It was, arguably, the most dramatic diplomatic turnaround ever achieved in U.S. foreign policy.
The United Nations Security Council, after expressing little or no support for the United States' intent to affect a regime change in Iraq, voted unanimously to support U.S. efforts to disarm Iraq. Even more startling was the Arab League's backing of the resolution's specific threat of "serious consequences" if Iraq did not comply.
Through the dogged efforts of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and American diplomats, the U.S. was able to shore up and solidify a consensus of opinion among world leaders. Their judgment was that Saddam Hussein could not continue to flout international law and endanger world peace.
For weeks, it appeared that President George W. Bush's resolve to go it alone with a preemptive strike against Iraq had alienated most U.S. allies. Only Great Britain stood firmly aside the United States in their mutual contention that military action against Saddam Hussein was justified by his long history of savagery and his willingness to thumb his nose at U.N. resolutions.
However, seven weeks of back-and-forth negotiation resulted a 15-0 vote supporting United Nations Resolution 1441. The resolution states in clear and specific terms that Iraq must disarm. Weapons inspectors are expected to arrive in Iraq next week and if they are not allowed unfettered access to sites they want to inspect, military action against Iraq can be expected.
This diplomatic turn of events puts the United States in a drastically better position than it was in two months ago. With the backing of the world community the United States can turn aside criticism that it's acting out of arrogance as the sole superpower in the world. The U.N. resolution gives U.S. efforts to oust Saddam Hussein more legitimacy and offers evidence that it's willing to take on a dangerous foe for the good of world peace and stability.
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