A Total Waste?

Writing for the Telegraph, Anne Applebaum argues the entire UN effort was a big mistake:

Practically nobody is willing to say it, so let us be as frank as possible: the decision to conduct the invasion of Iraq in consultation with the United Nations – a decision taken by President George W Bush partly to mollify his friend Tony Blair – has been utterly disastrous. Even if it proves possible to bribe Guinea and Angola and Chile into voting for a second UN resolution – even if the French, miraculously, change their minds about the whole thing tomorrow – the diplomatic events of the past week will go down in history as the most embarassing for the United States and Britain in a long time.

Despite cajoling and bribery and flattery, Colin Powell and Jack Straw have found it nearly impossible to persuade the UN Security Council of the necessity of deposing Saddam Hussein by military force. Even Mexico, a country dependent on American trade, has refused to go along easily. Even Mr Bush’s new best friend, Vladimir Putin, doesn’t seem interested in co-operating.

There are three explanations for the disaster, each propounded, to various degrees, by different factions here in Washington, and each with some merit. One of them, the “I-told-you-so” faction, argues that all of this was inevitable, and that the real mistake was to go through the UN at all.


I maintain that the push did bring us some measurable benefits. But Applebaum is right about one thing


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