US vs. Iraq: Europe and the US on different wave lengths

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Society
March 3rd, 2003 • 4:27 pm

I was watching the French news last night and couldn’t help but notice that they are still devoting much of their reporting time to the issue of disarmament: Iraq giving access to its anthrax stocks, Iraq destroying its Al Samoud 2 missiles, etc.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the US has made it quite clear that even complete disarmament won’t be enough: They want “regime change”. So what’s the point of wasting time arguing about disarmament? How about HAVING a real debate between Europe and the US regarding the one thing that Bush wants, i.e. elimination of Saddam Hussein?

Our own prime minister here asks: “Where do you stop?” It’s a valid question. What are the exact criteria determining whether regime change is warranted or not? Who decides?

We badly need a proper international structure for dealing with “rogue” regimes and other dictatorships. But no one dares to move forward on this (not the US, not France, no one) because they have too many interests, some of which are better left unsaid. Hence the fundamental hypocrisy of the whole thing.

We badly need a leader, somewhere, anywhere, who happens to be hopelessly honest and dares to speak his mind on this issue on the international stage.

Meanwhile, the UN inspectors continue their work in Iraq, even though the US position has made it quite clear that this work is totally irrelevant. They want regime change.

I suppose that someone in the UN is hoping that the continuation of the weapons inspection process and of Iraq’s disarmament will increase the pressure on the US to change its tune. Well, good luck with that.

Iraq asks, “Why should we continue?”. Interesting how they are trying to put themselves INTO the position of the victim here. Arab Gulf states say, “Saddam should go”. Not quite: Saddam must go. But he won’t go. And it all boils down to this.

I only wish the US administration would be clearer about all this. You cannot ask for disarmament, and then when you get disarmament ask for something else. It makes you look stupid. Hence the widespread resentment.

If the US had, from the start, asked for the removal of the Saddam Hussein regime, then we might have had a decent debate about this and a useful UN resolution. Instead, we are still mumbling about disarmament.

The real issue here is: Dictators must go. The real question is: How do we achieve this?

It doesn’t look like we’ll achieve it with the current US/UN approach.

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