Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Thursday, April 24, 2003

Iraq War Brings about Profound Impact on World

With United States warplanes and tanks heading home, the war in Iraq is close to an end in much shorter time than predicted. However, the impact the war has brought to the world seems to be profound and significant.


With United States warplanes and tanks heading home, the war in Iraq is close to an end in much shorter time than predicted. However, the impact the war has brought to the world seems to be profound and significant.

Some analysts believe the Iraq war is an offspring of preemption and has dealt a heavy blow to the principle of sovereignty.

Moreover, they say the US defiance of the United Nations frustrates the international community which has made unremitting efforts in safeguarding the credibility and authority of the world body.

The breakout of the Iraq war was not accidental. Since the Sept.11, 2001 terror attacks on the US mainland, the conservatives have adamantly advocated doctrines of unilateralism and preemption.

The key point of preemption, according to American "National Security Strategy" made public last September, is that the United States "will not hesitate to act alone" if necessary, and to destroy any threat before it reaches its borders.

In other words, the US could use force to invade a sovereign country or to topple a government of a sovereign state based on its judgment of possible foreign, external threats.

Iraq, part of what US president George W. Bush called the "axis of evil," became the first case of the preemption doctrine. The United States repeatedly claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) which, it said, posed a great threat to its security.

The Americans finally launched the war on Iraq under the banner of disarmament, despite the fact that UN inspectors had made major headway in the weapons inspection and found no evidence of Iraq hiding WMD before the war began.

In an article published in The Washington Post on April 14, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger said "Preemption ran counter to established principles of sovereignty that justified war only as resistance to aggression or the imminence of attacks."

Analysts also worry that the Iraqi case will be a dangerous precedent that could have negative consequences on the world order, because there are some countries that have already asserted the right of preemptive strike in state-to-state conflicts.

The breakout of Iraq war has also undermined the authority of the United Nations, a world body consisting of sovereign states. With safeguarding world peace and security as its primary tenet, the United Nations is widely considered an effective multilateral mechanism to address the disputes of the world today.

Originally, the United States brought the issue of Iraq before the UN Security Council in hope of seeking a resolution authorizing the attack on Iraq.

However, the US intention, which gave rise to fierce disputes, met strong opposition in the Security Council, and the setback in the United Nations prompted the United States to take unilateral actions against Iraq without UN authorization.

Some analysts even suggest that the controversy inside the UN building was in essence about what had become two conflicting views of the world -- a unipolar or multipolar world.

"Any community with only one dominant power is always a dangerous one," French President Jacques Chirac said in an interview with the Time magazine. "That's why I favor a multipolar world, in which Europe obviously has its place."

The schism within the European Union (EU) was another impact ofthe Iraq war, which divided the European continent into what US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld called "old" and "new" Europe.

The rise of the "new" Europe, local press said, would no doubt weaken the EU's endeavor to achieve its goal of speaking with one voice in terms of diplomacy.

The disputes in the Security Council that pitted France and Germany against the United States and Britain have also hurt traditional transatlantic relations, which have plummeted to their lowest point historically.

Now, with the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein, differences over who should play a leading role in post-war Iraqi reconstruction come to the surface.

The soured transatlantic ties have caused unease among some politicians, including Dr. Kissinger, who said: "If the existing trend in transatlantic relations continues, the international system will be fundamentally altered."

"Europe will split into two groups defined by their attitude toward cooperation with America," he added.

Also, there are signs indicating that the US goal of invading Iraq is more than oil. Great changes have always taken place after a war in terms of geopolitical patterns. Bush and his aides sometimes acknowledged that the war was about far more than just Iraq, according to The New York Times.

The report said Iraq was the first step in the US strategy to spread "democracy" in the Middle East. The United States hoped that through the transformation by force, Iraq could have "exemplary effects" on other Arab nations so as to bring about changes in the region.

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