Saturday, December 20, 2003

Rumsfeld was told to placate Saddam: "Donald Rumsfeld went to Baghdad in March 1984 with instructions to deliver a private message about weapons of mass destruction: that the United States' public criticism of Iraq for using chemical weapons would not derail Washington's attempts to forge a better relationship, according to newly declassified documents."

""The statement, the cable said, was not intended to imply a shift in policy, and the US desire "to improve bilateral relations, at a pace of Iraq's choosing," remained "undiminished . . . This message bears reinforcing during your discussions.""

This is a characteristic feature of US foreign policy, which is often seen for example in its relations with Israel: public criticism (for domestic and international consumption) combined with private assurances (and money and arms) to the leaders of the government. The lesson then is not to pay too much attention to the statements of government officials but to pay attention to the 'facts on the ground' in terms of money and arms shipments.

No comments: