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When "Unilateralism" Entered the Lexicon

As I posted recently, I think those who argue that President Bush has set a precedent whereby the U.N. must sign off on any U.S. military action approach the issue without historical context. In the December 23 print edition of National Review, I just came across this from an Andrew Stuttaford review of Peacekeeping Fiascoes of the 1990s: Causes, Solutions, and U.S. Interests by Frederick H. Fleitz:

The rot began in the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War. As Fleitz explains, supporters of a more activist U.N. "seized on the fact that Operation Desert Storm was authorized by the U.N. Security Council" as proof that a new era had arrived. The U.N.'s role in approving the Gulf War was said by many liberals to herald "an end to the unilateral use of military force, at least by the United States." But as Fleitz correctly observes, "these claims... ignored the reality that the first Bush administration used the U.N. endorsement... largely as a fig leaf to protect the sensitivities of America's Middle East allies."

Posted by Justin Katz @ 10:06 AM EST