Thursday, February 22, 2007

Opinion (Strobe Talbott ): Anatomy of a disaster

WASHINGTON: With the toll of the Iraq war mounting daily and the U.S. Congress gridlocked over how to extricate its troops from the quagmire, the questions that everyone asks are what went wrong, and how can the United States recover?

The answer to the first question can be summed up in one word: unilateralism. While the senior George Bush was an arch-multilateralist, his son has been an arch-unilateralist. Profoundly skeptical about the utility of international treaties, international institutions and international law, the current president annulled, un-signed or otherwise withdrew from a range of international agreements and mechanisms — the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, the International Criminal Court, the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.

Those examples of unilateralism and numerous others were gratuitous. There was no pressing need to shatter or suspend the work of decades.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune