Saddam’s 30 days to comply

If you have online access to The Economist, this article is great. I particularly like this part:

Last November, Mr Hussein was presented with a demand from the UN Security Council, in its Resolution 1441, that he should comply immediately with its terms and (in particular) with those of its Resolution 687 from 1991, which had laid down conditions for a ceasefire in the Gulf war. He was given 30 days to provide a full and accurate declaration of all his stocks and programmes of weapons proscribed in that 1991 resolution; any falsehood or omission from that declaration would mean that he was in "material breach" of the resolution. Mr Hussein had a choice: comply; or try to get away with not complying. Every report from the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, since that 30-day deadline expired has confirmed that he chose the latter. He calculated, correctly, that he could thereby sow division within the Security Council, just as he did when evading Resolution 687 during the 1990s.

I didn't realize Saddam had only 30 days originally. Seems like he should have been out of power a long long time ago. I like this too:

Two myths have taken hold in the course of this debate. One is that by not ceding sovereignty to the Security Council America, Britain and other allies would thereby be destroying the multilateral system of an international rule of law that was set up in 1945. Another is that somehow the Security Council confers legitimacy on international decisions in the same way as a national parliament does for domestic ones.

Yet no such system has ever operated, thanks largely to the reflexive vetoing used by the Soviet Union during the cold war. The Security Council has authorised the use of force on just three occasions: Korea (1950), Iraq (1991) and Afghanistan (2001). All other wars and interventions have occurred, rightly or wrongly, outside the UN's purview. America is now accused of unilateralism by virtue of its threat to bypass the UN if necessary. Yet it is being supported by, among others, Britain, Spain, Italy, Australia, Japan, Kuwait and ten countries from central and eastern Europe. The Security Council, by contrast, may have the backing of the 1945 UN Charter, but it consists merely of 15 countries, among whom three—Britain, France and Russia—hold permanent, veto-wielding seats yet plainly are a lot less important in 2003 than they were in 1945. By no stretch of the imagination can it really be seen as a proxy world parliament.

The italicized part is the thing everyone seems to be missing. This is not American unilateralism, unless someone changed the prefix "uni" to mean "many" without my knowledge.

Yeah, I know some people will say those countries are just puppets of the U.S., but I don't buy that. I think they are just smart enough to see the the game Saddam is playing.