‘Nor did they seem eager to help,’ Part II
-- Andrew Sullivan
has an interesting post (See ‘Clark/Kerry’s case’) on the UN and the dramatic diplomatic showdown in late 2002 and early 2003 involving London, Paris and Washington, with Andrew persuasively concluding French intransigence would have foiled any attempt to draw the UN into our Iraq-war orbit. But there’s one problem: The UN drama didn’t start last fall. It played out throughout all of 2002, climaxing, in my opinion, in August, when Chancellor Schroder narrowly won re-election in Germany after appealing to many voters’ vulgar anti-Americanism. It’s now part of the historical record that the German election was considered a “wake-up call’’ to the administration, which recognized its prior harsh rhetoric and dismissal of the UN had frightened many Germans and forced them into the arms of the ever opportunistic Herr Schroder. Had the German conservatives won or had Schroder been maneuvered into a less harsh and desperate anti-American stance, France would have been isolated. Never one to be caught on the wrong side of the balance of power, France would not have acted the way it did without German support. The Russian position, by the way, also hinged a bit on the German election outcome. ... The UN game, in retrospect, was over -- game, set, match point -- when Schroder won re-election. This clumsy, ever flip-flopping administration diplomatically blew it with its odious rhetoric, trial balloons about not needing Congressional support for the Iraq war, dismissal of the UN -- and then going back to the UN in fall 2002 when it was too late. ... Getting outmaneuvered by the French: embarrassing.
-- ‘A Vague Pitch Leaves Mostly Puzzlement.’
Well, no shit, Sherlock. The weird speech merely reflects the administration’s schizoid attitude toward the UN. The president is now in the awkward position of trying to come across as being consistent in his past rhetoric and diplomacy. He now needs the cash and help he should have anticipated needing.