WASHINGTON -- The quickening of war drums on Iraq within the Bush administration is reviving accusations at home and abroad of U.S. unilateralism, a stubborn willingness to go it alone on a range of fronts.
None doubt the American military's ability to carry out the regime change President Bush advocates. But allies like to have a say in such decisions -- or at least be consulted. And when it comes to waging war, Americans are accustomed to having partners-in-arms.
The last time the United States went to war by itself was in the Spanish-American War in 1898.
"Unilateral action has very, very dire consequences for our country," said Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
With allies and some members of his own party voicing concerns, Bush said Wednesday he will make his case against Saddam Hussein to world leaders next week at the United Nations and, when appropriate, ask Congress to approve action "necessary to deal with the threat."
Administration aides said Bush was considering a new U.N. Security Council resolution that would set a deadline for Iraq to open its weapons sites to unfettered inspection. That would help quiet some of the criticism. But the administration still left open the possibility of going it alone.
Critics of unilateralism also point to Bush's abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, abandonment of the nuclear test-ban treaty, disdain for an international criminal court and policies on land mines, global warming and steel tariffs.
"The administration feels that the United States is the pre-eminent military and political power and thus we can go by our own rules," said John Issacs of Council for a Livable World, an arms-control advocacy group. "The United States needs to and should cooperate with other countries across a broad range of issues."
The recent chorus of international criticism partly obscures broad agreement that Saddam poses a global danger.
Recent polls show widespread support in Europe for a campaign to oust him -- but only if authorized by the United Nations.
Arab nations won't sanction an attack on a neighbor and suggest it would further destabilize the region.
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