Things are coming down to the wire. It seems that, just as the Cap’n predicted before his shore leave, that within the next week we’re either going to get approval in the UN to attack Iraq, or be vetoed by France or Russia or both, and attack decide to Iraq. Only someone who is truly spiteful and holds an almost pathological contempt for Europe specifically and the UN in general would actually hope for the latter option to come to pass. So of course, I do.

Well, not really.

Honestly, as any sensible person, I would prefer that the Continentals, the UN, hell, everyone in the world and their mom for chrissakes, were on board with us in this thing. But seeing as how it doesn’t look like that’s a sure thing by any means, I’m content in us going it alone . A small consolation prize in that would be the perfect live-on-CNN demonstration just how irrelevant Europe and the UN have become. It would be the ultimate visual aid. France, of course, will be outraged (others, like Germany, may very well be too, but for situations like these, France is just too perfect of an exemplar for the European mindset: the pure, distilled, free-based, crystalized form of European snobbery and post-modern diplomacy).

They’ll be outraged that we violated “international law” (an “honor among thieves” system if there ever was one), and they’ll be outraged about losing billions of investments and trade agreements with Iraq over the last decade, having sought to slither their way around both the spirit and the letter of the UN sanctions (how’s that for a belief in international law?). But most of all, the thing that will really get their goat(ees) is the fact of us being successful. Because as much as they officially despise everything culturally and politically American, the biggest fear that keeps them up at night is the prospect that they will be revealed as even more impotent in their ability to influence the US, and hence world affairs, than they are now.

The UNSC power of veto is the last vestige of real material power they have (or so they think) . All else is talk: criticisms, strong suggestions, frowns, outraged statements about US aggressiveness, etc. Now, in post-modern Europe, lots of verbiage is the only diplomatic currency that they possess, and it’s the one thing they can be said to truly have in droves. They’ve got windbag diplomats coming out of their ears. The only problem is this currency is about as inflationary as a gigantic hot-air balloon. Swing a dead cat in Brussels and you’re likely to be denounced roundly in the next meeting of the European parliment for not adhering to the EU’s 347 regulations concerning dead cat swinging. Terrifying, I know.

It’s for this reason that I wonder if France and Russia actually will force our unilateral hand . Den Beste expects the Un to have gotten a hearty middle finger from Bush and Co. by this time next week. I’m not so sure. It’s of course possible, perhaps even probable. But can France really stomach the kind of post-Saddam world where a unilateral US thumbed its nose at the one thing that (at least on the surface) can still be said to grant France power to reign in the simplisitic American cowboys?

Around August, I guessed that France would complain and threaten a veto right up until the last moment, and then fall into line when it became absolutely certain that their enlightened chastising wasn’t going to dissuade us. And at that moment, they would wring some laughably trivial “concession” out of the US’ resolution, like getting Bush to replace a semicolon with a comma, and would then proclaim that they had convinced the unsophisticated Americans to do things their way, and go along with the whole deal. They’d be proudly holding up their heads, hoping no one saw the drooping tail between their legs .

I still think that’s possible, if only to preserve on its surface the lie that they still hold some real tangible sway over the direction the river flows. But in either case, we’ll know the answer in a week.

There is a part of me that would love seeing France veto in the SC and get shown up and thrown permanently onto the dustheap of world prominence (I’m constantly trying to tell this side of myself to stop ranting and put the gun down), since it would be nice to watch in a guilty pleasure, schadenfreude way. But most of the time, I’d be perfectly happy to see France continue to play their game of international make-believe, chiding us as if we gave a damn, knowing all the while that they can either do things our way, participating under our direction, or they can sit it out helplessly and watch as we go and do basically whatever the hell we think we have to anyway.

There’s some fun to be had in watching that, too.

last update : 23-5-2018

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