2002 September 27 Friday
France, China Oppose Force Against Iraq

If, as seems likely, France and China stick by their positions then the UN Security Council will not approve a use of force against Iraq under any likely scenario. This puts Tony Blair in a difficult position:

Reports from Paris say French President Jacques Chirac has told US President George W. Bush that France remains opposed to any United Nations resolution on Iraq through automatic use of military force, if Baghdad fails to cooperate with UN demands.

There is some ambiguity in France's position:

France has opposed President Bush's request for a quick and sole U.N. resolution to authorize military strikes if Iraqi President Saddam Hussein does not allow new inspections.

Under President Chirac's proposal, the first resolution would demand the return of the inspectors to Iraq after a four-year absence.

If Iraq continues to refuse the inspectors, France would then agree to a second Security Council resolution to allow military action.

Under wording that China and France would approve (and remember they took Iraq's side when UNSCOM was denied access to sites) how much access would they require and long will Saddam be given to comply? How soon would the second vote be? Would China vote for the second resolution? I honestly don't think China or France want that second resolution to ever come up for a vote.

So the question becomes this: If China, France, and perhaps even Russia block a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force what will Tony Blair do? Will he tell the left wing of the Labour Party that he gave his good faith best efforts with the UN and that the UK should participate in the attack on Iraq without UN authorization? If so, will he face a rebellion large enough to threaten his position as PM?

I think the world will be a better place if China or France (or better yet both) veto a stronger Security Council resolution and the US (preferably with Britain) goes ahead and takes out Saddam's regime and brings out all Saddam's WMD stores and development equipment for all the world to see. The UN is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Please China and France, play your predictable roles and help more people come to see that.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 September 27 03:38 PM  UN, International Institutions


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