There are worried reports that Britain and Turkey may both not support the US attack on Iraq. The US seems unlikely to win a second UN Security Council resolution on Iraq and on a diplomatic level trends are moving against the US. These developments are all considered to be bad news in some circles. The White House says UN failure to support the coming war on Iraq will encourage Iran and North Korea. Thomas Friedman says the coming Iraq war is not a war of necessity and foolishly claims it is possible to postpone it until conditions are more favorable. International support for an attack on Saddam will not build with time. The motives of the opponents assure that. All the Gulf states that have stuck their necks out to allow US basing on their territory to support an attack on Iraq will be absolutely furious if the US does not follow thru and leaves them facing a vengeful Iraq.
The biggest downside for US to fight a war under less favorable conditions of less support is military, not diplomatic. The loss of British forces or an inability to open up a large northern front using Turkish bases would increase US casualties, prolong the war, and increase the chances that Saddam can blow up oil fields and kill civilians on his way down.
For the US to go alone without UN support will be an advantage in the long run. As soon as Iraq is conquered the Iraqi weapons development programs will revealed for the world to see. US claims (and the claims of assorted former UNSCOM inspectors) will be shown to have been fully justified. The UN will be seen as an obstacle standing in the way of a US effort to prevent WMD proliferation, reduce terrorism (interrogation of Saddam's intelligence agents will turn up all sorts of information about Iraqi support for terrorist organisations), and to give the Iraqi people relief from a vicious tyranny.
If the US can't win UN support for action against Iraq where the case is so strong then the chances of winning UN support against Iran or North Korean is effectively nil. The US will have to operate either alone or with coalitions of the willing. An attack on Iraq in the face of so much diplomatic resistance will demonstrate to the US leadership that UN support is not only not necessary but undesireable to even pursue.
While Colin Powell and many in the US State Department may see a diplomatic debacle unfolding this debacle will have the effect of convincing the Bush Administration and a significant portion of the American people that the US can't look to the UN and associated agencies for recourse to deal with the threat of nuclear proliferation combined with terrorism. This transformation in attitudes of the American electorate is absolutely necessary for the next chapter of the war against the Axis Of Evil states and international terrorist organizations.
France's organization of obstruction in the UN Security Council and the diplomatic opposition of so many other countries is already having a salubrious effect on the American body politic. That so many nations have decided to oppose the case for war against Iraq when that case is so strong is certainly an error in tactics for the opponents. They are losing the ability to influence American action in future rounds. A recent New York Times/CBS News Poll on the coming Iraq war finds Americans are coming to view the United Nations in an unfavorable light.
The poll found that 58 percent of Americans said the United Nations was doing a poor job in managing the Iraqi crisis, a jump of 10 points from a month ago. And 55 percent of respondents in the latest poll would support an American invasion of Iraq, even if it was in defiance of a vote of the Security Council.
Those of us who think the United Nations is a net detriment to US security have got to applaud French President Jacques Chirac for the fine job he's doing in changing American attitudes toward large international organisations. Bravo! Keep up the good work Jacques. Do not waver. Do not have second thoughts. Come what may be sure to exercise the French veto on the UN Security Council.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 March 11 12:45 AM Politics Grand Strategy|