So much for the highlights of Powell’s disinfo discourse.
Bush’s “coalition of the willing” is, in fact, a coalition of the bought — and while Dubya and Powell may yet succeed in purchasing a U.N. majority for war, despite the laudable and eminently sensible Franco-German initiative, now supported by Russia, to triple the number of inspectors in Iraq and put the entire country under virtual U.N. supervision. The reason? The French and Russian role on the world stage is institutionalized by their veto power in the Security Council.
But if those countries veto a war resolution — and nothing is less certain — and the U.S. goes to war anyway, that would spell the end of the U.N. as the ultimate arbiter of international law. Unlike his father, Dubya comes out of the Goldwater-Reagan brand of southwestern U.S. conservatism, which has always hated the U.N. In the primitive collection of prejudices, half-truths and lies which constitute the presidential world-view, seeing the U.N. reduced to “irrelevance” is hardly the worst thing in the world. The froggies and the Russkies know this — and so may eventually allow themselves to be hired for the war with oil guarantees and a piece of the lucrative postwar Iraqi reconstruction business, to preserve the U.N. as a stage on which they can strut their stuff. Vladimir Putin told France’s TF1 network on February 11 that he saw “no necessity” for Russia to use its veto, while at the moment the French strategy is to avoid at all costs using its own by recruiting a bloc of six Security Council members, just enough to obstruct passage of a new war resolution without a veto.
And these days, as the old Russian proverb has it, an optimist is only a pessimist who has not yet heard the bad news.