What Does The UN Block?

For even more coverage of the Daalder/Kagan op-ed see Mark Leon Goldberg, who points out that in the post-Cold War era the UN Security Coucil actually authorizes the deployment of troops fairly frequently. It's refused to do so twice, and one of those times was Iraq, so by any reasonable criteria adopting a "listen to the UN" rule wouldn't have been superior to what was actually done in the world. One might add that a far larger problem than inability to secure UN approval for worthwhile missions is the unwillingness of member states to contribute sufficient resources to authorized missions.

Last, one should note that the Daalder/Kagan alternative of using force when our "democratic partners in Europe and Asia" agree and, indeed, "even when some of our democratic friends disagree" arguably means that Iraq fits the test. We didn't get much meaningful help from any country other than the UK, but the formal coalition was quite broad and included Albania, Australia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey among European or Asian democracies.

In other words, if you think the main lesson of Iraq is that we need to pretend we've learned important lessons while adhering to the same basic doctrines, then this is a great proposal.