January 16, 2004

Irrelevancy is Not Necessarily Permanent

David Ignatius' column misses the point about Paul Bremer's meeting with Kofi Annan. It is a matter of record that President Bush told the UN that it needed to confront the problem of Iraq's challenges to UN authority or it would sink into irrelevancy. There were multiple attempts at engagement both before and after the invasion. Some were successes, like the unanimous passage of UNSC 1441 and others were failures like the UN insistence that they maintain a separate, and ultimately inadequate, security posture. The human tragedy and ignominious pullout is the UN's version of the 1983 Beirut fiasco.

But partying frat boy turned sober President Bush is a full time believer in redemption. That's what Ignatius misses. He doesn't want to scrap the UN. He knows that it's easier not to go around them. So he sends Bremer, Powell, anybody relevant to give the UN another shot at redemption, hoping that they, too, will have that crucial 'moment of clarity' and get themselves out of a mess largely of their own making.

I expect that this President will continue in that theme for the rest of his Presidency, even as he makes initiatives like the Proliferation Security Initiative that improve world security in the face of UN inadequacy. Irrelevancy doesn't have to be permanent. I suspect that the UN has at least until 2009 to take advantage of that.

Posted by TMLutas at January 16, 2004 12:47 PM