Jessica Tuchman Mathews on NOW with Bill Moyers

Old Blog Import

Jessica Tuchman Mathews, the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was interviewed on NOW with Bill Moyers about their plan for coercive inspections” (download full CEIP report as a PDF). She was really excellent. Here are some highlights of the interview from the transcript.

MATHEWS: … we should have first said explicitly and at the presidential level, limited our goal to getting rid of weapons of mass destruction, for two reasons.

One is, in order to create unity with the other major powers — but the other reason is that you don’t stand a prayer of having inspections work unless you convince Saddam that your goal is disarmament and not regime change — because unless you do that he has every incentive to keep those weapons and every incentive…disincentive to comply, because if he knows he’s going to face an invasion anyway, why would he…why would he submit to inspections?

…MOYERS: Still some people would say we’ve been dealing through the United Nations with that, and look, we have all these problems anyway.

MATHEWS: Well, but we have also had a great many triumphs and…through international cooperation and a lot of things that underlie global prosperity. The World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, things that do control disease, that do control… that give us the global weather service, that underlies our economic life, underlies our quality of living, underlies and makes possible economic development in poorer countries without which you are soon to be, you know, a tiny island of privilege in a mass of angry suffering.

So it is, in my view, shortsighted in the incredible extreme to think that our military power is enough to give us the kind of global order that we want and the kind of world we want to live in absent these international institutions and alliances which are, yes, occasionally constraining.

MOYERS: I believe the President would say given his record that the only way to promote democracy is for the United States to use its power, to use its might, to use the will that he has and others around him to bring dictators to heel, to impose order where there’s only chaos. I think he actually believes that this is a step towards democracy potentially in the Middle East. Don’t you?

MATHEWS: I find it…[SIGHS AUDIBLY] I find it hard to believe that because it seems to…it’s so obvious that the result would be the opposite. Right? I mean, what do we know about the immediate consequence that this war is going to be a recruiting took for Al-Qaida. So right away we know that.

We know that it is going to fan the flames of the Arab sense of humiliation and anger and rage, and that a lot of people will be further disgusted with their governments who are unable they feel to hold off this sense of invasion of their space and their region.

So what will happen? Those governments will have to respond with increased repression. We’ve seen it already, right? Why have we not seen public protests in the Middle East of all places to this war as we’ve seen all over the rest of the world? Because those governments don’t let them happen.

So you will get not increased democratization in the short term; you’ll get increased repression. So then how…what is the nature of this magical leap that gets made from autocratic repressive governments faced with, let’s say, best case, a peaceful take over in Iraq…in Iraq, Iraq becoming kind of a mo—…not a democracy, I don’t even think you can…but, a representative government with economic renewal.

That the problem is not that Arabs don’t recognize the end point that they want to get to; the problem is getting from here to there and you know, from a…from an autocratic retrograde repressive government and the only public opposition, organized opposition being Islamist.

So what are we offering as the model for how to get from here to there? A U.S. invasion. Well, if you’re sitting in Cairo or Algiers or Damascus, that does not look like a particularly attractive model.