Jewish World Review April 15, 2003 / 13 Nisan, 5763

Lou Dobbs

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Game over--but for whom? | Saddam Hussein's statue falling in Baghdad's Paradise Square will be a lasting symbol of the coalition's liberation of the Iraqi people. But I believe the comments of Iraq's United Nations ambassador, Mohammed al-Douri, last week sum up the collapse of the Saddam regime. Al-Douri simply said, "The game is over."

Game? Al-Douri went on to say he meant that the war was over. But his first statement was more telling. The Iraqis, with the able assistance of Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schroder, Vladimir Putin, and, of course, Kofi Annan, gamed the United States and the coalition at the U.N. for six months.

And to their lasting credit, President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair went about the serious work of removing Saddam from power. The forces of the coalition have carried out that mission with remarkable success.

But Chirac, Schroder, Putin, and Annan don't understand that al-Douri finally grasped the truth in his last words as Saddam's envoy: The game really is over. Chirac, Schroder, and Putin chose to meet in St. Petersburg, dead set on preserving their de facto geopolitical bloc, which has one aim: to oppose U.S. policy on Iraq and the Middle East.

Annan was supposed to be in St. Petersburg as well, but he apparently decided at the last minute that would be too obvious and too public a show of obsequiousness. The secretary general's motives can't tolerate that level of transparency, as he tries to maintain control of the U.N.'s Iraq oil-for-food program and as Chirac, Schroder, and Putin frenetically scramble to preserve some portion of their billions of dollars in commercial interests in Iraq.

Dangerous game. Annan's alignment of the U.N. with the appeasers has only widened the rift between the U.N. and their governments and the coalition. Theirs is a dangerous game and one that is likely to significantly alter economic and political blocs for years to come. "We are no longer in an era where one or two countries can control the fate of another country," Chirac said last week. "Therefore, the political, economic, humanitarian, and administrative reconstruction of Iraq is a matter for the United Nations and for it alone."

"Rather than focus on what the U.N. alone should have as a role . . . it would be nice if these people talked about . . . the Iraqi people first," replied White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.

Don't hold your breath. Instead of mediating the dispute, Annan--as usual--further inflamed it. First, he lectured that U.N. involvement is needed to bring "legitimacy." By agreeing to attend the meeting in St. Petersburg, he dismissed any claim by the U.N. to either legitimacy or relevance. When he thought better of publicly positioning himself and the U.N. with this treacherous trio, he must have discovered some inner sense of shame.

Going back to business as usual at the U.N. isn't possible. President Bush made it clear that this time around, he won't wait for U.N. approval when Iraqi lives and the very future of this country is at stake. And the damage that France, Germany, and Russia have done to geopolitical alliances won't easily be undone. "What is at risk here right now is the long-term solidarity of the European Union," says George Friedman, chairman of the global intelligence firm Stratfor. He adds that Russia is particularly vulnerable. "If Iraqi oil comes online and the price of oil falls, they have a very high production cost--and they depend heavily on oil exports to finance their economy."

Faced with such grim realities, you would think that Putin, Schroder, and Chirac might soften their obstructionist politics. And you'd certainly think that Annan would be working hard to move France, Germany, and Russia closer to the coalition's positions and to the new reality of the Middle East.

Instead, just the opposite is occurring. And the long-term effects of the increasing divisiveness are sure to be disturbing. Since the Cold War ended, we've been living under the optimistic assumption that shared geopolitical and economic interests would drive globalization, which would, in turn, drive prosperity. But now the governments of France, Germany, and Russia, with the help of Annan's U.N., have chosen to pursue their political and commercial interests rather than join with the coalition in the pursuit of noble purpose. France, Germany, and Russia have created an ignoble bloc, and its members deserve one another.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Lou Dobbs is the anchor and managing editor of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Moneyline." Comment by clicking here.

04/08/03: No more fool's games
03/31/03: United States must seriously review foreign economic and political relationships
03/24/03: Delusional Chirac may be a thorn in coalition's side, but new alliances are forming in response to 21st-Century threats without him and UN
03/18/03: Bush critics offer little more than hyperbole
03/11/03: Geopolitical visibility
03/04/03: Freedom: Our best export
02/27/03: Guns, butter and greasing the way
02/18/03: Looking for a silver lining
02/10/03: Space program remains a valuable investment
02/04/03: Hi pal, come back
01/28/03: Bush address a chance to bolster confidence
01/22/03: Here we go again!
01/14/03: Bush's bold bid
01/07/03: The only thing certain is uncertainty
12/30/02: No need to be so negative as new year approaches
12/23/02: NY's AG deserves credit for settlement
12/18/02: Critics of Bush nominees should tone down rhetoric
12/09/02: A lot rides on prez's Treasury pick
12/04/02: A fast fix for corporate credibility?
11/26/02: Urge to merge is hard to resist
11/19/02: Are we really so bad off?
11/12/02: Bush's lucky week bodes well for recovery
11/05/02: Wall Street firms treat investors as fools
10/29/02: Earnings estimates offer some hope
10/22/02: Economy's strength tied to national security
10/17/02: Harvey Pitt, get real!
10/08/02:Are we experiencing the fall before the rise?
10/01/02: Concerns about earnings are justified
09/24/02: Business leaders must abandon stall tactics
09/17/02: Wall Street's reality check
09/12/02: There's no better time for leaders to show resolve


© 2002, TMS