19 July 2003

The UN strikes back!

From the Asia Times:
This is poison for a president.

There are signs that Bush realizes this, particularly after meeting with Annan. Before this week, Washington showed little interest in returning to the UN for a new resolution. But that changed this week, as Secretary of State Colin Powell began sounding out US allies - including German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer - about what kind of resolution could persuade Berlin to help out.

Annan himself was encouraging. Diplomatic sources pointed to his statement Wednesday in which, after noting the divisions that existed in the Security Council before the war, he stressed that "Now that the war is over, we should focus on stabilizing and building a peaceful and prosperous Iraq."

"It's getting more and more obvious that the [Security] Council's leverage [vis-a-vis Washington] is increasing," said one source who noted the growing sense in the US capital that the optimistic predictions of the hawks had put the president in serious peril.

The question is, what will be the UN's price for bailing the administration out, and will Bush be willing to pay it

And from the Christian Science Monitor

RIS � Pressured by signs of fatigue and dissent among US soldiers fighting a guerrilla war in Iraq, and disappointed by allies' reluctance to join what many see as an occupation army, the US may be forced to cede some control over Iraq's future to governments who disagreed with the war.

That is likely to be the price of coaxing major nations into an Iraqi force through the United Nations, a process Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday he was discussing with the UN and allies. "The situation in Iraq is highly complicated and we are interested in a real, strategic trans-Atlantic debate," said German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who met with Mr. Powell in Washington, signaling the European desire to help shape events in Iraq.

Faced with the need to keep some 150,000 soldiers in Iraq to hold the lid on a deteriorating security situation, the US has asked about 80 countries to contribute troops.

So far, the US has cobbled together a multinational force that will total 9,200 troops from about 30 countries when it deploys fully in September

Last week the US Senate voted 87/0 to ask Bush to request UN and NATO troops.

The Bush administration's command diplomacy was always going to fail. The diplomatic cost of Iraq had already ensured that no further pre-emptive wars would ever get off the ground. New Zealand demanded and got Australian assurances that the Solomons would not be wrapped into the War on Terror. The tragic cost for Bush's unilateralism, a cost we may all end up paying is a nuclear Iran and North Korea.

NB I corrected a typo. I always meant to say Iran in the last line.

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