Why Did The Frenchman Try To Cross The Road? Just To Get In The Way Of Traffic

by John Hawkins | January 21, 2003 9:36 am

Q: Why Did The Frenchman Try To Cross The Road? A: Just To Get In The Way Of Traffic: According to the Washington Post[1], the French are going to try to block an Iraqi invasion at the UN…

“France suggested today it would wage a major diplomatic fight, including possible use of its veto power, to prevent the U.N. Security Council from passing a resolution authorizing military action against Iraq.

…(I)n a diplomatic version of an ambush, France and other countries used a high-level Security Council meeting on terrorism to lay down their markers for the debate that will commence next week on the inspectors’ report. Russia and China, which have veto power, and Germany, which will chair the Security Council in February, also signaled today they were willing to let the inspections continue for months.”

…France would never “associate ourselves with military intervention that is not supported by the international community,” (French Foreign Minister) de Villepin added. “We think that military intervention would be the worst possible solution.”

Now why are the French doing this? There are a lot of different things that could be involved in their thinking. Maybe behind the scenes they aren’t getting as big a share of the Iraqi oilfields as they want and this is a negotiating tactic, domestic politics may play a role, or they may even want to force the US to go it alone to drive a wedge between America and Europe so they can use it as an excuse to strengthen the flagging EU. The Washington Post suggests that opinion polls in America are influencing their decision…

“Foreign officials are also aware of polls in the United States suggesting that support for a war drops dramatically if the Bush administration does not have U.N. approval.”

I’ve seen the same polls, but they don’t reflect the reality of the situation. Americans would prefer that the Bush administration go through the UN. Some people on the left believe the UN has some sort of moral authority and of course, having the UN on board helps us build support around the world. However, the American people aren’t going to turn on W. for going against the UN, especially since the UN doesn’t even have the guts to enforce their own resolutions.

To be honest, I like the idea of going without UN approval. It’ll cost us some short term support, but it’ll also cripple the UN which is a huge long term plus in the war on terrorism and in general. In effect, the UN is nothing but the old League of Nations anyway unless we decide to take a stand on something.

In the end, unless Saddam abdicates, we’re going in with or without UN approval and we’re going to do it fairly soon. The momentum is simply irreversible at this point. We have too many troops in the area to wait around indefinitely and politically, Bush can’t afford to let the UN torpedo the invasion. In fact, if Bush were to continue to put off the invasion or if worse yet, he allowed the UN to have a veto over what we do with our military, Conservatives would turn on him like a school of piranha. So with or without France’s precious approval, we’re going into Iraq — count on it.

  1. Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A19221-2003Jan20.html

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