Wednesday, April 2, 2003

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OVERSELLING THE COALITION: I've noted previously that critics accusing the administration of unilateralism are exaggerating, since some important countries back our position in words and deeds. However, this Financial Times story hakes a good point about the Bush administration's exaggerations on the other side:

"Only six months after the US accused Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine's president, of approving the sale of high-tech radar systems to Iraq, Ukraine has joined the US-led coalition fighting to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime.

Although Ukraine says it opposes the military effort and is sending only "humanitarian aid", the US is hailing Ukraine's membership as a significant step towards mending relations.

The inclusion of an avowedly pacifist, allegedly embargo-busting country in the coalition shows how eager the US is to portray broad international support for the military campaign. A recent White House press release lists 48 coalition members, ranging from active combat participants to countries with less clear roles, such as Mongolia and Tonga.

Markian Lubkivsky, press service chief at Ukraine's foreign ministry, said his country's sole contribution was a hazardous chemicals clean-up unit stationed in Kuwait, which he said had a 'humanitarian' mission and would not enter Iraq.

'We can be regarded as a participant in the coalition only in that [humanitarian] sense,' he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

'Ukraine is exclusively for deciding any crisis situation by peaceful means.'

But US ambassador Carlos Pascual said his government regarded Ukraine as a backer of the war.

He said: 'In saying that they are ready to be considered as part of the coalition to disarm Iraq, we take that as support for our position.'"

posted by Dan on 04.02.03 at 03:35 PM