The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
I have been wondering where superhawk imperialist extraordinaire Cooper has been keeping himself. Voila lui enfin! ...with Salana? pg http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1068851,00.html Civilise or die We can no longer afford to ignore weak or aggressive states. Regime change is necessary Robert Cooper Thursday October 23, 2003 The Guardian At his trial for an anarchist bomb outrage, the Texas IRS employee Albert Parsons declared: "Dynamite makes all men equal, and therefore makes them free." As it turned out, dynamite did nothing of the kind. But its successors may come closer to fulfilling the anarchist's dream. Nuclear weapons have a unique capacity for destruction and biological weapons may soon be capable of killing people in great numbers. Neither will make men free - rather the reverse - but they may make men equal. For the first time since the middle ages, individuals or groups will possess destructive power that puts them on equal terms with the state. The same process that has brought the technology of destruction has also brought the emancipation of thought and of lives. And the process of modernisation that brings these things itself provides tension and conflict; 19th-century nationalism, the cultural revolution, fascism and communism and Islamic extremism are all responses to modernisation. Al-Qaida is both a reaction to modernism and a product of it: not just because it uses the internet or dreams of acquiring nuclear weapons, but because the belief itself that one can save the holy places from the infidel and overthrow governments by one's own actions is a part of the modern consciousness. Put these two trends together - access for individuals to powerful weapons and the liberation of the individual from loyalty to church, state or tradition - and we have the possibility that the state's monopoly on force may be under threat. This will not (I hope) come within our lifetime, but eventually the logic of technology and society will assert itself. We must ask ourselves what we should do. The most successful foreign policy strategy in living memory went under the name of containment. The essence of George Kennan's original concept was that you should defend yourself and wait for political change. Kennan, an American diplomat who served in Moscow for three decades, saw the cold war essentially as a political struggle - and he was right. It was a choice between two political systems, and in the end the choice was made through political rather than military means. The military battles of the cold war, all outside Europe, were not a great success for either side. Vietnam, the Horn of Africa, Korea, Nicaragua and Afghanistan were all left in a miserable condition. So we waited, according to Kennan's prescription (though 10 years longer than his guess). "I would rather wait 30 years for the defeat of the Kremlin to be brought about by the exasperatingly slow devices of diplomacy than to see us submit to the test of arms a difference so little susceptible to any clear and happy settlement by those means." Waiting for change was an appropriate strategy for the conflict between communism and capitalism, because each side believed that the other's system was doomed to collapse. It was relatively easy to believe political competition between two systems that were distant relatives - communism is as much a child of the enlightenment as liberal capitalism. It is less easy to understand today's enemies and be confident they will come to see the world as we do; and much less easy to know how we might defend ourselves against nuclear-armed enemies, especially if they are terrorists, not states. It is no use waiting while terrorists prepare an attack. And if governments wait while unstable or aggressive states acquire WMD, they may find that their options for dealing with the arsenals or their owners have disappeared. The only way we shall feel secure is in a world of well-run countries governed by law at home and obeying international rules abroad. The risks from small groups of fanatics will not go away, but we will have more chance of managing them. We could live with countries not obeying the rules when that meant no more than a small war or a small outrage, but not when they concern the fundamentals of security. The domestic governance of foreign countries has now become a matter of our own security. The world we are accustomed to - where every state minds its own business and others have no right to interfere - began to disappear with air travel, the internet, global television. With weapons of mass destruction it is gone forever. Multipolar deterrence in the Middle East would not be stable (the subcontinent is already a worry on its own). And the more such weapons proliferate, the greater the risk that terrorists will acquire them. Our only defence against such a world is the spread of civilisation. Thus we should all be in favour of regime change. The only question is how to achieve it. Military intervention costs lives and money, and regimes imposed from the outside rarely last. The US's 19-year occupation of Haiti left little in the way of working constitutional structures. The regimes imposed by the Soviet Union at the end of the second world war disappeared when the Soviet armies went home. There are exceptions; Hashemite rule in Jordan survived the departure of British forces (though it did not do so in Iraq). But these are not many. If regime change by force is to be made secure, it will end by becoming empire. One of the features about the 20th century was the disappearance of empire. Norway became independent in 1905; the first world war destroyed the Ottoman and Habsburg empires; America dismantled its empire in the interwar years; the second world war led to the dissolution of the British and French empires; and with the end of the cold war the Soviet empire also joined the bonfire of history. The end of empire left many problems. Imperial powers bequeathed the nation-state system to their colonies, but it has not worked well in either Africa or the Middle East. On September 11 2001, we understood that failed states, like WMD, could represent a mortal danger. If states cannot govern themselves, it is not safe to allow them to become a haven for terrorists or criminals. Here, also, empire seems to be the obvious choice. The difficulty is that empire does not work today. A century of emancipation, of national liberation movements and self-determination cannot be reversed. Empire has become illegitimate. But if containment does not work and empire is unacceptable, what is the alternative? On Europe's borders, a massive effort has been made to prevent Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia from becoming failed states. If this works it will not be because a solution has been imposed by force, but because the Bosnians and others want to be part of a greater European structure. The EU can in some respects be likened to an empire; it is a structure that sets standards of internal governance but in return offers its members a share in the decision-making, a place in the commonwealth. Across central Europe, countries have rewritten constitutions and changed laws to conform to European standards. This is a kind of regime change, but it is chosen, legitimate. This represents the spread of civilisation and good governance in lasting form. This is not to say that the only way to deal with terrorism is to extend the EU into the Middle East. Can we imagine a regional structure in the Middle East with security guarantees from the US or Nato, and assistance and market access in the EU, traded against guarantees of good governance? There are a thousand objections: suspicion of the west in general and the US in particular is such that no one in the region would take the idea seriously. But what else might stop the conflict in Palestine for good? Would anyone have the vision to try? It is not dynamite, nor even the fall of tyrants, that makes men free, but "good laws and good armies" (to quote Machiavelli). Foreign governments can impose neither, though they can assist in both, but only at a price. That price is high in time, risk, money and commitment. But it may be the price of our own security. &183; Robert Cooper works for Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief. The views in this article are his own and do not reflect either British or European policy firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk