Friday, 7 March 2003

Franco-Prussian Freeloaders

David Adesnik is pissed off at the New York Times. And, frankly, I'd be too, if my nation was just described as part of a “motley ad hoc coalition.” If I were Howell Raines, I'd steer clear of Poland for the next, um, rest of my life. Then again, if I were Howell Raines I'd have a lot more problems than the Poles to deal with.

The ongoing lack of Clue™ of the “let inspections work” crowd, and their enablers at the Times, is simply mindboggling. Here's the Franco-Prussian solution to the Iraq crisis, in a nutshell:

  1. Continue inspections.

  2. Continue sanctions.

That's it. Never mind that the Franco-Prussian alliance has been trying for the past five years to evade and dismantle the sanctions regime. Never mind that for inspections to continue to “work,” in the limp sense that they do so, someone has to have 250,000 troops poised to invade Iraq indefinitely — and I don't see the freaking French or Germans volunteering to do that. So, the sum of Franco-Prussian foreign policy is to impose their idea of how to deal with Iraq by using the money and soldiers of Great Britain and the United States, which might be a good deal for Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schröder, but is a thorougly rotten one for Tony Blair and George Bush, not to mention U.S. and U.K. taxpayers.

The entire point of collective security is for countries to work together to contain threats to the international system — not for some countries to freeload off the efforts of others while having the gall to tell the countries actually doing the work how they should do it.

Meanwhile, Eugene Volokh has some words for those who think Iraq and North Korea are interchangeable.

Matthew Yglesias comments on a proposal by Michael Walzer, which would have been a good idea a few months ago — and which would largely have obviated the need for the above rant. However, given France's withdrawal from enforcement of the “no-fly zones” in the late 1990s and their diplomatic efforts to undercut the sanctions regime, I'm not sure how Bush and Blair would have sold Chirac on the plan. If Chirac had gone along with a similar plan, though, France's credibility on Iraq would be much less questionable.