Stanley Hoffmann Responds

Stanley Hoffmann Responds

I would only support an American war against the current Iraqi regime if (1) the current regime blocks inspections and refuses to carry out its obligations to disarm and a renewed and reinforced policy of blockade, sanctions and deterrence has failed and (2) the use of force is supported by the Security Council of the UN. It should not be a war for regime change.

I do favor both a UN-imposed inspection system for Iraq and the threat or use of force to impose and sustain such a system.

The Bush administration’s new doctrine of preemptive war would violate international law (including, of course, the UN Charter), be a recipe for chaos (if also adopted by many, or by dangerous countries), and mark a huge regression in international affairs.

If there is a unilateral or quasi-unilateral decision by the United States to go to war in Iraq, I would join an antiwar movement as long as it is a responsible, independent peace movement.

The long-term goals of the United States in its confrontation with Iraq should be (1) to disarm Iraq, not because it wants to become a nuclear power and “hates our values” but because it has so far violated its obligations to disarm after the Gulf War; (2) demonstrate before any use of force that the old notions of containment and deterrence are still relevant; and (3) act in such a way that the territorial integrity of Iraq is preserved, and that a majority of Muslim states supports our policies.

Stanley Hoffmann is the Paul and Catherine Buttonwieser University Professor at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University.

Other responses: Marshall Berman, Mitchell Cohen, Todd Gitlin, Kanan Makiya, James B. Rule, Ann Snitow, and Ellen Willis

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