TOKYO -- In a session on Nov. 29, 1990, the United Nations Security Council, presided over by U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, passed a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq, which had started invading Kuwait that August. Among the permanent members of the council, China abstained from voting, while the Soviet Union voted for the resolution.
The administration of U.S. President George H.W. Bush pledged to build a "new world order" under the leadership of America, which had emerged as the only remaining superpower after the crumbling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked an end to the Cold War. Winning cooperation from Moscow for its diplomatic initiative at the U.N. to sanction the use of force to drive the Iraqis from Kuwait was touted as a major victory for the Bush administration. At that time, I was a correspondent in New York and temporarily joined the Nikkei team covering the U.N. as a support member. I was partly nervous and partly excited to witness a moment when history was being made.