Multilateralism & Slight of Hand

Adam's Apple

Senior Member
Apr 25, 2004
The Perils Of Using 'The Allies'
By Charles Krauthammer
August 25, 2006

Even the most ardent unilateralist always prefers multilateral support under one of two conditions: (1) There is something the allies will actually help accomplish or (2) there is nothing to be done anyway, so multilateralism gives you the cover of appearing to do something.

The six-party negotiations on North Korea are an example of the second. North Korea went nuclear a long time ago. Our time to act was during the Bush 41 and Clinton administrations. Nothing was done. And nothing can be done now. Once a country has gone nuclear, there is no return. The nukes themselves act as a deterrent against military measures. And no diplomat, however mellifluous, is going to talk a nuclear North Korea into dismantling the one thing that gives it any significance in the world.

Like most multilateral efforts, the six-party talks give only the appearance of activity, thereby providing cover to a hopelessly lost cause. Nothing wrong with that kind of multilateralism.

Lebanon is an example of the other category -- multilateralism that might actually accomplish something. The United States worked assiduously with France to draft a Security Council resolution that would create a powerful international force, and thus a real buffer, in south Lebanon. However, when the Lebanese government and the Arab League objected, France became their lawyer and renegotiated the draft with the United States. The State Department acquiesced to a far weaker resolution on the quite reasonable grounds that since France was going to lead and be the major participant in the international force, we should not be dictating the terms under which the force would operate.

for full article:

New Topics

Forum List