Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)
The Endgame for Iraq
MR HANS BLIX, the UN weapons inspector, delivers his latest report to the Security Council today on Iraq's progress - such as it is - towards disposing of weapons of mass destruction. But it was anticipated before its delivery by President Bush, who declared last night that he will be pressing for a second UN resolution for action against Iraq. "We need the Security Council to state the facts - that Saddam has not disarmed", he said in a televised address to the American people. It is a bold and defiant stance, which may well increase the possibility that Russia and France will defeat a second UN resolution when it is put to a vote. The message from the president is clear: America will defend its interests, with or without the support of the UN. Nonetheless, Mr Bush indicates remarkable confidence that he can actually carry the Security Council with him. This robust approach may well appeal to the American people, for whom the declaration that the US does not need permission to attack its enemies, accords with a significant element of national sentiment.
But all this makes life extraordinarily difficult here for Mr Blair, whose great, acknowledged, achievement to date has been to persuade the president to work in co-operation with the UN rather than in isolation from it. …