April 26, 2004

Berger's Vision: The Fisking X

Sandy Berger was commissioned by Foreign Affairs to produce a foreign policy essay for the next president from a Democrat perspective.

This is much too long to analyze in one shot, thus the numbered title, Part X is below:

Going into Iraq, the Bush administration believed that most of our allies would get on board if we made it clear that the train would leave without them. It also believed that we did not need the legitimacy UN authorization and involvement would have bestowed. Those theories did not stand up to reality. Washington's failure to gain the support of capable allies (France, Germany, and Turkey, rather than, say, the Marshall Islands) vastly increased the human, financial, and strategic costs of the war and has threatened the success of the occupation.

This section assumes that there was some magical method of overcoming the fact that powerful actors in our "capable allies" were bought by Saddam. It is still not laughable that such a scenario could have existed yet, just as it was not laughable for some time to defend Hiss or claim that the USCP was not controlled by the Soviets. Eventually the damning truth came out as it will in this case. I don't think Sandy Berger will be very proud of this statement a decade from now.

The administration continued to squander U.S. influence with its allies even after the war. Much has been said about the Pentagon's rash decision to deny Iraqi reconstruction contracts to companies from NATO allies such as Canada, France, and Germany, just as the United States was asking them to forgive Iraqi debt. But few people noticed the administration's even more bizarre decision to suspend millions in military aid to countries that supported the war because they refused to grant Americans full immunity from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC). In the end, we treated "new Europe" as shabbily as we treated "old Europe."

As for the UN, a few months after the Iraq invasion the administration found that the leader of Iraq's dominant Shia community would not even talk to American officials, much less accept our plan for elections in Iraq. So Washington begged the UN to step in on our behalf: a belated recognition that our actions are seen as more legitimate when the international community embraces them.

News Flash, high Democrat policy wise man advocates US allow troops to go before kangaroo court. We don't belong to the ICC because we think that the ICC is not a proper tribunal and will be filled with abuses. Berger doesn't take the stupid but defensible position that we should join the ICC. Instead he is saying here that we should not act in any way to actually defend our position. He is trying to forge a linkage between support for Iraq and permitting the prosecution of our troops via a court that we feel would create unjust prosecutions. Defending our interests is treating our allies shabbily. Much better, in Berger's eyes, to treat our troops shabbily and not insist on treaties that complicate our allies' relationships with the French.

The UN, of course, was the focus of two major successful resolution campaigns and a major speech at the UN by President Bush. Since this doesn't fit the mold of a presidential administration determined to sideline the UN, history is ignored for a good story line. What ended up happening was that we were forced into a choice between action and inaction with sanctions coming apart at the seams and Saddam in the home stretch of his campaign to get out from under the post-Kuwait restrictive regime. At the last possible minute before we lost our good weather, we invaded. It was a close run thing.

Posted by TMLutas at April 26, 2004 01:44 PM