Sunday, December 28, 2003

the UN myth 

Andrew Sullivan on Howard Dean's foreign policy position:
Here's what the president said on December 11: "We're constantly working to get foreign countries involved [in rebuilding Iraq], but I want to remind you we've got over 60 nations involved now. When you hear me talk about 'our' efforts, I'm talking about the efforts of a lot of countries, we've got a large coalition involved."

Who does that leave out? Well, first off, the United Nations. Is this a function of American policy? Not at all. The administration was only too happy to work with the United Nations in the early days after liberation--but after the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad in August, the United Nations split of its own accord. Last week, Kofi Annan ruled out any change in this position. He said, "I cannot compromise the security of our international and national staff." The U.N. report on the possibility of a return to Iraq concluded: "Under the circumstances, it is difficult to envisage the United Nations operating with a large number of international staff inside Iraq in the near future, unless there is an unexpected and significant improvement in the overall security situation." So the notion--insinuated by Howard Dean--that the United Nations is somehow being kept from participating by the Bush administration is simply untrue. Moreover, there is no international body that could provide the kind of legitimacy for the occupation that the United Nations could. And it won't. Dean doesn't even address this. Because if he did, his entire argument would collapse.
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