eTaiwanNews.com/Three European nations mull military alliance (eTaiwanNews, March 23, 2003): Any hope that European leaders would be able to patch up their differences over Iraq evaporated Friday as France, Germany and Belgium said they would discuss closer links among their armed forces to serve as a counterweight to Britain and the United States.
OK, here's the thing.
WHAT armed forces?
Yes, fine, France has a decent sized military for the size of their country, and one that's generally considered to be of high quality. Germany does not have a military of any notable size. Belgium does not -- where on earth would they put it? Moreover, Germany has a positive allergy to sending soldiers out of the country -- and some rather strict laws controlling how and when they do so.
And how, pray, do they think that France and Germany and Belgium, with their combined militaries of something like 200,000 people, will serve as a counterweight to the US and it's one million people under arms? Frankly, one suspects that it's more pointedly aimed at serving as a military counterweight to Britain in the EU.
The French maintain that the United Nations alone should direct the reconstruction of Iraq. That stance could cause renewed friction with the Bush administration, which has indicated it wants a circumscribed U.N. mandate that would not tie its hands. [...] Despite his threat to veto any attempt to limit the U.N. role in Iraq's reconstruction, Chirac said he did not view Britain as an adversary.
So let me get this straight-ish: (1) The US will veto any resolution coming out of the Security Council that attempts to expand the role of the UN in the reconstruction of Iraq beyond what it thinks is reasonable. (2) France will veto any resolution that doesn't allow the UN to control reconstruction.
So who thinks that any resolution worth anything has any chance of making it out of the UN Security Council? Anyone? Anyone .... yeah, that's what I thought, too.
However, for those who would think that Chirac is talking about vetoing some resolution off in the future? Au contraire, mes amis!
He's considering a veto of humanitarian aid for Iraq "on the ground that it may support the war having taken place," according to The Scotsman. How open minded of him. How wondrous of him to care so very much for the Iraqis that he's willing to help them die as a show of support. Isn't that nice of him?
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the EU summit was best described as "surreal." Sounds about right, really.Posted by iain at March 23, 2003 12:55 AM