Crunch Time For The UN

Crunch Time For The UN: After an agonizingly slow, plodding, more than year long “rush to war,” we’re about to get down to brass tacks. On Friday, the inspectors will give another report and then supposedly the Brits are going to ask for the UN Security Council to vote on commencing hostilities soon afterwards.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the votes actually turn out. Both sides claim they have a majority of Security Council Members backing them, and actually both sides are probably right in a sense.

While the majority of the UN Security Council would prefer to avoid war, they’re also very reluctant go against the US on an issue this important if they know they’re going to lose. That’s why at this point, we know little other than that Germany will probably go against us & that the Spain, Bulgaria, and the Brits will be with us.

Everybody else (and yes I’m including Russia and China in this) has their wet little fingers up the air, trying to get a sense of what the French are going to do. To be honest, I’m not sure anyone other than Jacques Chirac (and maybe not even him) really knows which way the French are going to go. Sure they caused a huge rift in NATO, but they’re also sending ships to the Gulf. Yes, they seem to be giving every indication that they’re going to veto a resolution to use force, but the French have a history of weaseling out and changing sides at the last minute.

Personally, I’d be love to know what Chirac’s motivations are. Is this a Machiavellian plot to drive a wedge between the US & Europe? Is he simply holding out for a better financial deal in Iraq? Could Chirac be playing to the French people who are strongly opposed to invading Iraq? Has France been supplying Iraq with all sorts of illegal goodies despite the UN sanctions as Rush Limbaugh & Steven Den Beste have speculated? My guess is that a combination of all of the above is involved. However, somewhere along the line, Chirac made some sort of horrible miscalculation. Perhaps he believed that Europe would largely tow the French line. On the other hand, maybe he put too much stock in the “peace movement” and the polls that said the American people wanted the UN involved and Chirac mistakenly he could force Bush to back off.

Whatever the reasons behind it may be, Chirac has gotten himself into one hell of a mess. France has taken a tremendous public relations beating in the states, they’ve permanently damaged themselves with the Bush administration, and the other NATO members are not too pleased with the French either. More importantly, if France plays out their little scenario to the end and vetoes the new resolution approving the use of the force, we’re going to invade Iraq anyway with 30 or 40 nations at our back and the value of France’s permanent seat on the UN Security Council is going to drop faster than Enron stock.

So in the end, what is going to happen when the new resolution comes up to a vote? If I were a betting man, I’d guess that the US will get the votes it needs and France, China, and Russia will either vote for the resolution or will abstain. Of course, I would prefer to be wrong and have France veto the resolution. That’s because I really can’t see Bush continuing to drag this out much longer. A UN veto isn’t going to stop Bush, but having the US and a horde of countries hitting Iraq over the objections of the Security Council would hamstring the UN which suits me just fine. The only thing better than sending Hussein to an early grave would be sending Kofi Annan and Jacques Chirac into near irrelevancy at the same time.

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