Monday, February 24
Don't mention the U-word
Brendan O'Neill, Spiked-Politics, February 23, 2003
As the transatlantic spat over Iraq continues, one thing has become clear: unilateralism is out.
None of the major powers wants to be seen to be 'going it alone' over the Iraqi crisis. America and Britain are sticking together on the pro-invasion front, and have won the support of Eastern European states in what some are calling 'the new NATO'.
The French/German/Belgian axis is demanding further weapons inspections, claiming to be upholding the principles of the United Nations in its stand against America's rush to militarism. [...]
Even Richard Perle, a leading Pentagon hawk on all matters military, utters the word unilateralism as a poisonous slur these days. At the end of last year, Perle was asked about German politicians' accusations that America is seeking to act unilaterally over Iraq - and far from defending America going it alone, Perle accused Germany of trying selfishly to do its own thing. 'For the German chancellor to say he will have nothing to do with action against Saddam Hussein, even if approved by the United Nations, is unilateralism', said Perle (7).
As for those 'cheese-eating surrender monkeys' (as one US commentator describes the French) - apparently their moral cowardice is only outflanked by their nasty unilateralist tendencies. In response to French claims that America is acting unilaterally over Iraq, US commentators have pointed to the Ivory Coast as an example of 'France's own unilateral action'. According to the Washington Post, 'France's solitary stance in the Ivory Coast jars with its opposition to any unilateral US move on Iraq' (8).
Behind the Bushies' bellicose rhetoric about Iraq, US leaders seem to be ever-more cautious about taking firm unilateral action in international affairs. So instead of telling the UN, France or Germany to get lost, Bush officials have gone back to Europe again and again, in an attempt to shore up multilateral support for launching military strikes against Saddam's regime. [...]