POST-WAR IRAQ: Typically, the Bush administration has used Powell and Rumsfeld to good-cop-bad-cop the world and manipulate the diplomatic situation into the form that Bush ultimately wants. Normally, it's Powell playing the multilateral, politically correct good cop, and Rumsfeld/Cheney/Rice/Pearle playing the hardline, rabid dog bad cop. The two parties publically issue mildly conflicting messages, and then in the end Bush comes down somewhere in between them. The liberals who tend to like Powell's initial position better end up a little disappointed, and the conservatives who are closer to Rumsfeld's position are disappointed too, but in the end they both feel as if there's been a compromise. In reality Bush ends up taking the exact position he wants.

So the liberals in America and the appeasers all over the world should be distressed to see Powell's initial position on UN involvement in post-war Iraq:

Secretary of State Colin Powell told Washington's European allies and friends Thursday the United States - not the United Nations - must have the lead role in Iraq's postwar reconstruction.

In a fast-paced series of meetings with his NATO and European Union counterparts at the NATO headquarters here, Powell did not resolve differences over the nature of the U.N role after the fighting is done in Iraq.

"I think the coalition has to play the leading role," he told a closing news conference. "But that does not mean we have to shut others out. There will definitely be a United Nations role, but what the exact nature of that role will be remains to be seen."

Of course, the Europeans are yipping like puppies:
"We must stabilize Iraq and the region," said French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin. "The United Nations is the only international organization that can give legitimacy to this." ...

"I don't see how we could contribute to the reconstruction without the United Nations playing the key role," said Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel. ...

French President Jacques Chirac has opposed giving Britain and the United States a dominant role in rebuilding Iraq, arguing that would legitimize the war. ...

Powell played down the differences, calling his meetings consultative. "I'll report back (to President Bush) what I heard. We are still examining the proper role for the United Nations."

I changed the order of the above quotes to put Powell's at the end because it's diplospeak for "when we want your opinion, we'll ask for it; now be quiet, the grown-ups are talking".



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