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[Opinion] Cozying up to the U.N.

Posted February. 28, 2003 22:51,   


The Iraqi press and media now call French President Jacque Chirac `Al-Munadil Al-Aqbare’ meaning Great Warrior. They are expressing their feelings of gratitude toward the man leading the anti-war front against the war-mongering Americans. To most of them, German Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder is a great warrior, too. They also thank him for his role in the anti-war front. On the same token, U.S. president George W. Bush is called `a lunatic` and his friends in Britain, Italy and Spain, Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi and Jose Maria Aznar, are `villains.`

Iraq has every reason to praise the French and German leaders ahead of the scheduled U.N. Security Council meeting on weapons inspections. Fifteen member states on the Council will vote whether to adopt the second U.S. resolution calling for use of force against Iraq. Americans and their allies will have to drum up support from at least 9 members without facing a veto from any of the five permanent members, which are France, China, Russia, Britain and the U.S, to make their case. No one can be sure which side will prevail in the showdown. Both Iraq and the U.S. are apparently on edge, with many members yet to make their decisions. Facing a devastating war, Iraq is wearing all smiles for France and Germany, which previously stood by the Americans at the time of the Gulf War.

The power of the U.N. Security Council goes so far as to approve a war against a certain country. It was the decision by the council that sent U.N. forces to South Korea during the Korean War. This is why the Korean government puts considerable emphasis on its short stint as a Security Council member from 1996 through 1997. The government at that time put forth its best efforts to win non-permanent membership for Asia replacing the incumbent Sri Lanka. Of course, it had to pay due diplomatic compensation to Sri Lanka later.

The government now needs to keep an eye on the ongoing discussions in the Security Council. North Korea`s nuclear issue is now at the hand of the Council from that of the International Atomic Energy Agency. If the Council ever discusses whether to adopt a resolution against North Korea, the government will have to fight and lobby against any war decision, which will most likely be pushed by the U.S. if that happens. Chances are that the Council will also be evenly divided over the issue. And the government must be fully informed of what is going on inside to get the result that serves our interests best. For this reason, we wish very good luck to the new diplomatic team to the U.N.

Bang Hyung-nam, Editorial Writer, hnbhang@donga.com