- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 8, 2002

While we have the gravest possible doubts concerning the capacity of Mr. Hans Blix and the international monitoring system he leads, Unmovic (the U.N. Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission) to succeed in its Iraqi mission, it is important not to condemn such methods for other settings. Thanks to United States toughness and, in fact, Mr. Blix's efforts to strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), this inspection system has substantial teeth in it. We continue to believe that even this strengthened system is no match for the formidable will and wiliness of Saddam Hussein. But applied to less determined nations and there will surely be continued need for such international inspections around the world in the coming years the system well may succeed in accomplishing its supporters' peaceful intentions. Those of us who doubt its efficacy in Iraq need to guard against rejecting the system for other settings.
In fact, the system can and should be improved further. Currently, there is no equivalent of the IAEA for chemical or biological weapons. The IAEA is responsible (in conjunction with the U.N. Security Council) for stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons. There is an urgent need to create similar organizations to combat biological and chemical proliferation. Such entities when empowered by the U.N. Security Council could be useful vehicles for our doubtlessly long-term search and destroy missions against chemical and biological weapon threats. Unmovic could be the model for such organizations.
The civilized world will have to be on its guard against biological and chemical dangers for the foreseeable future. While the United States must be prepared to act unilaterally if necessary, it is highly likely that institutionalizing that function in the United Nations will lessen that burden. Our struggle against terrorism probably will require us to be unilaterally intrusive from time to time, but such actions create worldwide discomfort (as we are seeing currently regarding Iraq). It is, therefore, in America's interest to have international agencies through which we can act indirectly as often as possible. But first, such organizations must be brought into being. If the United States were to propose to the United Nations the creation of biological and chemical sister organizations to the IAEA, it not only would be intrinsically useful, but well might raise the international community's comfort level with the United States as we act boldly in the coming months in Iraq.

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