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The Imperfect World of Global Health Estimates
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The Imperfect World of Global Health Estimates – Healthy Newborn Network
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Withoutabox Submit to Film Festivals. Reaction in this case could involve preemption if the information that an attack is imminent is sufficiently reliable. States cannot, in the last resort, delegate the task of deciding on the reliability of this information to some other body.
If a state has reasonable grounds for believing itself to be in danger of being the victim of aggression, it has the right to act in self-defense. This right would be strengthened if the state in question had rejected prevention as a general strategy because cases in which preemptive action was genuinely necessary would then be less likely to be misinterpreted. In the extreme, states cannot be expected to delegate to others the decision of whether sufficient grounds exist to justify preemption, but they should be obliged to explain their reasoning in public and to seek wide approval for their actions.
However imperfect the existing institutional structure may be, it is the only one there is, and there is no possibility that it will become more effective if it is ignored in a crisis or treated with contempt by those who have the power to act alone. What is important in this context is not the formal legal implication of particular votes, but the search for approval and consent. For example, the fact that NATO was unable to achieve a UN Security Council resolution endorsing its action in Kosovo in is perhaps less significant than the fact that a motion condemning its actions was defeated by twelve votes to three, the twelve including countries such as Malaysia and Argentina, on whose support NATO cannot always rely.
Self-Defense in an Imperfect World [Full Text]
The veto power of Russia and China prevented a positive vote, but NATO was able, nonetheless, to claim a degree of legitimacy for its action. Legitimacy should be an issue. It is best if states behave prudently, and in extreme circumstances they will act as judges in their own cause.
But they must justify themselves to the wider world through all available channels. How does this translate into a consideration of potential action against Iraq? By the time this article appears it is likely to have been overtaken by events, but the principles that apply can still be set down. As of now, the United States and the United Kingdom have presented ample evidence that the current Iraqi regime poses a serious threat to the security of the region, its own people, and thus, indirectly, the world.
Twice in the last quarter century Saddam Hussein has launched unprovoked acts of aggression against his neighbors, and well over a million people have died as a result. Should Iraq come into possession of serious stocks of WMD the possibility of another such act of aggression is quite high, as is the possibility that such stocks could be transferred to third parties.
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The world should respond to this potential danger, as the UN Security Council has recognized in Resolution What is less clear is that the present strategy of containment has failed. If it is accepted that insecurity is an inherent feature of the current international order, and that the search for total security is chimerical, then good reasons are required to reject the policy of containment in favor of immediate action.
So far such reasons have not been provided. There is, however, one argument that is not usually employed by those who wish to see preemptive action but which is quite compelling. Even though it is probably not the case that the often-quoted figure of half a million Iraqi children killed by sanctions is anywhere near accurate—all such figures come ultimately from the Iraqi regime, even if they are given credence by other bodies—and although the responsibility for civilian suffering can be laid at the door of the Iraqi regime itself rather than at that of the United Nations, the main victims of containment have been innocent Iraqis and not the regime itself.
The fact that such sanctions are so often regarded as morally superior to acts of violence that target the regime itself and its military defenders is a striking commentary on the inability of many progressively minded Westerners to think clearly on this subject. That the innocent are suffering is usually presented by the antiwar movement as a reason for abandoning the sanctions regime on which containment is based, but it can equally, and much more sensibly, be seen to provide the best available justification for moving away from containment and employing force to bring about a change in the Iraqi regime.
An overthrow in this case would involve a particular kind of humanitarian intervention, and the politics and ethics of humanitarian intervention are rarely seen in the same context as discussions of preemptive war.
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In both cases preemption is involved, but on a different moral basis. Normally, preemption is discussed in the context of a potential act of aggression, that is, an immediate threat to state sovereignty, the assumption being that the territorial integrity and political independence of the sovereign state are the supreme values protected by any international order.
However, for the last fifty years such sovereignty norms have been accompanied by a growing body of norms that challenges the right of sovereign states to do whatever they like to their own people, summarized by the idea of universal human rights.