Beyond the threats, the lies and the diplomatic manoeuvres, we could be
witnessing the ultimate end game in a two-decade project of deregulation -
the deregulation of international relations.
The consensus reached after the ravages of World War II look like going
the same way as the post-Depression Keynsian economic consensus and the
still-born environmental consensus of Rio and Kyoto.
The architect of its destruction is a far-right US administration born
of the culture wars of the 90s, oil-hungry extremists who won the
Republican Party, the Congress and then the Presidency with a potent mix
of lies, dirty tricks and big corporate dollars.
Their mission has been to cut the State out of every sphere of life,
except, of course, defence - where the massive corporate donors dominate
the one remaining subsidised industry left in their lean and mean world.
These Deficit Hawks cut all layers of public spending for the poor,
quarantining defence and delivering a trillion dollar tax cut to the rich;
until they have a new surplus to squander on armaments.
Until they achieve their ultimate goal - a system where the only valid
regulations are those that ensure corporations have freedom of movement;
where the only rule is that of the market, controlled by the executive
class whose idea of society begins and ends with their shareholders.
On a global stage, they have trashed international cooperation on
climate change, multilateral trade and an International War Crimes
Tribunal, while demanding the UN bend to its will on Iraq.
And all the way with Dubya, our own brown-nosin' PM, chief cheerleader
in the Coalition of the Willing, talking up our obligations to America,
while squibbing on our international responsibilities on refugees - many
of whom are fleeing the dictator we are now told must be eradicated.
Maintaining the fight for a system of rules are those who felt the
brunt of WWII - France, Germany and Russia - insisting it must be the UN
that deals with the real threat that Saddam Hussein poses the world,
knowing more than most that national interest carries untold pain for
But there is a growing sense that the USA will block this push,
pressuring the UN Security Council into approving US intervention in Iraq
or risk being circumvented and rendered completely irrelevant.
If this occurs, those of us opposed to a War in Iraq face a difficult
dilemma; having argued for months that the US must not act unilaterally,
what do we do if the UN gives its rubber stamp?
For a union movement that sees a global system of international
conventions under the auspices of such bodies as the ILO, UNHCR and UN
Security Council as one of the key rays of hope for regulating global
capital, this is an important call.
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