From the Prime Minister's speech at Georgetown University yesterday:
But the danger of leaving things as they are, is ad hoc coalitions for action that stir massive controversy about legitimacy; or paralysis in the face of crisis.From an article in today's Guardian by Martin Kettle:
Morally, it is hard to argue with the way Blair depicts the world. His is a view shared by more people than would care to admit it. He sees a wrong that needs righting - be it Saddam's oppression, Milosevic's ethnic cleansing, the killing in Darfur or whatever - and he wants the world to join together to right it. And so it should. But what if the world chooses not to? Blair's answer at Georgetown yesterday is that either the global institutions must change so that they act - the solution he has always preferred - or that the wrong must be righted anyway by those with the power and commitment to do it, thus stirring the kind of controversy about legitimacy that has poisoned the whole Iraq episode.Martin Kettle is right: it is hard to argue with Blair's logic. Those who want to argue with it should face up to the consequence of doing so. The ideal thing would be a framework of international law and a UN structure such that, when there is a need for intervention to save people in one or another country from being slaughtered in their tens of thousands, the international community is able to act swiftly and effectively. But if this ideal doesn't exist and isn't brought into being by institutional reform, and if the UN therefore fails to intervene effectively in 'conscience-shocking situations', then 'concerned states may not rule out other means to meet the gravity and urgency' of these situations - as the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty concluded in 2001. Is there a third way? Yes. Genocide or mass slaughter just goes ahead, and the words 'never again' remain an empty phrase. One shouldn't pretend there's an easy way of escaping these options.