Skip to comments.French Leader Offers Formula To Tackle Iraq
Posted on 09/09/2002 6:50:30 AM PDT by robowombat
New York Times September 9, 2002 Pg. 1
French Leader Offers Formula To Tackle Iraq
By Elaine Sciolino
PARIS, Sept. 8 President Jacques Chirac of France proposed a two-stage plan today that could lead to United Nations authorization of military force against Iraq.
In a wide-ranging interview at Élysée Palace, he said that he personally would like to see a new Iraqi government, but that any attempt to oust Saddam Hussein without the backing of a Security Council resolution would be a recipe for chaos in global affairs.
Mr. Chirac called Mr. Hussein a man who "is especially dangerous to his own people." He added, "I don't need to tell you that I condemn the regime in Iraq, naturally, for all the reasons we know, for all the dangers that it puts on the region and the tragedy it constitutes for the Iraqi people who are held hostage by it."
On the topic of ousting the Iraqi leader, he said: "One can wish for it. I do wish for it, naturally. But a few principles and a little order are needed to run the affairs of the world." Noting that there are many governments whose overthrow might appear desirable to Western leaders, Mr. Chirac cautioned, "If we go down that road, where are we going?" He noted that the Security Council had not reviewed any proposal for replacing Mr. Hussein the declared objective of the Bush administration.
In the interview, Mr. Chirac proposed a Security Council resolution that would give Iraq a three-week deadline for admitting United Nations weapons inspectors "without restrictions or preconditions." If Mr. Hussein rejected their return or hampered their work, he said, a second resolution should be passed on whether to use military force.
The president said France would work on drafting this second resolution and the ultimate French stance would depend on the wording.
Mr. Chirac did not commit France to providing combat troops.
President Chirac described the Bush administration doctrine of pre-emptive military action in its fight against terrorism as "extraordinarily dangerous."
He said, "As soon as one nation claims the right to take preventive action, other countries will naturally do the same." He asked, "What would you say in the entirely hypothetical event that China wanted to take pre-emptive action against Taiwan, saying that Taiwan was a threat to it? How would the Americans, the Europeans and others react? Or what if India decided to take preventive action against Pakistan, or vice versa?"
Vice President Dick Cheney has dismissed the usefulness of returning weapons inspectors to Iraq, but President Chirac indicated he was listening to other voices in the administration, including that of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
"What Mr. Cheney says does not interest me," Mr. Chirac said. "What interests me is what Mr. Bush says. Because I hear Mr. Cheney saying one thing; I hear Mr. Powell saying another."
Mr. Chirac spoke in a 75-minute interview that ranged from his concern over what he called a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan to American perceptions of anti-Semitism in France. But his chief focus was Iraq. His position appeared nuanced, placing France closer to the administration's position than Germany, which has said it will not take part in an attack on Iraq, whatever the United Nations decides.
On Saturday, as President Bush was meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, Mr. Chirac was in Germany, meeting with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who has dismissed military intervention in Iraq as an "adventure."
Asked whether the timing of the meeting was intended to signal that France and Germany were united on one side of the debate, and America and Britain on the other, Mr. Chirac said, "It's not Schröder and I on one side, and Bush and Blair on the other; it's Bush and Blair on one side and all the others on the other side."
But, he said, "I am in a different position from that of the chancellor."
Mr. Chirac said that he and Mr. Bush had a "friendly and warm" telephone conversation on Friday and that Mr. Bush would be sending emissaries to France and elsewhere to make the administration's case. The quest for broad support for any move against Mr. Hussein clearly pleased Mr. Chirac.
He appeared concerned, however, that the United States, if it acted alone, might undermine the international coalition formed to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and accentuate what he called rising anti-Americanism and anti-Western sentiment in developing countries. "I am totally against unilateralism in the modern world," he said.
He added that extreme care should be taken in preserving the coalition, suggesting that precipitate action against Iraq could alienate the Islamic world.
A collapse of the coalition would be especially dangerous at a time when Afghanistan remained treacherous and "the many small warlords are well armed to fight against Al Qaeda" but are now "fighting among themselves," Mr. Chirac said.
Still, he made clear that the use of force against Iraq, with France's participation, could be envisioned. Asked whether military options to oust Mr. Hussein might be approved by the Security Council, he replied, "Nothing is impossible, if it is decided by the international community on the basis of indisputable proof" of the existence of weapons of mass destruction. But, he added, "For the moment, we have neither proof nor decisions."
Despite efforts by the Bush administration to link Iraq to Al Qaeda, Mr. Chirac said he had seen no evidence of a connection.
France has a particular interest in the future of Iraq. France became Iraq's main military supplier in the West and was building a nuclear reactor for Iraq that was destroyed by the Israelis in 1979. As prime minister in 1975, Mr. Chirac welcomed Mr. Hussein to France, referring to him as "a personal friend" and inviting him to his home. France had the closest relationship with Iraq of any Western country, but that ended when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, and France participated fully in the American-led coalition that ousted Iraq. In recent years, French companies have received billions of dollars in contracts in Iraq under a United Nations program.
On the eve of the anniversary of Sept. 11, Mr. Chirac said his first thoughts were for the victims and their families, adding that despite all the criticism of the United States in France, "When the chips are down, the French and Americans have always stood together and have never failed to be there for one another."
Mr. Chirac was the first foreign leader to visit Mr. Bush just after the attacks, when he toured the site of the destroyed World Trade Center with Rudolph W. Giuliani, then the mayor.
"It's a country that I love, that I admire, that I respect, naturally," he said at another point, recalling the time he spent in the United States as a young man, when he was, as he said in English, "a soda jerk."
But he stressed that France would never be a lackey of the United States. "In life, you know, one must not confuse friends with sycophants," he said. "It's better to have only a few friends than to have a lot of sycophants. And I'm telling you that France considers itself one of the friends of the Americans, not necessarily one of its sycophants. And when we have something to say, we say it."
any attempt to oust Saddam Hussein without the backing of a Security Council resolution would be a recipe for chaos in global affairs."
How they see things at the Elysee Palace.
Where is the BARF ALERT?
~sigh, I so wish this was true...
Yeah, that's the way we should go. The world will look back, a hundred years from now, and ask, what was the United States? Gone, like Ur, or the Ming dynasty, or the glory that was Rome.
Sorry Jacques, "wording" ended for us last Sept. 11, as it should have for you. Don't worry about Paris' chattering classes, come join the winning team, Team Civilization.
I think we have already gone down that road, and as I recall the Euroweenies didn't complain about the overthrow of Milosivec's administration. In fact, they insisted upon it. The only difference I can see is that the poor Kosovo and Albanian countries did not pour millions of dollars into the French economy as the Arabs do. This is all about money; yet, the whiny European leftists still berate America for our "greed" and call us warmongers.
Stage #1, Urinate in place. Stage #2, Request aide from the global community to clean up stage #1.
Dear Mr. Chirac,
Under our form of Government,
President George W. Bush is here.
Vice President Dick Cheney is here.
Sec. of State Powell is down here.
Got it now?
I see no real problem with this proposal. Give Saddam three weeks to admit the weapon inspectors without conditions? Does anyone really think he'll agree to that? And what's three weeks? We won't be ready before then, anyway. The only thing I would change about the process would be that I would make a single resolution -- in essence, tell Saddam, "Give it up, or else." We shouldn't have to go back to the Security Council a second time -- that would just be inviting mischief.
A 3 week deadline? I suppose Saddam would go back to hiding and moving stuff, but I think this time, to do so would be to put us on the path to war, plain and simple.
We're not getting anywhere now, and its doubtful that Iraq will let the inspectors in anyway. At least by going this route we stand the chance of gaining more European support, though perhaps not with actual troops.
I think its worth a try, at least it puts things into a forward momentum again.
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If China wants to take action against Taiwan, they can claim they are just like the US vs. Iraq if they like. But the US Navy will still send the Chinese navy to the bottom of the Taiwan strait. The Europeans will, as usually, suck their thumbs. If India decides to take preventive action against Pakistan, just like they actually did a few months ago, a US high level official will show up in Bombay and point out to them how poorly the Indian air force would fare against a Pakistan equipped with the latest in radar jamming devices and modern air to air missles.
That one does not attack allies of the U.S. with impunity is not a result of unilateral action being morally forbidden. It is a result of U.S. military power. The polite fiction otherwise is merely a sop to the egos of leaders of countries basically hostile to the U.S. They can say they are not refraining from attacking Taiwan or Pakistan because they are too moral to consider it, instead of admitting they are scared to death of the U.S. military.
There is no moral equivalence involved (Taiwan threatens no one, and the Pakistani government is trying to control its militants not encouraging them). But neither is there "realist" equivalence involved, which is much more to the point. The reason other countries do not run off half cocked is because the U.S. won't let them, not because of any mythical uniform ban on unilateralism.
As opposed to now, when he's just a plain "jerk."
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