Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Don't Rush to Disaster (washingtonpost.com)

In this article, Fareed Zakaria makes the exact same point I'd made a few days ago: that a hasty handover in Iraq, as advocated by the French, would be a disaster.

It is strange that U.N. officials argue that we must quickly move, in Kofi Annan's phrase, from "the logic of occupation" to that of Iraqi sovereignty. The United Nations has blessed and assisted in the occupation of Bosnia, where it took seven years to transfer power to the locals. It boasts of "the logic of occupation" in Kosovo, which has gone smoothly for the past four years, with no prospect of ending anytime soon. It administered tiny East Timor for two years before handing over power. Does Kofi Annan really think that what took seven years in Bosnia can take one year in Iraq, with six times as many people?

It is touching to learn of the French faith in the Governing Council. When the council was set up, the French government (as well as the Germans) refused to endorse it, privately disparaging the group as American puppets. It took a month for the United States to get France to vote in the Security Council simply to welcome the formation of the Governing Council. France's newfound love for the council is simply an attempt to get the United States out as soon as possible.