October 2, 2002
WASHINGTON, OCT. 2, 2002
-Domestic and foreign critics of the Bush administration's
policy toward Iraq are adamant: Any unilateral effort to cause
"regime change" in Baghdad is doomed to fail. But a new paper from
The Heritage Foundation says the United States won't have to act
"Mounting evidence suggests that the people of Iraq will be
liberated by one of the largest strategic and diplomatic coalitions
the world has seen in modern times," writes Nile Gardiner, a
visiting fellow in Anglo-American security policy. "The Bush
administration has begun building the broad-based alliance
necessary to bring Saddam Hussein down." Ultimately, he predicts,
the emerging coalition will rival the one assembled for the Gulf
A military campaign against Hussein will be led primarily by the
United States and Britain, Gardiner says, but there is a strong
possibility that Australia will take part and that new members of
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), such as Poland, also
might lend a hand. Older NATO members closer to the Middle East,
such as Spain, Turkey and Italy, could join in, along with a
quartet of Iraq's neighbors: Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi
"Even France has stepped back from its unequivocal opposition to
the use of military force, and China and Russia have indicated they
may be willing to soften their opposition to war," Gardiner says.
"Clearly, the tide is turning against Iraq. The United States may
not have to go it alone to rid the world of the threat posed by
Saddam Hussein, after all."
Still, he says, Washington needs to keep drumming up support within
the United Nations Security Council, Europe and the Arab world.
"Allied military, diplomatic and strategic support will be vitally
important not only for a campaign to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction and eliminate its weapons programs, but also after the
war to ensure that long-term war aims are implemented," he
The Bush administration also shouldn't hesitate to condemn those governments that would appease Iraq, Gardiner says. "Germany, for example, should be strongly criticized for moral cowardice and its failure to stand up to a totalitarian regime that threatens regional and global security," he says.
The key U.S. ally in this campaign, the Heritage analyst says, is
Britain. That's why it's important for U.S. policymakers to
understand the intense pressure British Prime Minister Tony Blair
is under from naysayers within his Cabinet, his own party and the
European Union for his support of the Bush administration's policy
"If Blair doesn't succeed at winning over these critics, there's a real danger that any international coalition against Iraq could collapse," Gardiner says.
Blair may have vowed before Parliament that Great Britain is
committed to disarming Iraq "one way or another," but his fellow
Britons are far less supportive of waging war, Gardiner says. A
recent poll showed that 52 percent oppose military action and 33
percent are in favor. And opposition to a war has jumped 14
percentage points since March.
Much of the criticism comes from Blair's own party, according to
Gardiner. Of the 160 members of Parliament who signed a recent
motion opposing military action in Iraq, 133 are from the Labor
Party. Indeed, it was because of the criticism leveled by Labor
officials that Blair recently agreed to a compromise resolution
calling for Britain to obtain U.N. authority before taking military
Gardiner says that Blair also must convince members of the European Union, who are irritated over the fact that Blair's support for the U.S. campaign makes it impossible for them to condemn President Bush with a single voice and counter-balance U.S. dominance in global affairs. As Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel has said: "Morally and politically we [the EU] could take charge of the world. But the British are blocking that."