Monday, March 13, 2006

What Saddam was thinking ... the French & Russians will protect me with their SC vetoes

Read Daniel Drezner's post summarizing reports newly made public on what Saddam was thinking in the run-up to the war and even during the fighting ... at the center of his thinking was a two-step calculation: First, that the US and Britain would not act without express Security Council permission and, two, that he had in effect rented the Security Council votes of France and Russia through, in particular, the oil for food scheme. In addition, he feared insurrection by his own forces more than he feared the US. The underlying articles he links are fascinating reading.

We are watching the rise of a new (? maybe not so new?) phenomenon in the Security Council, of members renting out the veto, not for political gain in the direct sense, but directly for economic gain, for commercial gain. France and Russia acted partly from political interest, but partly from economic and commercial interest as well. China, today, acts from essentially commercial interest in renting out its veto to Sudan in exchange for oil concessions.

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