As it seeks to rightly censure Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev for his violent actions against the people of Latvia and Lithuania, the staff opinion contrasts that wrong against the apparent "right" of a U.S. military offensive in the Middle East. In doing so, the staff promotes a "New World Order" that is no more "new" or "just" than the one President Bush has proclaimed.
The staff opinion questions Bush's sincerity when he calls for a "New World Order" that ignores the transgressions of political allies, yet it offers an alternative paradigm that justifies violent intervention and large-scale international conflict. One must ask, what kind of ideal is that which seeks "peace" through war? We've done that already--that was the "Old Order."
If we truly believe that there is any hope for a truly different means for international communication and cooperation, if we truly seek to funnel financial and human resources into social and political justice, we cannot accept the notion that "There are plenty of good reasons to fight in the Gulf."
We can say Hussein is a dictator. We can try to effect change in the region through a variety of economic and political means, but as soon as we follow Bush's "no choice, but" rhetoric, we have given in to the "Old."
The quest for world peace, for human rights, for egalitarian societies is a noble one indeed. Individual oppression and mass genocide, on all counts, is reprehensible. But let's not set up the Cold War dichotomies of "good" and "evil" anymore. Let's not congratulate Bush and his military strategists on their bloody war, while we slap their hands for not beating on someone else's.
We can say, looking back at our entrance, ultimatum and offensive in the Gulf, that there are not "good reasons" to be have sent troops to war there. We can also say Gorbachev's actions are tyrannical and retrograde. Why must we choose between evils? In rejecting only one, we justify the other.