David Adesnik at Oxblog wonders what kind of quid pro quo the French and Russians are looking for in exchange for their assent to the a new UNSC resolution for Iraq:
"What is it, exactly, that France and Russia want to change about the occupation? According to Dominique de Villepin, "It is time to move resolutely into a logic of sovereignty for Iraq. A true change of approach is needed. We must end the ambiguity, transfer responsibilities and allow the Iraqis to play the role they deserve as soon as possible."
You can't disagree with that. It sounds exactly like what Donald Rumsfeld has been saying about giving the people Iraq more responsibility for their future.
While my spider-sense indicates that the French have some other agenda, the fact may be that they don't expect much of a quid for their pro-quo because they just aren't going to give that much to the occupation in terms of either time or money. While the French military has drawn up plans for the dispatch of up t10,000 troops, other officials are insisting that France is already overcommitted to other peacekeeping projects.
The Economist figures the anti-war Europeans don't have much in the way of men or money to contribute to the effort in Iraq:
As it happens, neither France nor Germany are in a position to provide much in the way of men or money. Both countries would struggle to come up with more than 5,000 troops each, compared with some 140,000 American soldiers currently on the ground, backed up by 10,000 from Britain and a 9,000-strong Polish-led force which was deployed this week in central Iraq.
The contributions of the French, Germans and Canadians to Afghanistan, a war in which they were complicit and which had UNSC sanction, have been comparatively quite small. And given their inability to muster many troops and the fact that the French and Germans are already running large budget deficits that put them in danger of exceeding the Maastricht stability pact themselves, it seems reasonable to assume their contributions in Iraq would be trifling. It's really countries like India, Turkey, Pakistan and Japan that have a lot to offer and they want the explicit sanction of the UN before making contributions. All the French and the Russians really have to offer is their votes (in favor or abstention) in the UNSC. But they appear willing to try to use that leverage to maximum effect.
I would have thought that erstwhile US allies like France, Germany and Canada would have been at pains to make large contributions in Afghanistan so as to better show the benefits of working with them and under the aegis of the UN. Heck they might even have agreed to shoulder most of the burden there so as to free up more American resources for Iraq.