Man Without Qualities

Thursday, April 03, 2003

No Tickie, No Washie

Reuters reports:

Secretary of State Colin Powell faced near unanimous demands from EU and NATO states on Thursday to give the United Nations a key role in postwar Iraq but did not spell out how Washington would share power there. ... European Union and NATO leaders came out of a series of meetings with Powell, their first full session with him since the U.S. and British forces invaded Iraq last month, saying they saw a possible transatlantic consensus on the U.N.'s role emerging. ... "There will definitely be a U.N. role but what the exact nature of that role will be remains to be seen," Powell told a news conference after more than 20 meetings. The United States expects to run the oil-rich country after the war, arguing it has risked its soldiers' lives and spent billions of dollars to prepare it for representative government, but has invited its allies to help pay for emergency aid.

I believe the United States should be flexible. But a precondition to any role of European Union and NATO countries (other than Britain) in running post-Hussein Iraq should be that they pay a ratable share of the cost of the War.

And the US should not just argue that it has risked its soldiers' lives and spent billions of dollars - the US should base its argument on the fact that France, Germany, Belgium and the UN have shown bad judgment and lack of understanding. Until these admissions are made, and a willingness to reform is expressed, they can have no role other than to provide money for humanitarian relief in a carefully monitored program. Absent such admissions, their wider involvement would just cause more problems.

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