Tim Blair


New Criterion



Sunday, February 16, 2003
THE RIGHTEOUS TONE of the Sadamites on the Security Council, and their enthusiasm for capitulating to this dangerous tyrant, reminds Uncle of the famous occasion in 1936 when the Oxford Union, normally a focus of privilege rather than leftism, resolved "we will not fight for King and country". There was the same vacillation before an ascending tyrant, the same acknowledgement of the "injustices" his victims suffered at the hands of others, a similar Franco-Russian deal followed by failure to act on Hitlers' invasion of the Rhineland, effectively confirming the political position of Hitler's military adventurism in official Berlin.

There are, of course, also big differences. So far, the shape of the beast we face is not so well defined. Bin Laden may be dead, or may soon be dead. The amateurs of al Quaeda may be replaced by the better-founded regimes who read opportunity into the present confusion of Western countries. North Korea's powers of destruction are already vastly greater than Iraq's and their tyrant's options fewer.

It is not accidental that pacifism and political capitulation go hand in hand. They destroy international security and multiply the death toll. If, on this occasion, they win and bring the dire consequences that must follow Uncle predicts that the political left and the mindless fellow-travellers will accept no more responsibility for the consequences of their action than did their counterparts of the 1930s.

And if the hazardous enterpise of Bush's Coalition of the Willing fails, in part from the combination of opportunism and pacifism we see on the Security Council, the Schadenfreude of the left will comfort them enormously while their fellow-citizens suffer the consequences.