War could result in new world order, diplomat says
Last Updated: March 13, 2003
Much more is at stake in the bitter debate over Iraq than disarming
Saddam Hussein because the choices made in countering terrorism will have
long-term consequences that could include the emergence of a new
international order, a veteran diplomat said Thursday.
The United Nations and NATO almost certainly will be different, said
Arnold Kanter, who was an undersecretary of state and special assistant to
the president for national security affairs before joining the Scowcroft
Group consulting firm as a founder in the early 1990s.
Nations in Europe and elsewhere are having to choose sides for or
against U.S. policy while Germany and France maneuver to become Europe's
dominant leader, he said.
And with the United States saying it is necessary to wage pre-emptive
wars, there are concerns about whether the U.S. will use its military
dominance to make such decisions collaboratively or imperiously in the
future, Kanter said.
Kanter was one of four speakers at the Pabst Theater on Thursday
afternoon at the annual Kennan Forum on International Issues, run by the
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The theme was "If You Want Peace . . .
Prepare for War?"
The others included Marc Grossman, a top State Department official who
formerly served as ambassador to Turkey; Matthew Rothschild, editor of the
Progressive magazine, a Madison-based voice for peace and social justice;
and former U.S. Rep. Tom Barrett, who was asked on barely an hour's notice
to fill in after Linda Fasulo, NBC's U.N. correspondent, canceled her
appearance to cover developments at the U.N.
Kanter, who said he was taking an objective, analytical stance,
stressed how difficult the Iraq problem is. It is the subject of
legitimate debate, and anyone who thinks they know the answers does not
appreciate the issues, he said.
Grossman, undersecretary of state for political affairs, argued that
the U.S. has been trying to go through the U.N. instead of acting on its
own, but that people have to appreciate that Iraq is the nexus where
terrorists, technology and weapons of mass destruction meet.
He argued that the Cold War doctrine of containment, with a strong
military deterrence that sometimes must be used, remained valid.
He said U.S. leaders hoped that their military buildup in the Middle
East would force Hussein to finally disarm.
Asked in an interview whether this was a historic moment of change, he
said, "I think we're at a historic watershed not so much in terms of
defining the response, but in defining the threat. And it is clear to me
that there is a new threat in this world, and the threat is international
terrorism carried out anywhere at any time, combined with the questions of
weapons of mass destruction.
"And so, how we organize ourselves to deal with that threat is a new
question. Whether that changes everything, I don't know. We've succeeded
thus far in terms of the war on terrorism with the institutions that we
Rothschild argued that preparing for war failed in Vietnam and produced
a reckless game of chicken during the Cuban missile crisis. "If you want
peace," he said, "work for peace."
He said that Hussein had not been shown to be a serious threat to the
U.S., that it was clear that President Bush has been planning all along to
wage war, and that such a war would be unconstitutional and would violate
the U.N. charter unless supported by the Security Council.
A version of this story appeared in the Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel on March 14, 2003.