The Summit at the Azores

  1. This opinion can be found in the 3/16/2003 New York Times (the Editorial/Op-Ed page). It sums up many of the debates found on this "Allnurses.com" War/Terrorism Discussions forum. It's only an opinion of this newspaper, but one worth sharing.

    Debate away. . . . .
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    The Summit of Isolation

    Three men meeting on an Atlantic island seems an apt symbol for the failure of the Bush administration to draw the world around its Iraq policy. That's not the intended message of President Bush's meeting today in the Azores with Prime Ministers Tony Blair of Britain and José María Aznar of Spain, but it's hard to avoid that impression. In what appears to be the final days before an American invasion of Iraq, Mr. Bush is taking time to consult with two loyal allies and, ostensibly, to decide if any realistic chance remains for a new United Nations Security Council resolution on Iraq. But the underlying diplomatic reality is bleak. Only a little more than four months since a unanimous Security Council backed American demands for disarming Saddam Hussein, Washington's only sure council supporters are Britain, Spain and Bulgaria.

    President Bush was dealt a bad hand by others. Baghdad refused to provide the active cooperation that alone could have brought inspections to a swift and successful conclusion. France has created enormous problems through its unwillingness to back up inspections with tight deadlines and a credible threat of force.

    But the Bush administration's erratic and often inept diplomacy has made matters immeasurably worse. By repeatedly switching its goals from disarmament to regime change to broadly transforming the Middle East, and its arguments from weapons to Al Qaeda to human rights, the White House made many countries more worried about America's motives than Iraq's weapons. Public arm-twisting of allies like Turkey and Mexico backfired, as did repeated sniping at Hans Blix, one of the U.N.'s two chief arms inspectors.

    Just this past week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld damagingly suggested that Washington didn't really need British military help, administration diplomats unhelpfully hedged their support for a British compromise proposal and Secretary of State Colin Powell further undercut London's efforts to win over undecided Security Council members by suggesting that Washington might soon withdraw the pending resolution without a vote.

    Even now, diplomacy might be resuscitated if the administration made an all-out effort to seek broad consensus around the British concept of disarmament benchmarks and specific, achievable deadlines. Such an effort would require much greater American willingness to negotiate realistic deadlines and credible mechanisms for measuring Iraqi compliance than has yet been evident.

    Instead, the Bush administration now gives every appearance of going through the motions of diplomacy as a favor to Mr. Blair without really believing in it. By allowing that perception to grow, Mr. Bush finds himself about to embark on an uncertain course of war and nation-building in one of the world's most dangerous and complex regions, with an alliance far too narrow for comfort.
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   jnette
    Originally posted by efiebke
    This opinion can be found in the 3/16/2003 New York Times (the Editorial/Op-Ed page). It sums up many of the debates found on this "Allnurses.com" War/Terrorism Discussions forum. It's only an opinion of this newspaper, but one worth sharing.

    Debate away. . . . .
    __________________________________

    The Summit of Isolation
    But the Bush administration's erratic and often inept diplomacy has made matters immeasurably worse. By repeatedly switching its goals from disarmament to regime change to broadly transforming the Middle East, and its arguments from weapons to Al Qaeda to human rights, the White House made many countries more worried about America's motives than Iraq's weapons. Public arm-twisting of allies like Turkey and Mexico backfired, as did repeated sniping at Hans Blix, one of the U.N.'s two chief arms inspectors.



    Instead, the Bush administration now gives every appearance of going through the motions of diplomacy as a favor to Mr. Blair without really believing in it. By allowing that perception to grow, Mr. Bush finds himself about to embark on an uncertain course of war and nation-building in one of the world's most dangerous and complex regions, with an alliance far too narrow for comfort.
    Speaks volumes. Thank You, Efiebke. The handling of this matter has certainly left much to be desired. I'm afaid we're in a downward spiral now. How sad indeed.
  4. by   Mkue
    Originally posted by efiebke

    Instead, the Bush administration now gives every appearance of going through the motions of diplomacy as a favor to Mr. Blair without really believing in it. By allowing that perception to grow,
    I think Bush would be critisized either way, so this article is basically partisan propaganda.

  5. by   donmurray
    Teery Jones' latest comment piece is not so much partisan propaganda as political satire, but the conclusions are similar in many ways.


    Terry Jones
    Sunday March 16, 2003

    It's not easy when you find out that your friends have been using you as a chump.
    Tony Blair must have been really sick this week when Donald Rumsfeld casually let drop that Mr.Bush and his team couldn't give a toss about Britain sending soldiers to Iraq. Truth is, they'd probably prefer it if we didn't, but our participation at least means they can pretend it's an international force.

    But I bet Tony feels terribly slighted - after all he's gone through to prove his devotion to the ideals of extremist Republican militarism. He's practically split his party, put his own leadership in jeopardy and made himself look thoroughly ill in the process. And what has he got out of it? A few pats on the back and nice Christmas card from the White House, I expect.

    I mean it's simply not fair. Here he is - Prime Minister of Great Britain (just) - and he's doing everything he possibly can including leaning over backwards and licking his own bottom. He's spending vast amounts of money he hasn't got on sending men to the Gulf. He's put his entire nation in the front line for terrorist reprisals. He's upset his other admirers in Europe, and - to cap it all - he's put his name to a plan that is not just plain stupid but is actually wicked, and in return? Zilch.

    All the contracts for reconstructing Iraq are to go to American companies - preferably ones like Haliburton, which remain such good friends with their old boss vice-president Dick Cheney. But not a single British company is to benefit from all the mayhem and destruction that the bombing is going to cause.

    Poor old Tony doesn't even get a bone.

    I suppose he should have been more careful about who he was playing with in the first place.

    But they took him for a sucker.

    He thought he'd be able to cut a decent figure as the elder statesman, sagely steering his impetuous American friends away from actions they would later regret. And for that he was prepared to subscribe to the most hawkish, aggressive regime that has ever held power in the good ole US of A. A regime whose planners spelled out their schemes for American military world domination in a report for the Project for the New American Century published in September 2000, before the George Bush seized power. (You can look it up on www.newamericancentury.org).

    Their aim, they say in their report, is "to shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests". And they make it quite clear that they envisage achieving those aims not by diplomacy but through military might. For which reason they need "increase defense spending gradually to a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of gross national product, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually."

    At the time they knew there was little hope of the American public buying into such imperialistic dreams. What was needed they said in their pre Sept 11th report was: "some catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbour." Well the dreams came true.

    And now it's quite obvious that instead of Mr Rumsfeld and Mr. Cheney listening attentively to Mr Blair's sage advice, they've simply been using him as a patsy - a convenient fig-leaf.

    Tony Blair has merely been helping to give Mr. Bush's barbaric planners for World domination credibility amongst the American public.

    The only conceivable hope of stopping their militaristic global ambitions is for the rest of the world to oppose them. There might then be some hope that the American public would wake up to what sort of a government they currently have. The reawakening of American democracy is the only hope for a future world that is not ridden by terrorism and global warfare.

    - Terry Jones writes regularly for The Observer. To all those readers who have written in to ask if this Terry Jones had anything to do with Monty Python, the answer is yes.
  6. by   pickledpepperRN
    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/...p?story=387598
    "My hope is that on Monday morning the [Bush] administration will realise there are two superpowers in the world: the United States and world opinion," said the Rev Bob Edgar, general secretary of the US National Council of Churches. "They haven't convinced the world there is a smoking gun."
  7. by   pickledpepperRN
    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/...p?story=387609
    The Final Charade

    By Andy McSmith Political Editor,
    Kim Sengupta in Baghdad and
    David Usborne in New York

    16 March 2003
    Despite the build-up of hopes surrounding
    today's "peace summit" in the Azores, Tony
    Blair is expected to admit to George Bush that
    the hunt for a "UN route" to war has failed,
    opening the prospect of an American-led
    assault on Iraq at any time.

    Mr Bush spent the day at Camp David, the presidential retreat, while
    thousands of anti-war protesters were due to mount a vigil at the White
    House. Demonstrators marched around the world - in Tokyo, Bangkok,
    Paris and dozens of other cities.

    Because of the level of opposition to war in Britain, the failure to achieve a
    second United Nations resolution will have serious consequences for Tony
    Blair. Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, is reported by friends to be very
    depressed by the prospect of war without proper UN authority. Insiders now
    regard Mr Cook's resignation from the Cabinet as even more likely than the
    departure of the International Development Secretary, Clare Short.

    Many Labour MPs who backed the Government then made it clear they were
    doing so on condition that the UN Security Council passed a second
    resolution authorising war, as Mr Blair confidently predicted they would.
  8. by   pickledpepperRN
    Clearly not United States partison opinion!

    http://argument.independent.co.uk/re...p?story=387445

    The state we're in

    By Steve Richards

    16 March 2003
    How has Tony Blair got himself into such an
    unlikely political nightmare? In the first term
    he declared soothingly that "the entire country
    is my core constituency". Now he faces
    Cabinet resignations, backbench revolts on
    an historic scale and civil unrest. On the
    international front, he once proclaimed that
    his "historic objective is to end Britain's
    ambiguous relationship with Europe". Now he
    is firmly on one side of a divided Europe,
    leading the taunts against the other side,
    cheered on by the Eurosceptic newspapers.
    More specifically, this seemingly cautious
    leader is preparing to go to war on a timetable
    largely determined by the US, having thrown
    the UN into frenzied disarray.

    The case for the defence is put passionately
    by those who work closely with Mr Blair, and is
    shared by a significant section of his own
    party. They argue that he is acting with
    awesome courage in doing what he believes
    to be right. He is an heroic figure who is
    taking on all opposition because he
    recognises that Saddam has to be removed
    and that the US must remain part of the
    international community.

    One Labour MP who sees him regularly put it
    to me more strongly. "After this, Tony will be
    able to lead in Europe and get the Middle East
    peace conference under way. In about a
    year's time, he will be trusted enough to take
    us into the euro." The narrative was so
    compelling I almost bought a bottle of
    champagne.
    It would, though, take three or four bottles -
    consumed rapidly - to believe the current
    situation is an unequivocal triumph for the
    Prime Minister. Up to a point, the case for the
    defence is unquestionably correct. Mr Blair
    has consistently warned about Saddam long
    before 11 September. I believe him when he
    says that if President Bush had not embarked on this course he would now
    be urging him to do so. It is also the case that Blair has encouraged a
    dialogue between a unilateralist-inclined US and the rest of the international
    community.

    But the problems begin with the nature of that dialogue. As I argued last
    week, it is clear that he committed British troops to a possible war against
    Iraq when he met President Bush a year ago. He said at the time that he
    believed passionately that Saddam's weapons of mass destruction had to
    be dealt with. It is not in his nature, nor in line with his public statements, to
    whisper privately to Mr Bush: "You deal with them on your own. I am keeping
    out of this." British troops were lined up from the beginning.
    Together, they have also said publicly they do not expect Saddam to comply
    voluntarily. In other words they did not expect him to dismantle his weapons
    without force. The most detailed example of this came in an interview that Mr
    Blair gave Andrew Marr of the BBC in Washington last month. The transcript
    is revealing. It is clear Mr Blair had no doubt that a war was unavoidable. As
    an unhelpful echo, Bush explicitly said then, and since, that he would go to
    war with or without the UN.

    The early commitment to join the US in a military campaign, and public
    statements implying war was inevitable, have led to many of Mr Blair's
    related problems at the UN and at home. The leaders of dissenting
    countries at the UN are playing all sorts of games, but they are not daft.
    When Bush and Blair give such clear signals that they regard war as
    unavoidable the doubters have every right to be suspicious of their
    hyper-activity at the UN. The US and UK are seeking wider legitimacy for a
    war they have been planning for a year and want to start within days. From
    the beginning Bush and Blair have done little more than invite the UN to
    back military action. When countries decline to do so, British and US
    ministers have the chutzpah to attack them for letting down the UN.
    The great tragedy is that this epic international divide comes down largely to
    the trivial matter of a few weeks. France and Russia say that their proposed
    lengthy extended deadline for the UN inspectors is up for negotiation. Their
    main, and entirely understandable, objection is to a new resolution that
    would mean war in a few days. If the Prime Minister could persuade
    President Bush to give Hans Blix and his inspectors a few more weeks the
    international community would have no choice but to unite. President Chirac
    would be in no position to proclaim, at the end of another decent interval,
    that he wanted Blix to spend even more time in the desert. Presumably, the
    Swede will start to yearn for Stockholm before very long. The world order has
    collapsed over a battle between an unreasonable veto and an unreasonable
    deadline.

    Why has Mr Blair come down on the side of the unreasonable deadline?
    Partly, he is acting out of conviction and - in the short term - will be partially
    vindicated. This will be a one-sided war. But there are other reasons that
    explain why he has got himself into a situation in which he is trapped, where
    he has no choice but to be "bold". He is in the rare position of being a prime
    minister with no previous ministerial experience. At the start of May 1994 he
    was shadow home affairs spokesman. By the end of the month, after John
    Smith's death, he was a prime-minister-in-waiting. He handled this
    unprecedented shift in political status with such skill that no one noticed the
    join. But the fact that he and his administration spent 18 years in opposition
    is an under-rated factor in explaining quite a lot of what has happened since
    1997. They exercise power without being able to draw on past experiences
    of governing.
    Would Mr Blair have hemmed himself in quite so rigidly with a divided
    Republican administration had he been a foreign secretary in a previous
    Labour government? I doubt it. This is a government hindered still by
    Labour's capacity to lose elections for nearly two decades. At home the
    inexperience is rarely exposed because of the ineptitude of the political
    opposition. Wily operators in Washington and Paris are in an altogether
    different league from Iain Duncan Smith.

    Mr Blair's remarkable record of reversing Labour's election-losing sequence
    is one of the reasons why he will still be Prime Minister when the war is
    over. Some Labour rebels are already rallying around after a few
    over-excited backbenchers foolishly raised the prospect of a leadership
    challenge. Even so, the relationship between the Prime Minister and Labour
    has changed permanently as a result of this crisis.
    Mr Blair is pushing at the boundaries of how far a leader can move away
    from his party. There are illuminating echoes with the career of Dr David
    Owen, who led the SDP in the 1980s. They agree on many issues and are
    perceived in a similar light. In the 1980s commentators in the media hailed
    Dr Owen, proclaiming him as a titan, the only alternative prime minister.
    They were doing so without noticing that Dr Owen's party was disappearing
    from underneath him. Dr Owen was a titan without any visible means of
    support. He did not survive for very long.

    Commentators are hailing the titanic Mr Blair now. Some of them are
    rubbing their hands with gleeful anticipation at the prospect of some meaty
    right-wing policies being implemented when the war is won. They forget that
    Britain has a party political system, not a presidential one. Mr Blair will be
    gone before the next election if he forgets that as well.
  9. by   pickledpepperRN
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2855461.stm
    Bush issues ultimatum on Iraq
    US President George W Bush has said that 17 March will be a moment of truth for the world regarding Iraq.

    Monday was the final day to determine whether or not diplomacy could work, the president said.

    Mr Bush, speaking after a meeting lasting just over an hour in the Azores with the British and Spanish leaders, again demanded Iraq's
    immediate and unconditional disarmament.

    "The Iraqi regime will disarm itself or the Iraqi regime will be disarmed by force - and the regime has not disarmed itself, " Mr Bush said.

    Without a credible ultimatum ... then more discussion is just more delay.
    Tony Blair

    He said the Iraqi leader was a threat to the peace of free nations, and a cruel oppressor of the Iraqi people.

    The president did not specify whether or not there would be a vote on the proposed new UN resolution, but said he hoped the world body would
    have a role to play in a post-Saddam Iraq.

    Correspondents say they are only likely to push for a vote if they believe they can win it.

    Territorial integrity

    UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said that, without a credible ultimatum from the international community on Iraq, more discussion was just more delay.

    He pledged that in the event of war, Iraq's territorial integrity would be protected and the country's natural resources would be used for the benefit of
    the Iraqi people.

    His Spanish counterpart, Jose Maria Aznar, said they were willing to make one last effort for peace. If Saddam Hussein wanted to prevent a war, he
    said, he should do it now by disarming.

    The leaders were keen to characterise their meeting as a last chance for diplomacy, but the BBC's Mike Wooldridge, reporting from there, says it
    has been widely seen as a prelude to war.

    Iraq, meanwhile, has been put on a war footing as US and other forces continue to mass in the Gulf.

    "We are in the diplomatic endgame," a spokesman for Mr Blair told reporters on the flight to the summit.

    Our correspondent says this all suggests that there is little or no possibility of reconciliation between the three leaders and the rival camp led by
    France, Russia and Germany - at least as long as they cling to their insistence that there is still mileage in the weapons inspections and the case for
    war has not been made.

    Just hours before the Azores summit, French President Jacques Chirac said in an American television interview that he was willing to accept a
    month's deadline for the weapons inspectors to finish their work.

    "I am fully prepared to accept whatever practical working terms the inspectors will propose," Mr Chirac said in the interview, which is due to be
    broadcast later in the day.

    But his suggestions were rejected by US Vice-President Dick Cheney who said: "We're approaching the point where further delay helps no-one but
    Saddam Hussein."

    In other developments: US Secretary of State Colin Powell says he can see no point in a new meeting of the UN Security Council and warns
    journalists and other people to consider leaving Baghdad

    Pope John Paul appeals for a peaceful resolution to the crisis, saying: "There is still time to negotiate, there is still space for peace"

    Germany urges its citizens to leave Iraq "immediately" and prepares to close its embassy in Baghdad

    Inside Iraq, Baghdad officials said they were working on a declaration covering alleged stocks of anthrax which they would deliver to the UN within
    two days.

    They have already handed over another document accounting for VX nerve agents.

    Military moves

    And on Sunday, they gave the UN photographs and videotapes of mobile laboratories which they say show that mobile laboratories are harmless
    and not part of a production line for germ warfare, as alleged by Britain and the US.

    The Iraqi authorities have invited the chief weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei to Baghdad for urgent talks, but no response is
    expected before Monday.

    Correspondents say both Iraq and its opponents are meanwhile finalising their military preparations.

    Saddam Hussein announced four military command zones covering the whole of Iraq.

    His son Qusay has been put in charge of safeguarding Baghdad and his home town of Tikrit, while a general known as "Chemical Ali" for his alleged
    role in gas attacks on Kurds is in command of the Basra region which could be one of the first areas invaded.

    US forces in the Gulf now top what our Pentagon correspondent calls the "magic number" of 250,000 personnel and both US and UK forces say
    they are ready for any military assault.

    US intelligence agents have also drawn up a list of senior Iraqi officials - including the Iraqi leader and his two sons - they believe should be tried for
    war crimes, the New York Times reported.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...st/2855461.stm

    Published: 2003/03/16 19:31:19

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