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October 15, 2003
UN Security Council Caves

There is no other way to describe this but as a diplomatic victory for the Bush administration:

France, Russia and Germany on Tuesday dropped their demands that the United States grant the United Nations a central role in Iraq's reconstruction and yield power to a provisional Iraqi government in the coming months. The move constituted a major retreat by the Security Council's chief antiwar advocates, and signaled their renewed willingness to consider the merits of a U.S. resolution aimed at conferring greater international legitimacy on its military occupation of Iraq.

If passed, the new Security Council resolution would effectively reject the obstructionism of Kofi Annan and the French. Jacques Chirac seems to have gotten the message that France, if the US ceased negotiating, would be revealed as a pretender to real power.

The Bush administration refused to incorporate the French, Russian and German demands for a timetable for the transfer of power in a revised text presented to the council last night -- and indicated the United States would soon call their bluff ... The administration arrived at this point with an intensive diplomatic campaign. It was designed, in the words of a senior U.S. official, to neutralize the resolution's chief critic, France, by accommodating suggestions from Russia and Germany that were "more practical, more realistic and easier to take into account."

By signing onto the new but substantially identical resolution, France gets to pretend it still matters, and Bush gets to pretend that's important. The Bush administration finally started playing hardball by threatening to bypass the UN on all future issues regarding Iraq. If we hadn't had to give some domestic cover to Tony Blair, we would have been better off doing just that from the very start.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 15, 2003 7:25 AM

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