Friedman supplies a simplistic comparison, saying it is "as if America said it did not care what happened in Mexico because it was mad at Spain."
Contrary to US public opinion, Iraq does *NOT* share a border with France. The distance between France and Iraq is over 2000 miles -- approximately the same distance as between the US and Venezuela, or Alaska and Japan, or Maine and Ireland, or from the Pacific beaches of California to the Atlantic beaches of Florida. Like Friedman's comparison, it's quite a stretch.
Still, let's play out Friedman's scenario. Assume that Spain has invaded Venezuela without UN approval, on the justification that it faces an imminent threat from Venezuela's vast arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, none of which they can find. The Spanish occupation of Venezuela drags on, soldiers die daily, the country sinks deeper into debt, and people start to talk about Venezuela using the C word -- cienaga -- the local equivalent for quagmire.
In desperation, Spain goes back to the U.N. and asks for other countries to contribute soldiers to be deployed under Spanish control -- troops which could absorb "politically acceptable casualties". Spain makes no meaningful concessions on powersharing and refuses to lay out a reasonable schedule for Venezuelan self-rule.
Are we to believe that Friedman really be willing to put US soldiers under Spanish control in such a scenario? Wouldn't he think that this would be a blaintant misuse of the U.N.? Has he no respect for the rule of law?
While admittedly the US has had some proud moments, it has also had its moments of shame, where we have overturned governments and propped up tyrants. Friedman is ultimately asking that a precident be established that would give the US automatic approval by the UN, no strings attached, and he views any nation that opposes this stance as the enemy. The true enemy, however, would be the establishment of a status quo inherently prone to abuse.
Our founding fathers strongly believed in resisting the temptation of tyranny at every turn -- seperation of powers, inalienable rights, due process, and in the idea that no one should be able to impose their will over another without representation... and yet our government would gladly force France to send their soldiers to Iraq to die in our soldiers' places if they could.
Winston Churchill said, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried." However, if the choice is either democracy and endless debate or tyranny in the name of expediency, I choose democracy. If we truely want to support democracy in other countries, then US support for democracy and the rule of law in the U.N. would be a great first step.
Democracy for the U.N., democracy for the people of the United States, and democracy for the people of Iraq -- but always democracy.