Alfred Defago: "The US sees war as the last resort"

Alfred Defago urges caution before condemning the United States Keystone

Alfred Defago is a former ambassador to Washington. He is currently a visiting professor of International Relations at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

This content was published on March 18, 2003

swissinfo: Is there a valid reason for going to war?

I would like to caution against condemning the United States and Great Britain for going ahead because this is a very complicated situation.

It shows very clearly that you have two different cultural views on both sides of the Atlantic. The overwhelming majority of Europeans are against war in principle, and they do not view war as a means to political ends.

In the United States, for historical reasons, people see war maybe as a last resort but nevertheless as a possibility. For me, this is a fundamental cultural and historic rift.

There was a clear resolution decided on November 8 and that resolution was very clear. It was voted unanimously by all members and it called for Iraqi disarmament, immediately, fully and unconditionally.

All three elements have not been not implemented, and no one can fundamentally disagree with that.

swissinfo: Has the United Nations lost its credibility?

I think this unilateral path followed by the US, Britain and others will eventually lead them back to the UN.

Of course, the crisis is a blow to the UN system, but on the other hand you have to see the system has usually not worked very well.

On the other hand, I don't see any possibility for the Americans to go it alone in the future. For peacekeeping in Iraq, they will have to go back to the UN, and the UN will work again with Britain and the US.

swissinfo-interview: Isobel Johnson

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