The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Prophecies that Work

From The Economist:
But what can be done now? All the options are terrible:
1) Continue with containment, ie, the status quo, allowing Iraq to blame America (to which the UN sanctions are ascribed) for children's deaths while rebuilding its weapons programme.
2) Demand that Iraq submit to a new inspections regime.
3) Give up altogether and wait till Saddam does something aggressive or barbaric that he can be punished for. This would make him a hero to those Arabs who like the thought of him seeing off the West.
4) Try to get a UN consensus to support an American-led invasion, intended to depose Saddam and to bring in a new regime willing to abide by Iraq's past international commitments.
5) Just invade, hoping that success will convince others that it was a good idea.
The apparent multilateral consensus is for either the second of these options or the
fourth, though agreement is not universal even on those measures. And the question still arises: what do you do if either measure is (in effect) voted down or, in the case of a new inspections agreement, fails? Thus, the limit to a purely multilateral approach, under the ambit of the 1945 UN Charter, is exposed. Beyond economic sanctions, which have already failed or been scuppered by UN members, there is no enforcement mechanism except for American leadership. And that is what is likely to happen. There will be a multilateral process along the lines of option two. It will fail. And then America will invade.
This story is dated June 27, 2002. The next nine months were just the gestation, toward an end which should have surprised no one.