UN-adulterated advice
Posted by aogFriday, 19 September 2003 at 13:00 TrackBack Ping URL

Fred Kaplan argues that we should accomodate various Western European nations in our actions in Iraq and share political power with them via the UN in Iraq. The past history of UN political activity should make this laughable on its face, but beyond that Kaplan is suffering from a couple of other delusions.

Kaplan writes
But if the potentially big war before us, the war on terrorism, is a war of civilizations, then it would be good to remain friends with nations, such as France and Germany, that share our traditions and concepts of liberty — and possess the requisite guns and hard currency for the fight.
Two major errors in one paragraph! What Kaplan misses is that those who are unconcerned about Western European allies believe that those nations do not share the Anglosphere traditions and concepts of liberty nor do they posses the requisite guns and hard currency for the fight (except for what France looted from the Iraqi oil money). Except for the UK (which is with us) the rest of Western Europe has been eviscerating its military and having financial problems that make ours look trivial. For this collection of hostile has-beens we should sacrifice our sovereignity? Next we have
The cause of this latest Euro-American fissure is a debate—not just a hissy fit but a legitimate, substantive debate—over who will shape the future of Iraq.
Maybe, if you assume that an organization with the likes of Libya chairing a human rights commission with Cuba and Syria as members is a legitimate overseer of a new government in Iraq. I certainly don’t and so in turn I don’t accept this debate as anything other than spiteful whining. Kaplan also claims that
However, it is becoming increasingly clear, even to President Bush, that the United States cannot go it alone in securing the peace and stability that Iraq needs to take its next steps toward independence and democracy
I don’t agree with that either. Kaplan is probably reading too much mainstream press without a Tet filter. My reading of the situation in Iraq is that by the time we could get the UN to move and other troops there, most of the problems will have already been solved, leaving us with the cost but little of the benefit. Kaplan does hit one point correct (he’s no Michael Moore who can get everything wrong):
Second, the U.S. occupation authority is clearly in over its head. Its officials and staff are prisoners in their headquarters, confined behind sandbags and armed guards for their own security. They have limited contact with “the street” and still less exposure to the country’s daily life, its problems, or its potential problem-solvers.
It does certainly seem that the civilian side of the occupation is just not up to the job. I agree that we would do better with beefing up that side rather than sending more troops. Here the history of the UN strongly argues against using any UN personel for that task.