Friday, August 10, 2007

Bush threatens Iraqi leader, grovels to UN

Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki caused waves recently when he took an opportunity to praise Iran. He said discussions with Iran's loudmouth president had been positive and that that, "Even in security issues there is no barrier in the way of co-operation" between the two countries.

This politically incorrect comment infuriated Iraq's American overlords. President Bush threatened that if the Iraqi prime minister dared disagree with his declaration of Iran's inherent Evilness, then the US leader would be forced to have a 'heart to heart' talk with him. If the prospect of having to listen to president's voice for an hour doesn't bring Maliki into obedience, then nothing will.

The US president might finally be realizing how disastrous the situation in Iraq is. Despite being right about Saddam's mythical weapons of mass destruction, the UN went into Iraq to help rebuild the country following the US aggression. This decision, by then secretary-general Kofi Annan (one of the few truly great world figures of our time), was extremely controversial among UN staff but gained him no favor with a US administration determined to whip up anti-UN fervor. It's a sad example of doing the right thing and pissing everyone off anyway. The UN withdrew its staff from Iraq's Eden when a car bomb killed 22 staff members at its Baghdad headquarters in 2003.

But after spending most of the last five years attacking and undermining the international body at every turn (and then blaming it for everything else), Bush is now on his hands and knees grovelling to the United Nations to return to the country. Washington got the Security Council to approve an expanded UN presence in the country.

The UN actually knows something about the difficult and complicated task of nation building, having successfully contributed to such efforts in places like Mozambique. This is a lot harder than the task of nation destroying, so perfected by the Bush administration. The neo-cons have struggled with nation building because it's not something that can be achieved with belligerent rhetoric, religious fervor and dropping random bombs.

In crawling back to the only body (however flawed) with any real international legitimacy, perhaps the White House has finally realized how discredited America is in Iraq, how that discredit is paralyzing progress and that only the UN has even a marginal hope of helping to clean up the gargantuan mess it created.

Perhaps.

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