A very European joke I had in mind since I first read about those Congressional “Freedom Fries”… should anyone be interested in a larger version, let me know. I thought it would be a good idea to post it before making fun of the US Supreme Commander would likely make me an enemy combattant and strip me of my human rights. Besides, the next weeks very likely are not going to be too funny, as warNow! will probably begin Tuesday or Wednesday night.
As for those 24 last hours of diplomacy, I still think there’s a slight chance to preserve peace for the time being, peacefully disarm Iraq through UNMOVIC and, most importantly, allow W a face saving withdrawal.
Any second resolution would have to involve a common global threat of military action against Saddam Hussein’s regime – France, Germany, and Russia would have to accept some version of the British bullet point list and commit themselves not only to political support, but also to significant military engagement in a future war, should UNMOVIC not decide at the agreed date that Iraq’s compliance is in the 99th percentile (100% is impossible, as there will always be misunderstandings that could then be used by one party or the other to back their non-agreed-upon actions – recent stories about how the US forged intelligence and how the latest British Iraq dossier has its main origin in a political science paper – don’t get me wrong here, I studied that myself – it’s just that you would assume that MI6 has more resources than a library). Basically, it would involve to credibly back up the European formula of war as last means.
In this case, I believe, it would be hard for Bush and even more so for Blair to renounce this offer. And more time would, first and foremost, allow everyone in the game to reposition themselves and explore new options – apart from Saddam Hussein, given the scrutiny that he is under these days.
So will it happen? I doubt it. Mostly because personal stakes have been now chained so firmly to national positions. Just imagine Schroeder or Chirac trying to explain this to the German or French public. Moreover, if everyone believes that the US would not accept a positive UNMOVIC verdict in the end, US unilateral action would be even worse for global governance than it will be now when everybody can still pretend that resolution 1441 does indeed offer some legal recourse for lonely unilateralists.
So it is very unlikely that tomorrow’s UNSC session will yield something like the strategy I sketched above. But don’t say that diplomacy is dead until it really is.
May the force be with them.