2002 November 01 Friday
No International Community For Collective Security

Here is Rudyard Kipling's Dane-geld:

IT IS always a temptation to an armed and agile nation,
    To call upon a neighbour and to say:—
“We invaded you last night—we are quite prepared to fight,
    Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
    And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
    And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation to a rich and lazy nation,
    To puff and look important and to say:—
“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
    We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
    But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
    You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
    For fear they should succumb and go astray,
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
    You will find it better policy to says:—

“We never pay any one Dane-geld,
    No matter how trifling the cost,
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
    And the nation that plays it is lost!”

William Hawkins, after quoting an excerpt of the above Kipling quote argues there is no international community that believes it has enough in common to feel any dedication to the notion of collective security:

However, between the September 11 terrorist attacks and Pyongyang's recent admission that it never halted its nuclear weapons program, the Bush administration has realized that the world is still a dangerous place that must be dealt with from a position of strength.

There is, however, still one lingering misconception about the world that is impeding U.S. action. This is the notion that there is an "international community" which is as concerned about terrorism and rogue states as is Washington, and which can be appealed to under the concept of collective security. President Bush has tried repeatedly since September 11 to summon a universal coalition to the U.S. banner, only to find that most governments are unwilling to substitute American priorities for their own traditional concerns.

Our problem is that too few governments recognize the size of the danger and of those who do not a few of them take the attitude that they do not have a responsibility to deal with it.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 November 01 12:02 PM  UN, International Institutions


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