March 12, 2003

A Mockery of 1441 It

A Mockery of 1441

It has gotten beyond material breach after material breach. It's becoming increasingly clear that Saddam, emboldened by the diplomatic effort spearheaded by the French to scuttle any coherent UNSC posture vis-a-vis Iraq, will even at this time of great peril with 200,000 troops arrayed around him, actively flout basic tenets of the inspection regime. Could there be clearer indications that this leader will not voluntarily disarm? The irony is, these typically crude maneuverings by Saddam should be changing minds at the UNSC and helping the U.S. garner more support for its second resolution. But, of course, Paris, Berlin and (likely) Moscow have already made up their minds--actual compliance and evidence be damned.

It's now patently obvious that this entire unfolding UNSC spectacle is not about Saddam's disarmament for the French or Germans. The French, instead of monitoring Saddam's daily non-compliance, are instead in deep huddles over the latest news from Yaounde--fervently hoping to avoid having to cast their veto--incorrectly thinking this might mitigate the diplomatic damage done to their relationship with Washington.

Can anyone now credibly argue that the French have (or ever had) any serious intent of getting Saddam to disarm? I truly wish I could believe that Chirac, at the bottom of his heart, feels like he is acting as a friend of the U.S. and wishes to restrain us from leaping head-long into what he believes will be a disastrous conflict. And that yes, he really, albeit in slower, more methodical fashion, wishes to compel Saddam's disarmament.

But I just can't buy that line given the fervency of the French machinations to impede the U.S. in calling Saddam to task at the UNSC. This combined with the manifest inefficacy of the inspections given Saddam's active non-compliance instead of total, unfettered cooperation as per 1441 shows that no, they never genuinely cared about disarmaming him. This much is clearer by the day.

So what's the game about now? It's about inflicting maximal harm on Tony Blair, Jose Aznar and Silvio Berlusconi--while raising France's profile as the leader of the tame-the-unruly-hyperpower-camp so as to boost Chirac's popularity in the many quarters where, predictably, a quasi-omnipotent hegemon is disliked, suspected and/or despised. But someone has to do the dirty, thankless task of policing the international system--and it certainly won't be increasingly irresponsible regional powers like France or Germany.

Posted by Gregory at March 12, 2003 01:55 AM
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