Jewish World Review August 30, 2013/ 24 Elul, 5773
What's so great about coalitions?
By Jonah Goldberg
This week the
I can certainly understand why some see this as a legal or political necessity. International law says that nations should seek approval of the
But if you think such accusations are nonsense -- as I do -- then what's left is the political case. This argument holds that we must placate a poltergeist called "world opinion." But this will-o'-the-wisp is as fickle as it is elusive. Obama has been chasing it in the
A related reason, we're told, to seek U.N. approval is that other nations need it if they're going to join our coalition. Fair enough. But there's often a Catch-22 here in that it's hard to get a coalition without U.N. approval, and it's hard to get U.N. approval without a coalition. One way to cut through the Gordian knot is to ask, "What's so great about coalitions?"
Sure, it's always better to have friends and allies pitching in -- many hands make light work and all that. But if something is in America's vital national interest, it doesn't cease to be because
Somehow this basic fact was lost in the last decade or so. According to liberals in the Bush years, the essence of wise foreign policy boiled down to: "It's better to be wrong in a big group than to be right alone."
Anyway, what I really don't get is the investment of moral authority in the
Now, taking nothing away from the great and glorious accomplishments of the Luxembourgeois, Togoans and Rwandans -- never mind the invaluable insights the Pakistanis have into what constitute America's vital interests -- I am at a near-total loss to see how gaining their approval for a measure makes that measure more worthwhile. If you believe
And then there are the permanent five. It's worth remembering they have their seats on the council simply by virtue of the fact they were the great powers at the end of World War II. One irony is that the people who routinely insist the U.S. must seek approval from the U.N. are also the sorts of people who blithely opine that "might doesn't make right." Well, the council's authority is derived entirely from the idea that might does make right. More important, by what perverted moral calculus does the approval of
But there is a deliberative body that has significant moral, political and legal authority when it comes to the conduct of American foreign policy. It's called "
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