Friday, March 07, 2003

The only way France and Germany are going to vote yes on a new UN resolution is if this new resolution preserves their ability to call for yet another vote on yet another future resolution. There's just no way that either country will vote yes on what will be viewed as the last resolution.

My reasoning is straightforward: having invested so much in their opposition to Bush's plans, and having stoked their respective population's emotions in this direction, it would be political suicide for the leadership of either country to now be seen as doing anything less than expressing maximum opposition. For Germany, it's a no vote - abstaining isn't enough. For France, it's a veto - no abstaining, no mere vote no. Pissing off Bush is one thing, they figure Bush will get over it. Pissing off their own constituents is another matter altogether.

Now, there are supposedly two forms of potential resolution floating around. One, originally offered up by the Canadians and now adopted by the British calls for yet another deadline to be set, with some implied threat of action should the conditions not be met by the stated deadline (consider this resolution 1441, part deux). The other version, as described by Bush tonight, calls for a straight yes or no vote on whether Hussein has in fact disarmed.

If Bush's version is presented, then France would issue their veto and Germany would vote no. Voting yes would be seen as authorizing/agreeing to American military action. If, however, the British version were to be presented, I see another unanimous vote. And, then in the days leading up to this new deadline, I see both France and Germany insisting that there be another vote - at which, unless Resolution 1441, part trois, were to be introduced, France and Germany will veto and vote no, respectively.