Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I fear the U.N. even when they bring gifts

One thing Kerry and Bush agree on is the need to be involved in the U.N. Even if folks within the Administration like Cheney don't want anything to do with this organization, Bush is staying the course, as he reminded us last night:
The fourth step in our plan is to enlist additional international support for Iraq's transition. At every stage, the United States has gone to the United Nations -- to confront Saddam Hussein, to promise serious consequences for his actions, and to begin Iraqi reconstruction. Today, the United States and Great Britain presented a new resolution in the Security Council to help move Iraq toward self-government. I've directed Secretary Powell to work with fellow members of the Council to endorse the timetable the Iraqis have adopted, to express international support for Iraq's interim government, to reaffirm the world's security commitment to the Iraqi people, and to encourage other U.N. members to join in the effort. Despite past disagreements, most nations have indicated strong support for the success of a free Iraq. And I'm confident they will share in the responsibility of assuring that success.
I think Bush and Kerry are both far too patient with the U.N. I thought Bush was wasting his time going to the U.N. a second time before invading Iraq, and I really hope to think he only did it to help Blair politically. Jed Babin now points out the folly of our newest dance with the U.N.
President Bush is — again — submitting to wishful thinking by making his plan for Iraq subject to the goodwill of the U.N. The proposed Security Council resolution introduced Monday will achieve the same success as the previous handful: none at all, and for the same reasons the others have failed.

First, the new resolution proposes that the Iraqi Development Fund — the follow-in scam to the U.N. Oil-for-Food swindle — be subjected to some level of control by the new Iraqi government, and not left solely to the U.N.

Second, the proposal also says that the "multinational force under unified (i.e., American) command" that remains in Iraq, "...shall have the authority to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance and security in Iraq including by preventing and deterring terrorism...." That language — the most important in the resolution — would allow us to deal with Iran and Syria from our strength in Iraq. Those words are a guarantee that the resolution will not pass in this form, if it passes at all. Relying on the U.N. is, as it has been since the 1991 Gulf War, a sucker bet. If — as is most likely — the U.N. resolution fails to pass in this form, Bush's plan will not have failed. But the perception will be that it did. And the panic will resume.
It's simple. The U.N., even if we restrict to the Security Council, has member states with interests very much opposed to ours. Thus, we will never succeed in this war entirely or even substantially under the U.N.'s blessing. Anytime we actually make an agreement with the U.N., I am deeply suspicious of what we have agreed to, given the states that comprise the U.N.

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