status of the United States as the sole surviving superpower, and to
the inability of the UN to defend its interests and integrity.
The UN's failure was due in part to the global distribution of
power that conditions the world in which it operates and in part to
its own organizational deficiencies, which benefit the United States
Although the UN could do little or nothing about global inequities
of power and access to resources, it should tackle some of its shortcomings, including the balance of power between the General Assembly and the Security Council. If any changes occur, they could be
claimed as the "good news" of the Gulf crisis. Otherwise the "bad
news" surrounding the crisis must also be deemed applicable to the UN and its performance. The UN, however, cannot be blamed for
the war itself. As President Bush replied when asked what he would
have done if the UN had refused to accede to U.S. demands: "I
might have said, 'To hell with them, it's right and wrong, it's good
and evil; he [ Saddam Hussein] is evil, our cause is right, and--
without the UN--sent a considerable force to help'."
New York Times, 23 August 1990.
Norman Finkelstein, "Israel and Iraq: A Double Standard," Journal
of Palestine Studies 20(Winter 1991): 43-56.
Minneapolis Tribune, 4 August 1991.
Robin Wright, "Unexplored Realities of the Persian Gulf Crisis," The
Middle East Journal 45 (Winter 1991): 28-29.
Bruce Russett and
James E. Sutterlin, "The UN in a New World
Order," Foreign Affairs (Spring 1991): 69.
Anthony Parsons, "The United Nations Comes into Its Own," Middle East International 382 ( 31 August 1990): 29.
Christopher Greenwood, "Iraq's Invasion of Kuwait: Some Legal
Issues," The World Today 47 ( March 1991):41.
It has been claimed that Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney used
such photographs to convince King Fahd that an invasion was imminent.
See Bob Woodward, The Commanders ( New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991): 263-74. A former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, James Akins,
believes those photographs may have been purposely misinterpreted by the
U.S. administration in order to dupe Fahd. Speech given by Akins at the Annual Conference of the Australasian Middle East Studies Association, Sydney, 26 July 1991.