Helman on UN Option
Ambassador Gerald B. Helman writes:
“. . . On replacing the US with the UN in Iraq[:] It seems clear that US public opinion is ready for a real exit strategy. But I suspect that the Administration has not yet given up its hope of turning Iraq into a long-term strategic base and asset allowing control of the Middle East and the oil that goes with it. And to turn it all over to the UN would be humiliating. Much would depend upon how the process is rolled-out. Here’s an exampe:
–The US would announce a phased withdrawal, to be completed one year hence.
–(by prearrangement) Iraq and the Arab League (or a collection of Arab states) would ask the UNSC to establish a transition political, economic development and peace enforcement authority to assist the Iraqi Government in it recovery efforts.
–The US would offer logistical (we’re the only one capable) and financial support, as well as military units, on a transitional basis, under UN command (we might be able to swallow the humiliation if the commander is a Brit or German). The UK, Japan, the oil Arabs and others can contribute lots of money. NATO could provide much of the staff, planning and headquarters personnel. But competent boots on the ground might be harder to come by.
I agree that the Cambodia operation (and, more recently, East Timor) could serve as a model. While Cambodia was a mixed success, it was nevertheless a success.”
[Helman has written professionally in this area; see:
Helman, Gerald B. and Steven Ratner. 1992. “Saving failed states”. Foreign Policy. Volume 89. Number 3.
Helman “was United States Ambassador to the European Office of the United Nations from 1979 through 1981.”]