Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Iraq Looms: And Europe continues to dither. There was a wonderfully telling article in the WSJ yesterday (link requires subscription), specifically about Colin Powell on the hot seat at Davos. He got some of the standard lectures about U.S. "imperialism" from the usual European suspects, but the most interesting paragraph was this:
Many Europeans here understand the U.S. goals in Iraq but have been insulted by the administration's tactics. "When you tell your partners that you want to do something with them, but if they don't agree you will do it anyway, that is not negotiation," said Bertrand Collomb, chairman of Lafarge, the big French construction company. "That is the crux of the matter."
Is that really the crux of the matter? If so, it's quite revealing. How would you describe someone who understands your goals, and is not necessarily opposed to your solution (viz the general European agreement on Res. 1441, which we basically let them rewrite), but who works to derail that solution because you didn't treat them with enough deference? Perhaps "diplomat" is the obvious answer, but I think I'd choose "petty," "shortsighted," "obtuse," etc. How else can you see these countries? They simply are not serious about Iraq. They can make the point, again and again, that there is no need for us to "rush into war." First, we're not exactly rushing; second, it has been, after all, twelve years since we first asked Saddam to comply with the UN disarmament specifics. The UN has shown that it will not live up to its responsibilities, that it will always be willing to give "one more chance" to Iraq. Enough. This war has had its timing dictated by weak, petty diplo-crats for too long.

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