The Iraq Crisis and World Order: Structural, Institutional and Normative Challenges

Sample Chapter
  • Edited Ramesh Thakur and Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu

    iraq crisis
    ISBN-10: 92-808-1128-2,
    ISBN-13: 978-92-808-1128-5
    United Nations University Press
    November 2006

    The Iraq war was a multiple assault on the foundations and rules of the existing UN-centred world order. It called into question the adequacy of the existing institutions for articulating global norms and enforcing compliance with the demands of the international community. It highlighted also the unwillingness of some key countries to wait until definitive proof before acting to meet the danger of the world’s most destructive weapons falling into the hands of the world’s most dangerous regimes. It was simultaneously a test of the UN’s willingness and ability to deal with brutal dictatorships and a searching scrutiny of the nature and exercise of American power.

    The United States is the world’s indispensable power, but the United Nations is the world’s indispensable institution. The UN Security Council is the core of the international law enforcement system and the chief body for building, consolidating and using the authority of the international community.

    The United Nations has the primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security, and is structured to discharge this responsibility in a multipolar world where the major powers have permanent membership of the key collective security decision-making body, namely the UN Security Council. The emergence of the United States as the sole superpower after the end of the Cold War distorted the structural balance in the UN schema. The United Nations is the main embodiment of the principle of multilateralism and the principal vehicle for the pursuit of multilateral goals. The United States has global power, soft as well as hard; the United Nations is the fount of international authority.

    Progress towards a world of a rules-based, civilized international order requires that US force be put to the service of lawful international authority. This book examines these major normative and structural challenges from a number of different perspectives.


    Ramesh Thakur is the Senior Vice-Rector of the United Nations University, Japan, and an Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations. Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu is a Faculty Member at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Switzerland.

    Contents Overview

    Part 1: Introductory section

    • Introduction: Iraq’s Challenge to World Order
    • Lines in the Sand: the United Nations in Iraq, 1980-2001

    Part II: Structural and Normative Challenges

    • The Unipolar Concert: Unipolarity and Multilateralism in the Age of Globalization
    • International Peace and Security and State Sovereignty: Contesting Norms and Norm
    • Entrepreneurs
    • The World Says No: The Global Movement Against War in Iraq

    Part III: Perspectives from Within the Region

    • Iraq and World Order: A Lebanese Perspective
    • Iraq and World Order: A Turkish Perspective
    • Iran’s Assessment of the Iraq Crisis and the Post-9/11 International Order
    • The Iraq Crisis and World Order: An Israeli Perspective
    • Egypt and the Iraq War
    • Reactions in the Muslim World to the Iraq Conflict

    Part IV: External Actor Perspectives

    • The United States and the United Nations in Light of Wars on Terrorism and Iraq
    • Baghdad to Baghdad: Britain’s Odyssey
    • Explaining France’s Opposition to the War Against Iraq
    • Iraq and World Order: A Russian Perspective
    • Iraq and World Order: A German Perspective
    • Avoiding Strategic Failure in the Aftermath of the Iraq War: Partnership in Peacebuilding
    • Iraq and World Order: A Latin American Perspective
    • Iraq and World Order: A Pakistani Perspective Iraq and World Order: A Perspective on NATO’s Relevance
    • The Iraq Crisis and World Order: A Perspective from the European Union
    • Quicksand? The United Nations and Iraq, 2001-2005

    Part V: International Legal and Doctrinal Issues

    • The War in Iraq as Illegal and Illegitimate
    • Legitimacy as an Assessment of Existing Legal Standards: The Case of the 2003 Iraq War
    • The Multinational Action in Iraq and International Law
    • Iraq and the Social Logic of International Security
    • Justifying the Iraq war as a Humanitarian Intervention: The Cure is Worse than the Disease
    • The Responsibility to Protect and the War on Saddam Hussein
    • Postwar Relations between Occupying Powers and the United Nations
    • Common Enemies: The United States, Israel, and the World Crisis

    Part VI: Conclusion

    • Structural and Normative Challenges


    • Ramesh Thakur
    • Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu
    • David M. Malone
    • James Cockayne
    • Mohammed Ayoob
    • Matthew Zierler
    • Brian L. Job
    • David Cortright
    • Latif Abul-Husn
    • Ayla Göl
    • Anoushiravan Ehteshami
    • Mark A. Heller
    • Ibrahim A. Karawan
    • Amin Saikal
    • Jane Boulden
    • Thomas G. Weiss
    • A.J.R. Groom
    • Sally Morphet
    • Jean-Marc Coicaud
    • Hélène Gandois
    • Lysette Rutgers
    • Ekaterina Stepanova
    • Harald Mueller
    • Chiyuki Aoi
    • Yozo Yokota
    • Mónica Serrano
    • Paul Kenny
    • Hasan Askari Rizvi
    • Fred Tanner
    • Luis Martinez
    • David Krieger
    • Charlotte Ku
    • Ruth Wedgwood
    • Nicholas J. Wheeler
    • Justin Morris
    • Ramesh Thakur
    • Simon Chesterman
    • Tarak Barkawi