Sabre rattling by the USA over Iraq falls on deaf ears as backs are turned around the globe, leaving Washington isolated.
Colin Powell started well, proving that the soldier can make a good statesman but unfortunately the veneer is wearing off. Although it is true he has not been helped by the constant string of gaffes from the White House, he himself has also started to inflame diplomatic circles around the world with hasty snipes totally unbefitting a person in his position. US diplomacy reaches an all-time low, as Slobodan Milosevic reveals the NATO war crimes in the Balkans, US military aircraft continue to bomb innocent civilians in Afghanistan, and there is universal criticism of the “axis of evil” reference.
After having snubbed the comments of the French Foreign Minister, Hubert Vedrine, as being “ethyl vapour”, after the head of French diplomacy called Washington’s “axis of evil” position “simplistic”, Colin Powell now hears French Prime Minister Leonel Jospin deride Washington’s external policy against Iraq as “an impulse”.
To the voices of the French are added the Germans and Italians. Silvio Berlusconi recently confirmed that Italy prefers “a policy of dialogue” with Iraq “until proof to the contrary” (that Saddam Hussein is not serious or is actively supporting international terrorism.
One week after German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer stated in an interview with Der Welt, that “the greatest world power cannot lead the world alone, with its six thousand million inhabitants, towards a peaceful future”. He declared that America had its allies and should listen to them, instead of unilaterally making global decisions.
Now German government spokesperson Uwe-Karsten Heye states that Germany considers that it is “appropriate and reasonable” to maintain the international coalition and considers that a “reasonable” response to Iraq would be to send UN observers to inspect Iraq’s weapons programme. “We start with the principle that pressure will continue to be applied to Iraq in this way”, he said.
In its turn, Iran makes daily statements criticising the arrogance of the United States after September 11th, which it accuses Washington of using “to exercise a world dictatorship”, in the words of Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi, who added that “This proves that the American leadership cannot be trusted. They try to be the lords of the world unilaterally and want to discard all other competitors”.
Washington is again more and more alone. Its diplomacy is not gaining friends, but enemies. The response to September 11th was swift but it appears the basic lessons have not been learnt.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru