabs will find themselves reduced to subservient to an American and Jewish hegemony. The Iranian presence should serve as a balancing factor against the regional ambitions of any of the Gulf States. If political instability is not to be the hallmark of International politics in the Middle East, it is important that the interests of both the superpowers in the peace and security of the region be recognised and given a basis in reality.

Now when the war with Iraq is over, the US must give the international conference its highest priority, indicating to the Government of Israel if necessary, that future US support for that country will be dependent on Israeli participation. It no longer makes sense, if it ever did, for the Shamir Government to declare that it prefers, security without peace to peace without security. That choice is no longer available, if it ever was. The grim message of the Scud missiles is that Israel's security depends on peace.

The agenda for the UN conference is clear; self-determination for the Palestinians; resettlement of the Palestinian refugees, financed by the Gulf States; guaranteed security for Israel and her Jordanian and Syrian neighbours, including a solution to the Golan Heights problem; withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon, stringent international control over arms imports into the region; active moves to remove all non-conventional weapons from the region, and prevention of any further countries gaining such capacity. The settlement should be policed not by Western forces or even by Arab and Islamic forces, but by a UN army.

The Agenda is massive and daunting, and will be enormously difficult to achieve. That is no reason for shirking it. Indeed, the very dimensions of the agenda emphasise the supreme necessity of tacking it right away. The deaths in the War must not be in vain.

George Bush and his advisers have not yet described the new order of which the president has spoken. Mr. Bush has said only that he envisions international conduct based on the rules of law and a larger role for United Nations Peacekeeping. It seems reasonable to say that Washington has only begun to think about this matter, and will not seriously do so until the Gulf war has been concluded.

Wilsonian Legacy

Mr. Bush's proposals said to be in the direct line of American reformist internationalism, begun with Woodrow Wilson's invention in 1917 of the Principle of universal national self-determination, and then of the League of Nations. After that came Franklin Roosevelt's Atlantic Charter in 1941, promising "Four Freedoms to the people of the world, and after that the United Nations, an American idea.

However, this is a policy tradition which rests on a fallacy, the uncritical transposition of national to International experience. It assumes that an association or coalition of the world's nations can represent the will of the world's peoples: hence that an assembly of governments provides a form of world democracy and can claim the legitimacy of world opinion.

Abroad, there is a different idea about the new world order. It is widely thought to be one in which the United States, the "only Superpower", would act as world policeman to defend democratic interests. A French commentator foresees this new order "forbidding, in the name of the rights of peoples, repression in the Baltic states as well as (Syria's) annexation of Lebanon." This seems deeply unrealistic, for four reasons.

Fragile Public Support

According to a US analyst, the American public is most unlikely to end what is likely to prove a punishing war in the Gulf with any appetite for launching other wars; elsewhere, "police actions" or not, which do not directly serve essential US national interests. Support for the Gulf war even now is fragile; the issue divides the nationa, heavy casualties are sure to provoke a crises in domestic opinion. The experience of this war is more likely to promote isolation than internationalism.

Second, the European powers and Japan, which - with notable exceptions - have made no great military contribution to the Gulf effort, would not seem candidates to join similar American led "police actions" in the future. They seem likely to object to a world order-keeping arrangement in which the issues and actions are unilaterally determined by Washington - as has been essentially the case for the Gulf.

A third problem is the indebtedness and relative decline in industrial competitiveness of the United States, which diminishes its ability to lead. The United States global leadership today restschiefly upon military power. Europe and Japan, meanwhile possess economic and industrial resources of much greater competitive value in a world released from the East-West military confrontation.

Finally is the problem of the United Nations. The vast majority of UN members are unrepresentative governments, class or interest-bound oligarchies or dictatorships or outright despotism. This is one reason why the United States and other democracies have in the past ignored UN resolutions or exercised their veto. America will cooperate with the United Nations in the future when UN decisions coincide with or advance the policies of the democracies. Washington is likely to pay greater respect to international law than in the recent past, but it certainly will not renounce its right to determine policies unilaterally. There is nothing surprising in this. However, it is not what people expect from a new world order.

It may be doubted that there will be such an order. The world in the future may prove less orderly than it was when frozen by Gold war. Rather than providing the paradigm for a new international order, the Gulf war may provoke further disorder.

History of Dominations

We too easily neglect the fact that this affair is not a product of individual ambition of the policy of a single nation, Iraq, but has cultural and historical sources in Europe's domination of Islamic society from the time of the Dutch conquest of Indonesia in the 17th century and Britain's conquest of Moghul India in the 18th. The rage that Saddam Hussain exploits - and the late Ayatollah Khomeini, and Moammar Qadhafi - has its origins in more than three centuries of Foreign domination.

Since the late 1940s, four Islamic states have struck back - Indonesia against the Dutch, Algeria against France, Egypt under Nasser at Suez and under Sadat in the 1973 attack on Israel, and Iran under Khomeini. The Gulf war is a fifth such effort. Only a fool would think it the last.

It is very difficult to believe that there can be "orderly" resolution of the tensions that now exist not only between the Islamic countries and the West but also between all the impoverished or failing societies and the privileged nations. The gap between them grows deeper.

Who can believe that people who experience mounting anarchy, impoverishment and renewal national and communal irredentism, in the Balkans, the Soviet Union and South Asia, can be given pacification and "order" by a coalition led by the United States - even if it were a coalition acting in the name of the United Nations. The idea of a new world order is not ignoble. However, an idealism that rests on illusions its itself an illusion.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Economic and Industrial Publications
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:new world order
Author:Khan, Bushra Jabbar
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Mar 1, 1991
Words:1512
Previous Article:Indus water treaty.
Next Article:Lessons of privatization in developing countries.
Topics:


Related Articles
One, two, many wars.
Global change and social justice: an introduction.
The rhetoric of oil and the dilemma of war and American hegemony.
Gulf War: the socio-political background.
/C O R R E C T I O N -- National Technical Information Service/.
The New World Order in Theory and Practice: The Bush Administration's Worldview in Transition.
Collapsed countries, casualty dread, and the new American way of war.
Is it a war for oil?
Kagan to keynote NPCA annual meeting in Chicago.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters