US Air Strikes on Sudan and Afghanistan: Vital Questions and Important Lessons
15 Sep, 1998 · 142
Seema Narain says U.S. action when viewed from a broader strategic perspective moral and legal appropriateness, seems glaringly irrational
Firstly, viewed from the logic of
In the aftermath of the Soviet disintegration,
The de-emphasis on nuclear weapons in the aftermath of the cold war has been accompanied by a shift in the priority of WMD from nuclear to chemical and biological weapons. These weapons are easily procurable and have a great 'kill' capacity. They are not only the weapons of the weak (2nd class military powers) but because of their easy accessibility and easy institutional infrastructure for storage, these WMD become attractive to terrorists and non-state actors.
The American military establishment has geared itself to meet this 'new threat' and there has been a policy shift to wards pre-emption to deal with a changing security environment. The exhibition of unilateral force has also been possible because the
However, there is a second side of the argument.
It has also abrogated the sovereign rights of
The U.S. ventures is 'risky' also because the U.S. missile which hit, Pakistani territory, could have been miscalculated as an Indian assault in view of the enduring 'adversarial' relationship between the two neighbors, often characterized within the U.S. intelligence, DOD and the U.S. media as potentially the greatest nuclear 'flash point.'
The missile strikes are totally unjustifiable on grounds of "self-defence" vide article 51 of the U.N. because such actions can only be taken in the event of an armed attack against a member state.
The response of the international community also remains mixed. Some were muted. Others, ambiguous. The international community has not come out with any equivocal statement of support. The
The U.S. Precedent also sets the tone for other states to use unilateral force as an instrument of diplomacy as well as to deter states from thwarting their national interest, pre-emptively. 'Might' will then establish 'right' in international relations. Anarchy will remain the organization principle.
In conclusion, the
International action to be universally acceptable has to the broad based and consistent with accepted norms of international law.
The air strikes also highlight attention to the indecencies of the prevailing international mechanisms to cabinet terrorism.
It urges the need to commit and strengthen institutional mechanisms and procedures for collective action to make a more effective international regime to counter international terrorism and the proliferation of WMDs.
The precision and accuracy of cruise missiles is debatable as targeted missiles deviated markedly from their guided trajectory.
It is time to democratize and strengthen the United Nations system to deal effectively with global issues in an era of complex interdependence, and reinforce its continued relevance. Better late, than never.
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