This is something I feel very strongly about (I remember going almost nuclear about this earlier his year), and it appears we are making progress:
France and Germany agreed to work toward a “substantial reduction” of Iraq’s towering foreign debt next year, marking a significant step forward in the United States’ effort to rebuild the devastated country as well as progress in mending ties with the two countries most opposed to the American-led war there.
“Debt reduction is critical if the Iraqi people are to have a chance to build a free and prosperous Iraq,” said the statement released by French President Jacques Chirac’s office following language agreed upon by the three countries. “Therefore, France, Germany and the United States agree that there should be substantial debt reduction for Iraq in the Paris Club in 2004, and will work closely with each other to achieve this objective.”
What remains to be seen is whether or not they will put their money where their collective mouths are (I refer you back to Sebastian’s piece discussing the difference between words and deeds), but this is a positive first step.
If only Howard Dean had taken the time to teach former Secretary Baker and President Bush about foreign affairs, instead of just teaching them about defense, perhaps that could have been negotiated today. Howie will soon save us all, I guess.
*** Updates ***
Great minds, and all that.
Makes me wonder what kind of inconvenient secrets the CIA has squeezed out of Saddam to make France and Germany do such a sudden about-face.
None, Tatterdemalian. The French and Germans already now the secrets that Saddam can reveal about them, and they do not want to risk any of them coming out, much less the worst.
Not to mention that most of the debt owed to France, Germany, and Russia is for weapons sold on credit to Saddam to keep the Iraqis under heel. The Axis of Weasels does not want America going in front of the international media and asking: “Why do France, Germany, and Russia want the Iraqi people to pay for the weapons they kept them enslaved?”
The Europeans know they aren’t getting a penny on the dollar; they’re trying to make nice to get back on Bush’s good side. Eventually they’ll figure out that the only folks on Bush’s good side are people who do exactly what he says exactly when he says it.
Besides which, of course, the Europeans have been behind debt relief for developing nations in general. This represents ideological consistency, which is, I understand, something not familiar to Bush supporters.
This must be a result of the disasterous decision to not allow French and German bids on the prime contracts.
If the new Iraqi government does not repudiate all debts incurred by Saddam for military equipment and technology, it will have failed to honor the dead killed by those weapons. France, Germany and Russia bankrolled a dictator. Let them get nothing.
M. Scott Eiland
I suspect that the creditor nations will make a necessity out of virtue here–getting the new Iraqi government to pay off old loans incurred by the Butcher of Baghdad would have been difficult even if France, et al, had completely clean hands. Given that the Iraqis knew damned well that the Axis of Weasels would have cheerfully left Saddam in power ad infinitum for simply the chance that he might have paid off a good chunk of the debt by squeezing the life out of the Iraqi people, I’m guessing that someone has whacked the Head Weasels with a cluestick, and that the capture of Saddam is simply the coup de grace to Weasel resistance to the massive restructuring of Iraqi debt.
“…idealogical consistancy… Right, Kimmet, that’s why the EUs were so amiable during the months GWB/Powell etal attempted to woo them at the UN. It’s always about money, and apparently the French, Germans, & Russians thought Saddam was too smart, and with their financial and military aid, too powerful to be over run. More especially to be caught like a rat in a hole. They made a poor financial decision.
It’s truly a sad time for liberals world wide: to not be on “Bush’s good side.” I weep for you.
It’s hard to woo most people with bullshit.
This is foolish – don’t think for a second that ‘France, Germany, and Russia’ were the only ones who supported Saddam. We were supporting him in the 1980s, and have bankrolled many other dictators before and after him.
In addition, we overthrew Saddam, invading a sovereign nation. Shouldn’t we be on the hook, ethically, for the debts incurred by the old regime?
There’s plenty of oil in Iraq. All debts can be paid off without undue hardship for Iraqis, unlike other developing nations.
Yes, US, The UK, Italy, as well as
Gandhi’s India, Palme’s Sweden, Belgium, Brazil,
Argentina, the USSR,