Jewish World Review March 13, 2003 / 9 Adar II, 5763
It's time for U.S. to play hardball at U.N.
If the long-awaited second resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq does not pass
the United Nations Security Council, the Bush administration should deconstruct
the U.N. vote and pin the blame on specific countries.
It is one thing to ask Americans if they would support an invasion of Iraq if the
United Nations approves, but quite another to ask if they would support it even if
France or Russia or, should the United States fail to get the required nine votes for
passage, a country like Angola disapproves. By cracking open the process and
identifying the nations that voted against us - or who vetoed the resolution - the
administration will salvage a public relations' standoff from the jaws of defeat.
Indeed, Bush should go further and move to hang around the neck of the Security
Council the same badge of irrelevance that now adorns the General Assembly.
Would anyone think of asking the body that named Iraq chairman of the
disarmament committee and Libya head of the panel on human rights what it
thought of invading Baghdad? Ever since the General Assembly labeled Zionism a
"form of racism" nobody has asked its opinion on anything. The same irrelevance
must be pinned on the Security Council if it turns down the resolution.
If Bush and Powell get the nine votes needed to pass the resolution only to have the
French, Russians and/or Chinese use their veto, the administration line is obvious:
We got the council to agree but these permanent members vetoed the resolution and
stood in the way of global opinion.
But if we fail to get the nine votes in the Security Council, we should identify the
nations that voted "no" and, in effect, ask Americans if they want their foreign
policy to be hostage to such nations. Except for Chile and Mexico, none of the swing
votes in the council are democracies and several have long records of human rights
abuses. We should allude to their undemocratic conditions to dismiss their vote as
The United States should be willing to play hardball in pursuit of votes on the
council. If Chile opposes us, should we put plans for a free trade zone with them on
hold? If Mexico votes no, should we not re-evaluate NAFTA?
In battling for the resolution, the administration needs to point out that even the
French concede that it is only because the United States has 200,000 troops in
Kuwait that Saddam is even pretending that he is disarming. We need to ask Paris
how long they propose that we keep a goodly portion of our army there in order to
give inspections a chance to work. Are the French prepared to pay for the cost of
their maintenance? How about their combat readiness as we ask them to endure
desert heat week after week, month after month, to give France and Russia time to
If the United Nations does not approve of the attack and the United States and
Britain invade anyway, it will not hurt either of our two nations, but it will destroy
the credibility of the United Nations. Countries such as Angola, who have no power
except their votes on the Security Council as elected members and nations like
France whose sole claim to power is its veto, will suffer far more than we will. For us,
going to the U.N. is the price we are paying for British support and for a measure of
approval around the world. But for these nations, the U.N. is central to their world
position. Anything which demeans it, strips them of their essential power in global
But, in a larger sense, we must realize that this is a war that will provide all the
retroactive justification we will ever need. Any who doubt us now will become
convinced by what we find when we occupy Iraq. The weapons, laboratories, and the
testimony of Iraqi scientists will easily persuade any doubters that invasion was the
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JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, "Power Plays: Top 20 Winning and Losing Strategies of History's Great Political Leaders" Comment by clicking here.
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© 2002, Dick Morris