USA drives itself into moral and political isolation

Spain is pulling its troops out of Iraq and its decision has already triggered off a chain reaction. It is poor consolation for Washington that,as Condoleezza Rice says, there are troops from more than 30 countries in Iraq, because most of these countries are clearly oppressed by their allied commitments.

The recent explosions in Saudi Arabia and Basra confirmed the conclusion of some political scientists that the Americans, while overthrowing dictators they do not like in violation of the generally recognised norms of international law, open the door to terrorist and radical groups who also violate norms of international conduct. In other words, a malignant tumour of international terrorism has appeared and is growing in Iraq. This is a great pity, as the proclaimed US goal was to establish a democratic regime in that Middle Eastern country.

International terrorism has won a small battle in the long and difficult war and presents it as the ability to force its political will on the international community in some situations. The world should draw the appropriate conclusions from this.

Moreover, Washington's Iraqi policy has become a kind of irritant in relations between major powers, which has a negative effect on their interaction. To Russia and several other countries, this policy has also brought considerable economic losses. Many experts believe that the war in Iraq was launched to give US business the opportunity to establish itself in the world's oil-richest region. However, this should not be taken as a pretext for confrontation. Instead, the world should persistently apply political and diplomatic tools to return the situation to the international legal territory of the UN. And the more difficult the situation becomes for the USA, the more chances the world has for attaining its goal.

British premier Tony Blair has been talking recently about the need for the UN to assume a guiding role in Iraq. We have done our bit, he infers. But the US Administration is stubbornly carrying on, saying it may have need for Kofi Annan, but only after it has settled the problem. So, Bush will hardly allow any changes in his policy before the presidential elections, as any other decision would look like defeat.

Washington's persistence means death for thousands more Iraqis (both Shiites and Sunnites) and US, British, Ukrainian and other servicemen, who allegedly came to Iraq to help search for weapons of mass destruction. Instead, they became accomplices in the banal occupation of a sovereign state with a vague end goal that has nothing in common with the proclaimed aims.

The Iraqi gambit of Bush and Cheney also split the main members of the counter-terrorist coalition, whose creation presupposed a new quality of international understanding.

The scandalous book "Against All Enemies" by Richard Clarke, senior member of the national security staff of the preceding two US presidents, and the political studies by prominent journalist Bob Woodward, who helped dig Richard Nixon's political grave, provide an alarming picture of how crucial military-political decisions are taken in the "most democratic" country of the world. It turns out that the decisions are taken by a very narrow group of people in deep secrecy. For example, Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, a US official whom the world views as a kind of symbol, did not take part in drafting the decision on the Iraqi war. Moreover, it is rumoured that he learned about the decision later than the crown prince of Saudi Arabia did.

There is an evident crisis of trust in Washington's public statements in the world. A special Congressional investigation department has established that the Bush administration has made 237 official statements that have no relation to reality since 2002. In plain English, it lied. It is true that lies are used frequently in modern politics, but not that frequently.

A great power, which deceived the world community with the proclaimed goals of its military operation in Iraq, launched it without the UN mandate and ruined the country, will be doomed to moral and political isolation.

Leieutenant General Gennady Yevstafyev (Rtd.), b. 1938, worked for the Soviet Foreign Ministry and was special adviser to the UN Secretary General in 1981-1985. From 1986 to 1991, he was one of the heads of the Soviet delegation at the CFE talks in Vienna. He worked for the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) of Russia for a long time and headed the department of disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). From 2000 to 2003, he worked in the Russian office in NATO, dealing with issues of terrorism and WMD non-proliferation. He is the author of several publications on disarmament and WMD non-proliferation and a co-author of the SVR report, "New Challenge After the Cold War." He is currently an independent expert on WMD non-proliferation.

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