By Jean-Marcel Bouguereau
Le 0aNouvel Observateur
Friday 23 May 2003
In the space of ten days, the American position concerning the UN s 0arole in Iraq has very obviously changed. The first draft resolution foresaw 0alimiting the UN to a symbolic role, limited to humanitarian tasks. The one voted 0ayesterday with the concurrence of France, Germany, and Russia no less ratifies 0athe takeover of one country by an occupying power , even if it bears the name 0aof Authority with a capital A . However the usage of oil receipts will be 0aoverseen by an international council of UN representatives and international 0afinancial institution representatives and the role of inspectors is reaffirmed. 0aNo one, all the same, has whispered a word about the absence of those weapons of 0amass destruction which served as the pretext for a war without UN approval. It 0awas no longer the time for argument, but for transatlantic making-up.
Ten days from the G8 Summit which will take place in Evian, Jacques 0aChirac could not receive Georges Bush in the atmosphere of aggravation which has 0adominated Franco-American relations the last few months. All the more so as 0aFrance s two acolytes, Germany and Russia, were not averse to lowering the 0apressure. On their side, the United States will need UN cover because they 0arealize that the reconstruction of Iraq will posit more problems than foreseen: 0ayesterday a Republican Senator, Chairman of the Senate s Foreign Affairs 0aCommittee, played Cassandra, warning that the United States risked losing the 0abattle for the peace, post-war plans proving inadequate . According to him, the 0aUSA are confronted with ethnic and religious struggles, with a people long 0arepressed, with an infra-structure in a pitiful condition, with corruption, with 0athe absence of an experience of democracy among Iraqis, with a group of 0areligious extremists, with looters, with gangsters, and all that in a total 0apower vacuum .
In the United States the presidential campaign is opening. And mouths 0aalso: one Senator, this time a Democrat, accused George Bush on Wednesday of 0ahaving duped his fellow citizens to drag them into the war, by building neither 0amore nor less than a house of cards . What more can one add? Before such a 0aprofound report of failure, why should France have to play prosecutor?
Jean-Marcel Bouguereau is Editor-in-Chief of the Nouvel 0aObservateur. He is also a contributing editor at the R publique des Pyr n es, 0afor which he wrote this article which does therefore not engage the Nouvel 0aObservateur.