Blair To Actually Give Chirac One More Chance

OpinionJournal: Chirac’s Last Chance: The Azores summit gives the French an ultimatum.
Tony Blair is going to try one last time to get Chirac on board. It’s a waste of time, but never let it be said we haven’t gone the extra mile to get Chirac to pull his head out of his ass. Chirac is living proof that if your head stays in your ass long enough, it creates a vacuum. That makes it very difficult to remove.

Meanwhile, as this article points out, President Bush was visibly angry with Chirac yesterday. Hard to blame him.

Yesterday’s Azores summit was pitched as offering one more final chance for Saddam Hussein to disarm, but it is closer to the truth to say that its real purpose was offering one more last chance to Jacques Chirac.

The three allied leaders–from Britain, Spain and the U.S.–who assembled in the Portuguese islands will use today to see if the French President is still determined to cast his country’s veto in the U.N. Security Council to block support for disarming Saddam. If he remains obstinate, then the allies will drop their plans to go for a second resolution (or 18th, depending on your time frame) and proceed to disarm Saddam with the now famous “coalition of the willing.”

The Iraqi dictator gave his own quick reply, calling it a “great lie” that he even had any weapons of mass destruction. If you believe that, you are probably a Swedish weapons inspector. He also told a group of Iraqi military officers that if the allies attempt to disarm him by force, he will wage war “wherever there is sky, earth and water anywhere in the world.” That threat has to be taken seriously and it is one reason the French-induced delay in going to war is so dangerous and appalling; it gives Saddam more time to plan his worst.

As for Mr. Chirac, we went to press before we heard his response. But earlier he had offered a new 30-day window for Saddam to comply, an offer that was quickly and rightly rebuffed by Vice President Dick Cheney as just one more attempt to buy time for the Iraqi dictator to resist the demands of the world community.

No doubt Tony Blair, facing an antiwar uprising in his own Labour Party, felt he needed the Azores event to show he was going the extra mile for U.N. support. But by now it should be obvious that France has never cared about disarming Saddam. Its goal all along has been to use the U.N. to stop the United States from disarming him. The irony is that in the process Mr. Chirac has only made it easier for Saddam to resist, allowing him to believe that the nations that agreed unanimously to pass U.N. Resolution 1441 would once again fail to enforce its promises.

Mr. Bush’s impatience was palpable: “France showed their cards. After I said what I said, they said they were going to veto anything that held Saddam to account.” Mr. Blair was more diplomatic, but still showed frustration that “this game” Saddam “is playing is, frankly, a game that he has played over the last 12 years. Disarmament never happens, but instead the international community is drawn into some perpetual negotiation.”

No comments yet.

Leave a Comment