Now that their epic 12-year struggle to preserve the regime of Saddam Hussein is nearing its final relegation to the cesspool of history, the forces of Weasel are turning their malevolent attention to the next government of Iraq. The one that will replace Saddam's.
The thrust of their opposition to Iraq's liberation was that Saddam's regime is legitimate. In other words, states are sovereign: no matter what they may do to their people and no matter what future threat they pose to the world (so the theory went),
their rule is legitimate. Only the Security Council of the United Nations can take away this legitimacy and since (under the Weasel interpretation at least) it refused to do so, the liberation of Iraq is illegal. Likewise, it is only the UN that can grant legitimacy to any post-war government of Iraq.
Hence, before anyone had any idea what such a government would look like or how it would behave, the Weasels were already threatening it pre-emptively:
The European Union issued a blunt warning yesterday that it would not finance the reconstruction of Iraq if Washington went to war without a clear mandate from the United Nations.
Chris Patten, the European external affairs commissioner, said it would be “very difficult” to convince states already facing a budget crunch that they should spend large sums of money repairing the damage done by America in a conflict they opposed.
Just step back and consider the sheer depravity of this threat and what lies behind it. Be optimistic for a moment. Suppose that sometime soon the murder and the torture and the repression and stagnation in Iraq have come to an end and a new government is trying to rebuild the country and feed the hungry. The Europeans will suddenly find it “very difficult” to help. Why? Well, it's all about legitimacy: Let the new government be as democratic and representative as you like; let it respect human rights and religious freedom and let it achieve prodigies of reconciliation; let it recognise Israel's and Kuwait's right to exist and let it disarm so transparently that Hans Blix completes his work in an afternoon; let it excel in every virtue known to Paris and beyond, and it will avail it nothing. For what the Weasels will find unforgivable about the new Iraqi government has nothing to do with what that government will do or be. It is not really about Iraq at all. It is that the Americans deposed Saddam. For their taint of association with this crime, Chris Patten will withhold aid to the people of Iraq. This is the same Chris Patten, incidentally, who is the principal cheerleader for EU funding of the Palestinian Authority on “humanitarian” grounds, and who scornfully (and successfully) opposed the proposed European Parliament investigation into the use of these funds for terrorism.
Will the UN likewise withhold legitimacy? The weasels would certainly have them threaten to:
In the face of continued US reluctance to consider a role for the UN in postwar Iraq, Mr de Villepin insisted that the UN was vital to tackling problems in Iraq, and their repercussions in the region. “The requirement for UN approval is both a principle and a necessity," he said. The US and Britain, above all, would find political cover and legitimacy from the UN necessary in the war's aftermath.
Necessary, why? Because should the Coalition be unwilling to pay the Weasels’ price, the UN will exert its magical prerogative and deny the new Iraqi government legitimacy.
And what is this price? Control:
In the war's aftermath, he accepted that “it is clear that the countries that have taken the lead on the ground may have a special responsibility”. But they should exercise it “under the umbrella of the UN to confer legitimacy”. The UN should approve, even if it did not run, operations in postwar Iraq.
By what right? What will entitle the Weasels and their bloodstained allies, all the tyrants of the world, to control the destiny of the people whose liberation they tried so long and hard to prevent, and for which Coalition soldiers are today fighting and dying?
Fortunately the legitimacy of governments is not really in the gift of the UN. It comes from the consent of the governed. In the long run this is the standard against which it will, in practice, be judged no matter what anyone says. It is a standard against which the United States, but conspicuously not the UN, wants its post-war policy to be judged. The UN is not – or at least not yet – a legitimate or honest judge. But whether the UN in future can find a role in a world order based on that criterion of legitimacy, or whether, alternatively, it continues to be a major obstacle to the creation of such a world, is the standard against which the UN must itself be judged.
UPDATE: The Emperor Misha has graciously noticed our humble remarks and has proposed that, consequently, as the war draws to a close, the Weasels would be better renamed "The Axis of Vulture". Good point.
FURTHER UPDATE: The Vultures are squawking louder.