Saturday, March 16, 2002
Two is more than oneBritain is isolated from continental Europe in supporting a United States attack on Iraq.
Germany's chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, yesterday brought into the open the growing rift between Britain and continental Europe over taking the "war on terror" to Iraq when he signalled he had no intention of participating in any unilateral military action launched against Baghdad by the United States.Maybe it's just me, but I think that if the United States and the United Kingdom both join in attacking Iraq, it ceases to be "unilateral." Does anybody bother to read the cliches they write?
In a move that highlighted the breach between Tony Blair and his European partners, Mr Schröder's spokeswoman confirmed a report that Germany would only join in a broadening of the US-led "war on terror" if the action were backed by the United Nations. "It's a position of principle of which our American partners are also aware," she said.
Mr Schröder's reported remarks chimed with the sceptical stance adopted by Paris. French government sources said Mr Schröder was "pretty much in line" with their view.Well, the U.N. Security Council is the body that would be tasked to authorize this; it's made up of Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Syria, the United Kingdom, the United States, Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Guinea, Ireland and France, and it takes nine votes to authorize an action. Now, which of these countries do Germany and France think should be making these decisions? Should invading Iraq be contingent on whether the United States can convince Cameroon that it's a good idea? Even if the U.S. gets nine votes, it needs to avoid a veto by China and Russia (and France!). Does Germany really have as a "position of principle" that China should govern European/NATO policy? I doubt that even the craven Europeans are that silly. So isn't it more likely that this multilateralism principle is just a way for Schroeder et al. to support Iraq without having to take responsibility for so doing?
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