France and Germany against any action without UN mandate
The leaders of France and Germany have demonstrated that the growing rift between the EU and USA over a possible military action in Iraq is no longer rumour, but hard fact. President Jacques Chirac of France and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany issued a joint statement in Schwerin, Germany.
This statement declared that both France and Germany oppose any military action against Iraq which does not come within a UN mandate. Jacques Chirac stated that any such action “could only be justified if it were decided on by the Security Council”.
The declaration comes amid a suspicion that British Prime Minister Tony Blair has already made a secret agreement with George Bush on a joint strike possibly in the Autumn, although both the British and US governments have declared that there is no plan for military action at present. Suspicions have arisen as to Mr. Blair’s position firstly because he has consistently dodged the issue and secondly because when he declared that any action would be taken within the framework of international law, he did not fail to include the fact that Saddam Hussein has broken 23 UN Resolutions. The Bush administration has declared that no UN mandate would be needed to justify an attack.
Financial analysts have issued a variety of opinions on the result of such a war, claiming that it would be unviable because it would cost up to 70 bn. USD at a time when the domestic economy in the US is shaky due to corporate scandals and a volatile Stock Market and send oil proves rocketing, creating high unemployment and leading to further trends towards recession.
However, analysed from another viewpoint, the USA would in the long term have more to gain. While oil prices shot up from 8 to 40 USD in the early days of the Gulf War in the early nineties, the US economy boomed later in the decade as a result of the feel-good factor resulting from the war, just as the British action in the Falklands conflict sent the country of a wave of Thatcherist euphoria which was stronger than the oil crash in the early eighties.
The Second World War set the US economy free from the shackles of the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Korean War launched Japan and the South-East Asian Tigers on the road to financial boom.
There is also a political gain to be made. The US intervention in Kosovo, in league with curious allies, the Albanian terrorists, suspected of also having been supported by Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda, Chechen terrorists and other Islamist mercenaries, drew public attention away from the presidency after the Lewinsky sexual scandal which was threatening to destitute Bill Clinton from the White House. In a similar fashion, when investigators start to insinuate that both President Bush and his Vice President, Richard (Dick) Cheney were guilty of corporate malpractice, a triumphant war overseas on a “freedom fighting” message would do a lot to turn attention elsewhere and would give the Presidency additional powers until a new election was fought when these issues could be aired, or buried for good.
However, the greatest benefit would be in the establishment of a stable, Washington-friendly regime in Iraq, keeping oil prices down and stimulating the world economy on a sustained wave of development; Iraq has the second-largest oil reserves on the planet.
Finally, the cluster of aerospace, energy, telecommunications and military technology companies which traditionally gravitates around the White House would be awarded lucrative contracts. These precepts being even half-true, a war on Iraq would indeed appear as a strong temptation for Washington. Nevertheless, the diplomatic fall-out would be huge, especially at a time when The USA again attracts criticism from abroad for its perceived unilateralist global policy and support from Britain, Washington’s firmest and most faithful ally, along with Israel and a handful of other countries, might not be as secure as the Bush administration imagines: Tony Blair’s Labour Party’s grass-roots members are firmly against any military venture against Iraq, especially outside a UN mandate.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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