Chris Patten, is at it again
"It is in the interests of the whole world that power should be constrained by global rules, and used only with international agreement. What other source of international legitimacy but the U.N. exists for military intervention?"
Any number of responses come readily to mind.
First: The interests of the whole world
would be served by restraining the US? Is Mr. Patten telling us that the interests of the United States would be best served by restraining ... the United States? I guess we here in the States (or at least the solid majority of us that are in favor of taking Saddam out) are all just stupid cowboys who need to be told what to do with our dangerous toys. Only everybody else is smart enough and mature enough to be able to know what to do. Patten (or Europe, or the UN) knows best. That's a tad arrogant and condescending, don't you think?
Second: Global rules? Call me when everyone agrees. Until everyone abides by these supposedly global rules, what rules exist, by definition, are not global
. (Duh!) As Mr. Patten may recall, Americans did not knock down the WTC. Americans do not send suicide bombers to kill civilians by the truckload. Americans do not kidnap and slit the throats of journalists because they are Jewish. (OK, I'll just stop here, as long as everyone agrees that there are plenty more examples where those came from.) These acts were each characterized as "military" in nature by the people were committed them and they were committed without UN or other international approval. So when al Qaeda stops driving airplanes into buildings without the prior consent of the international community, when Hamas stops sending teenage bombers into pizza places without authorization from the UN, and when whoever the hell it was in Pakistan that murdered Daniel Pearl stops slitting the throats of infidels without asking Europe pretty please, then, and only then, we can talk about US compliance with these global rules. Otherwise Patten's "global rules" are nothing more than a suicide pact.
Third: This is a fine sentiment. There are two possibilities here. The EU could develop its military power and place it at the disposal of the UN. I have no problem with that. But something tells me that Mr. Patten is not talking about European military power (because one does not normally talk about the need to "constrain" a capability that does not exist). No, methinks Mr. Patten has US military power in mind. That leads me to the second alternative: Mr. Patten can (a) immigrate to the US, (b) apply for citizenship, (c) run for and win elective office (or convince someone who has to hire him as an advisor), and (d) make his suggestions concerning US policy from that position. No problem there, either. Until either one of those alternatives occurs, though, Mr. Patten really has nothing to say that I would be interested in listening to. He is either talking about European military power, (which, with the exception of the British seems to be largely nonexistent) or US military power. But, you see, I'm just not interested in Mr. Patten's opinion concerning how the US should exercise the power acquired (at great cost) by the US for the US in defense of the US.
Fourth: Who makes these "global" rules? Would it be, perchance, a certain collection of national leaders who frequent a building on the East River in New York City and whose rule in their own countries can, in large part, be charitably described as despotic and/or corrupt? Or are we talking about a smaller, more efficient group of nations, who shall remain nameless but whose capitals are Paris and Berlin? The current leaders of each of these countries has made it abundantly clear that, in their respective opinions, there are absolutely no circumstances which justify the use of military force. Therefore the talk of "legitimizing" military intervention is, to say the least, poppycock. Plainly, if these nameless leaders of these nameless nations had their druthers, there would never be any military intervention to legitimize. So why are they interested in having an international organization (consisting of two nations or two hundred) with which to legitimize the use of force that will never be used?
Fifth: Given French and German (oops, they were supposed to remain anonymous) actions over the last year or so, it will be a cold day in hell before I consent to giving Europe or anyone else a veto over US policy, foreign or otherwise. The proposal being made by Patten is that someone who we will never get to vote for and who therefore does not have to answer politically to America or Americans, will control a large chunk of American foreign policy and (because there is no power without the power of the purse) about one third to one half of the federal budget. God knows, there are many things that Bush favors with which I vehemently disagree (abortion in general, the Patriot Act, Patriot Act the sequel, politically correct feel good airport security measures, public prayer, consumption of strong drink, the proper method of consuming pretzels ...). But I do agree with the overall direction of the administration, especially concerning foreign policy. Patten and the EU, on the other hand, are, imho, going in exactly the wrong direction, in terms of both foreign and domestic policy. Since I will never get to vote against Patten (unless he decides to take the above advice and immigrate) I really don't want the UN, the EU, Patten or any other EUnik, in control of any policy concerns of this country.