April 08, 2003

Chirac Watch We've moved well

Chirac Watch

We've moved well beyond the French perfidy stage when Powell had to play deep huddle with Dominique around the horse-shoe-shaped table at the UNSC. Now, French foreign policy objectives are merely becoming laughable.

Dubya and Blair are looking to grant the U.N. a "vital role" in post-war Iraq. But Chirac, instead of making a good faith exploration regarding what such a "vital" role might consist of--is instead continuing the scuttle-style French diplomacy of recent months:

"In remarks in Paris today, Mr. Chirac said the United Nations "and it alone" should be responsible for administering Iraq's reconstruction and governance. "We are no longer in an era where one or two countries can control the fate of another country," he said pointedly at a news conference after meeting the United Nations' high commissioner for refugees."

For one thing, Jaques might try that one on, say, inhabitants of the Cote D'Ivoire.

And what planet is Chirac living on if he thinks the U.N. "alone" will have a role in post-war Iraq? After the huge expenditure of U.S. and U.K. blood and treasure on the war effort, said countries, just like that, will turn over the entire Iraq reconstruction effort to Turtle Bay technocrats and, by extension, feckless nation-states that sat the war out?

I'm not saying Washington and London shouldn't consider well conceived plans that provide the U.N. with a prominent role such as this one. [Though I think that Gareth Evans and Bob Malley may be exaggerating the degrees of anti-Americanism that would be engendered by a U.S. led interim authority swiftly handing power over to Iraqis as compared to their more U.N.-centric structure. Regardless, note that ICG's recommendation forsees significant U.S., not U.N. troop commitments, to ensure stability.]

But not, per Jacques, a role for the U.N. simply "alone." That's simply a non-starter given the U.N.'s abdication of responsibility vis-a-vis Iraq in the advent to the conflict. Further, a Bosnia redux with hapless blue helmets hopscotching about "safe havens" and the like would make a mockery regarding the seriousness of purpose the international community has regarding stemming the potential tide of revanchist killings, ensuring the territorial integrity of Iraq, and otherwise stabilizing the polity.

Posted by Gregory at April 8, 2003 10:01 PM
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