2002 December 15 Sunday
Jim Hoagland Expects UN Approval For Iraq Attack

Jim Hoagland thinks Iraq's weapons report is so bad that the Bush Administration may be able to get UN approval for military action.

Having to defend that mess of a report should embarrass even the Russians and the French.

The sighs of relief that U.S. officials exhaled when they got a first glance at the report tell me the administration will alter its strategy and pursue a second resolution actively. This would give Colin Powell a major diplomatic triumph that would be denied him should Washington go it alone.

Would the French, Russian, and Chinese leaders vote for a second resolution to authorize force? That still seems unlikely to me. The other factor weighing against a UN Security Council authorization is time. The US military is going to be ready to invade Iraq in January. If the US goes for UNSC approval that approval could take weeks or months to hammer down. That could delay the invasion till the point where weather becomes less than optimal. Plus, the US really shouldn't waste too much time before attacking Iraq precisely because there are other regimes that need to come under pressure next.

In a similar vein, Tom Holsinger believes that after the US has replaced Saddam's regime it may be possible to get UN approval for sanctions and blockade of North Korea.

Assume the U.S. government seeks a UN Security Council resolution requiring North Korea to deliver all its WMD and production equipment to appropriate international agencies for removal from the country, and to permit effective inspections by UN teams to verify compliance. Such a resolution would probably pass in the climate expected after publication of the incriminating archives of American-occupied Iraq.

Enforcing this hypothetical (for now) resolution if North Korea refuses to comply would be a quite different matter. Economic sanctions aka blockade, perhaps backed by limited military force, would be the most we could possibly obtain, but fuel &food sanctions could be very effective given geography.

Are Hoagland and Holsinger being realistic here? Once the US has control of Iraq the revelations about Saddam's WMD programs will sway a lot of people that preemption really was necessary in the case of Iraq. This will certainly help in an attempt to go after North Korea. But will China go along with such a move? If China doesn't go along then the best the US will be able to do is a cut off of all South Korean, Japanese, and US aid. The US might be able to conduct a naval blockade of North Korean ports and to get Russia to close its border with North Korea. But China might step in to try to prop up the North Korean regime precisely because the United States would be trying to make it fall.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 December 15 05:45 PM  Axis Of Evil


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