April 02, 2004

Just and Unjust Occupations

Michael Walzer, author of Just and Unjust Wars and Spheres of Justice (about which I blogged here), has an interesting article in Dissent magazine on Just and Unjust Occupations, with his thoughts on the occupation in Iraq.

As always, well reasoned and worth reading.

Posted by richard at April 2, 2004 08:35 PM

Very good article. I liked the penultimate paragraph, that outlines how a US president might internationalize the reconstruction effort in Iraq (and the obstacles to do so):

"Whatever the prehistory of its achievement, a stable and democratic Iraq, even a relatively stable and more or less democratic Iraq, would be a good thing for the Middle East generally, for Europe and Japan, and (if it was involved in the achievement) for the UN. Given the likely benefits, why shouldn't the international community contribute to the costs of an occupation whose justice it could then guarantee? If the European Union had a larger sense of its global responsibilities, if its constituent states were really interested in modifying American behavior (rather than just complaining about it), they would make the contribution. But that is not going to happen. The Europeans want to share authority without sharing costs; the Bush administration wants to share costs without sharing authority. It is possible to imagine a makeshift compromise between them but not a serious cooperation. These are opposed but equally untenable positions, and the result of the opposition is simply to confirm American unilateralism."

This is damning for Bush. Other countries may wish to punish him, but they should be more willing to cooperate with new leadership on a rational, prospective basis.

Posted by: Michael Weiksner at April 5, 2004 06:30 PM