Germany, France and Russia announced today that they will vote for the U.S.-sponsored U.N. resolution. Neither side really gave up much in the negotiatoins; the resolution in effect ratifies the situation on the ground. It confers U.N. legitimacy on the U.S.-led occupying force and calls on member nations to lend both financial aid and troop support to the reconstruction effort. It says the occupying powers should return sovereignty to Iraq “as soon as practicable,” which of course is exactly what President Bush wants.
Whether the resolution will lead to substantial contributions from other countries remains to be seen, but I’m not as skeptical as some observers. Iraq has the world’s second-largest oil reserves, and commercial relations with it will be valuable. Self-interest might well lead to meaningful levels of aid.
At a minimum, the resolution will give the administration cover against that segment of American opinion (more prevalent among Democratic politicians than the public) that thinks we should turn our foreign policy over to France and Russia.
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