Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Price of Leadership, the Cost of Conviction

I am taking the title from the speech Prime Minister Blair gave to a Labour Party conference on Saturday, the day after the French may well have succeeded in putting an end to whatever moral/political authority the United Nations had. About half way through the speech Blair says the following:
"I do not seek unpopularity as a badge of honour. But sometimes it is the price of leadership. And the
cost of conviction."
In short Blair is standing firm (despite opinion polls showing that he may pay a political price, although it must be said that British opinion is turning more to the Blair-U.S. position on Iraq now that the French perfidy is clear!). He sounds positively Churchillian. Good for him, good for us. I am confident that President Bush is equally firm. The word leadership is much too loosely thrown around today; we are watching it at work.

Here is the French Foreign Minister’s remarks at the Security Council on Friday. It is an increadably silly and vapid argument for permanent inspections, completely misinterpreting resolution 1441. It is also now becoming clear that the French, when they signed unto 1441, never meant to carry through with it: they have been disingenuous from the start. Also note that de Villepin understands the UN to be a "temple" and that he understands that "we are the guardians of an ideal, the guardians of conscience." This is Rousseauian crap and his few bad words are matched with as few good deeds.

In the meantime, Iraq has spurned the French alternative, they will not agree to the thousand U.N. peace inspection troops proposed by the French. The French are the only one’s surprised by this. Also note that Bulgaria is not amused by the bullying tactics of the French; they are nobly resisting the French threat to keep Bulgaria out of the EU unless it comes to support the French position. The Foreign Minister of Bulgaria said this about the ways of Old Europe: "We all remember the
hesitancy of the Allies, who weren’t sure whether to
attack Hitler. They could have prevented so much.

We’re in a situation where we have a moral imperative to
act and act now." And here is the connection between the New Europe and the United States. Fred Kaplan has a good overview of Friday’s events, as does David Warren. Please read both. Here is the Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom Jack Straw’s speech to the Security Council. It’s a good speech, but, unfortunately, his off-the-cuff remarks at the start of it (in response to which nation is old and which new) is not included. Straw said that indeed his country is also old--and he paused--founded in 1066 by the French. Amusing.

And the Weekly Standard reprints excerpts from Colin Powell’s off-the-cuff remarks in response to the Weasels. Powell was clearly angry (again) at the French. Churchill once said that he went into politics because he was ambitious. When asked why he stayed in politics, he replied, "anger." Powell is now a politician. Good for him, good for us.

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