From El Diario
March 22nd, 2003
By Guillermo Martinez
This isnt a moment for recriminations or questions without
answers. Today we have to speak with a single voice.
American troops of all colors, creeds, and ethnicities are going
to war. Men and women of the armed forces are in danger and need
our support; just like the Commander -in-Chief needs the support
of the American troops.
To disagree, discuss, or simply express our opinion about the politics
of this country is a Constitutional right. But in these moments
the only thing we achieve by doing so is to give support to our
History will judge President George W. Bush and determine if his
diplomatic efforts were sincere or just theatre. History will come
to the conclusion of whether this is a just war and if this is the
moment to start a battle. Time and history will also decide if the
United Nations is an organism of relevance in these types of situations
and will judge the cynicism and obstinacy of France. We will never
know with certainty if the United States would have been able to
get from the 15 members of the Security Council the nine votes necessary
to support the use of force to disarm Saddam Hussein. The threat
of a French veto never permitted it.
The president of Chile, Ricardo Lagos, explained this with clarity
when he said that it didnt make sense for the indecisive members
of the Security Council to vote when France had promised to veto
any resolution that would give Saddam Hussein an ultimatum. President
Bush wanted the countries of the Security Council to show
their cards until he realized that it didnt make sense
for them to do so. Frances veto had made these countries irrelevant.
However, this war is very different than the one that took place
in the same desert arena 12 years ago. Then, the first President
George Bush succeeded in arming a formidable coalition of allies
opposed to the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. His was a much easier
argument to stress the necessity of fighting against a country that
had invaded a neighbor without any provocation.
Now the United States has less international endorsement, although
George Bushs coalition of the willing is more
than what its critics say it is. The United States, Great Britain,
Spain, and Bulgaria are not alone. The majority of governments in
Europe if not the people back the United States.
Thirty countries publicly endorse the American initiative and 15
more have done so in private. They believe that toppling a genocidal
dictator is more important than worrying about the United States
using their military power to act in an imperial manner.
But the Untied States is more isolated today than it has been in
any other moment in recent history. Canada has decided not to lend
their military support. Mexico and Chile never backed the American
resolution in the United Nations.
Less than two years ago, Mexican President Vincente Fox was a much
better friend to President Bush, and was closer to the American
President than any other Mexican President had been in recent history.
Because of that, the foreign minister of Mexico, Jorge Castaneda,
who was a leftist in his youth, risked his political career for
the belief that the personal relationship between the two ranching
presidents would lead to the forging of a new and lasting alliance
between Mexico and its neighbor to the north.
September 11th changed everything.
From that date forward, the United States viewed all foreigners
with resentment. It had to start a war without boundaries against
fundamentalist terror in all corners of the world. And it separated
President Bush from his Mexican colleague. Left orphaned was the
promise to look for a way to regularize the status of the at least
three million Mexicans who live and work in the United States without
documents. There were intentions to continue the conversations between
Secretary of State Colin Powell and Castaneda. Mexico continued
to advocate for the measure, with the hopes that the United States
would find the time to pay attention to the necessities of Mexicans.
But those intentions failed. Castaneda had to resign, and placed
the blame on a foreign policy strategy based on better diplomatic
relations with the United States. Two years after the ranchers promised
that the two countries would be great neighbors, Mexico declined
to support the United States in the United Nations.
In the Western Hemisphere, the United States could count on the
support of Nicaragua. Chile also did not back the American initiative,
even with negotiations about the Free Trade Area of the Americas
Today it is crucial that the American government look to the future.
It should not, it cannot, continue ignoring its neighbors and believe
that they will come to back the United States in times of need.
Translated From Spanish By Joshua Brustein
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