Friday, April 04, 2003

Powell dictates post-war role of UN; humiliates poodle Blair
'In a difficult meeting with Kofi Annan, in the first days of the war, U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice essentially claimed the right to issue a dictat for the role of the UN in post-war Iraq. Annan indicated he did not believe the UN should be co-opted into providing the U.S. with ex post facto legitimation for its illegal war. According to Secretary of State Powell, however, two weeks into the war, "what we have to work out is … how the UN role will be used to provide some level of endorsement for our actions, the actions of the coalition in Iraq."'

'Secretary of State Powell described the limits of what the potential United Nations role could be in decision-making regarding governance of post-war Iraq. A member of Congress asked him, "it seems to me it's one thing for there to be a future UN resolution about a role for the UN, particularly humanitarian. But it would be another thing for the UN resolution to lay out some road map for post-war Iraq in such a way that it [the UN] would basically grab that decision-making and control from the coalition.… Can you give us some assurance that whatever UN resolutions are in the future will not do that?" Powell replied "I don't even see a possibility of that right now. … We would not support …essentially handing everything over to the UN, for someone designated by the UN to suddenly become in charge of this whole operation." Later in his testimony Powell said that, "we didn't take on this huge burden with our coalition partners not to be able to have significant, dominating control over how it unfolds in the future... the UN has a role to play. If we want to get help from other nations, and we ask these nations to go get funds from their parliaments or their legislatures, it makes it a lot easier for them to get those funds and to contribute those funds to the reconstruction/redevelopment effort if it has an international standing, if I can put it that way, as opposed to 'just give us money to give to the Americans.' That will not work. And so there are a number of advantages to having a UN role in this effort." But the U.S. remains very clear that while it expected international financial support to cover its own humanitarian obligations, it has no intention of sharing actual authority, power, or decision-making with anyone."'

'European governments, including key U.S. ally Tony Blair of Britain, strongly oppose the plans for U.S. military control of Iraq. Blair is leading a European-wide effort to push for greater UN involvement in and perhaps even control of the reconstruction process, apparently viewing it as a way of repairing his damaged relations with European opponents of the war, particularly in France and Germany. UN officials have indicated they see the British proposal as a useful starting point for determining the UN role in Iraq beyond purely humanitarian relief. But, according to a UN staff member, "Even on that, the Americans have more or less signaled to us, 'forget about it.'"

Again, one is left to wonder whether Blair truly expects the UN to have such a role, or is just affecting to patch things up with Europe. Blair apparently still cannot comprehend the gap between current US unilateralism and the rest of the world, including the UK.

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