President Bush again frames the Iraq issue as a test of the United Nations, not of his policy: “This is a defining moment for the U.N. Security Council. If the Security Council were to allow a dictator to lie and deceive, the Security Council will be weak….The U.N. Security Council has got to make up its mind soon as to whether or not its word means anything.”
This continues the brilliant strategy that the President began with his speech to the U.N. several months ago, when he told the U.N. it risked irrelevance if it failed to enforce its resolutions on Iraq. Once again the President has put himself in something of a no-lose position, at least as far as the U.N. is concerned. If the Security Council wants to sanction action to get rid of Saddam, great. If instead it chooses to consign itself to history’s dustbin, that is perhaps regrettable, but something the President and the U.S. can certainly live with.
And throughout this crisis, Bush has benefited greatly from the fact that friends and foes alike know that he means what he says. Whether the Security Council’s “word means anything,” as the President says, is very much in doubt. Whether Bush’s word is good, no one questions.
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