Pure, and simple, I think Bush, in a twenty minutes speech, outmanuvered the United Nations, and his opponents. Read the speech, it’s that simple.
President Bush gave a good speech at the U.N., and it now looks far more likely that the U.S. will not simply launch an invasion of Iraq but will work with and through the U.N., as it did during the Gulf War. I think that’s a positive step, and I applaud Bush for taking it. From where I sit, it looks like Bush has chosen to take heed of the critics of the preemptive unilateralism espoused by the hawk wing of his administration. As Josh Marshall puts it, “The White House had one policy. They hit a brick wall. Now they’ve changed policies.” Go over to Andrew Sullivan’s blog and you find a different take: “Bush has essentially outmaneuvered his opponents…Bush has spectacularly called the U.N.’s bluff.” We won’t know whether the U.N. speech represents a genuine shift toward multilateralism or a tactical feint until a few weeks have passed and we get a better sense of how seriously Bush intends to work with the U.N. He has a good example to follow from his father’s methodical building of a global alliance against Iraq. The effort to build such an alliance today will force the president to do what he has not yet done: Explain to the world exactly why Iraq is so much more immediate a threat today than it was two or four or eight years ago. [Scott Rosenberg’s Links & Comment]