Guest Comment: Paying the Price at the UN for Iraq
Ambassador Gerald B. Helman writes:
‘ At some point, historians, scholars and foreign affairs practitioners will undertake an evaluation of the consequences for U.S. security of the invasion of Iraq, and the (eventual) U.S. withdrawal.
One specific consequence evident now is the failure by the U.S. to get a forceful statement from the President of the Security Council admonishing Iran to cease nuclear enrichment activities.
The U.S. fell short in two respects: first, a Presidential Statement, although it can signal more forceful action to come, is not binding and carries no legal implications. Moreover, the Statement obtained is weak on its face and falls far short of the hints of Chapter 7 enforcement action in the event of noncompliance that the U.S. sought. Such references were removed at the insistence of Russia, China and probably others because of the manner in which the U.S. in 2003 abused the Security Council and it’s authority by invading Iraq and citing present and past resolutions as justifying and even authorizing the invasion.
There seems now a stubborn reluctance to allow the creation of a comparable legislative record regarding Iran. In turn, this will seriously impede whatever political leverage the U.S. hopes to exert over Iran to cease its enrichment activities. The stakes are real, but because of its Iraq adventure the ability of the U.S. to manage them short of force is diminished. ‘
Helman served United States Ambassador to the European Office of the United Nations from 1979 through 1981.