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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

12/01/2004

Don't look behind the screen

The ever insightful Wretchard at Belmont Club writes,
That in turn suggests that the Gulf War and subsequent events, far from being a purely bilateral struggle between the United States and Saddam's regime, was really the nexus of a great power struggle involving France, Russia and the US. French policy in the Security Council prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom; their determined efforts to prevent the 4th ID from deploying through Turkey and its hostile attitude toward the Allawie government hints that the real bone of contention with Paris was not over how to topple Saddam but whether or not to keep him there.
belmont club
Bottom line: it begins to emerge that the French, bought and paid for by Saddam, were never going to allow the Security Council to pass a positive resolution authorizing a further use of force in Iraq. Given their veto the Security Council was neutered in the conflict.

Todays report on improving the performance of the Security Council and the UN in general, while a welcome recognition that in an era of terrorism pre-emption is necessary, does not and cannot address the rot at the heart of the Security Council. So long as third rate nations such as France and Russia continue to enjoy a veto, the Security Council can be hamstrung with a couple of billion dollars in bribes. Hell, Bill Gates could arrange a bribe veto.

In diplomacy there is always an urge, paid for or not, to do nothing and await events. It is effectively built into the system. Which, in many cases is a good thing. But in the case of Iraq or the Sudan or Rwanda, it ensures either unilateral action without the full force of UN support or inaction resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. All of which strongly suggests the UN is broken. Whether it can be fixed is a whole other question.

Getting rid of Annan would be a start.