Monday, July 24, 2006

Does War Need UN Approval?

Many in the United States, including Catholics, have a kneejerk disdain for the United Nations. Typically, this is based on the fervent nationalism that underpins much of US political life, and this is rooted firmly in secular ideology. Hence John Kerry was widely mocked for his position that Bush should have dealt with the Iraq issue from a multilateral perspective, under the auspices of the UN.

Elsewhere, people see it differently, including in the Vatican. John Allen addressed this issue earlier in the year, when he talked about how refinements to just war teaching for the 21st century would be one of the principal major issues facing Pope Benedict XVI. He notes that many Catholic Americans-- such as Robert George, Fr. Richard John Neuhuas, George Weigel and Michael Novak-- tried (to various degrees) to argue that Bush's invasion of Iraq was in not line with just war teaching. See here for a summary of this work. Much of it revolves around the nature of modern terrorism. But the Vatican did not buy this line in the Iraqi context, largely because of concerns about "last resort" and "competent authority" (this refers to the UN).

But, in the words of John Allen:
"...Vatican diplomats, and to some extent Benedict XVI, size up the global situation differently than many American analysts. Especially key is the question of sovereignty, and the extent to which one can meaningfully speak of a global sovereignty invested in international organizations such as the United Nations. Does justice ad bellum in the 21st century require that the United Nations approve the use of force? A closely related issue is the rule of law, and the binding force of international law. Events may well compel the pope to clarify how the traditional principles of Just War analysis, or "humanitarian intervention," should be applied to new historical circumstances."

1 comment:

John Lowell said...

Hello Morning's Minion!

You are most generous to our Reich's Church friends, Neuhaus and Novak, but you are certainly right as to content. Maybe it's my age and, therefore, a rather considerable exposure to these birds that explains my concern with their warmongering. I don't think that the gulf between them and the Vatican is as easily accounted for as is explained here.

Here's a piece I did a few months back on Neuhaus that might hold interest for you:

I think the differences can be more adequately assessed in terms of Neuhaus' personal political loyalties than anything else. There's a much larger and more ominous tendency here that's evolved and its gotten expression in Neuhaus' difficulties with David Schindler to name one area.

Best of luck with your new blog!

John Lowell