Russia, France, Germany Determined Not To Bid Farewell to Iraqi Debt

Putin, Chirac and Schroeder hold a summit in St.Petersburg

Most likely, the summit of Russian, German and French leaders, which opens today in St.Petersburg, will not give any answers to a lot of questions, which came up after the fast collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime. Yet, the major problem to date is the development of further tactics and strategy in the relations with the United States that has gone a little dizzy on account of its easy victory. It would be very good to have the outlines of such behavior as soon as possible, for we all will have to face a lot of serious problems in the future otherwise.

Vladimir Putin, Gerhard Schroeder, and Jacques Chirac organized their meeting in a rather extraordinary way. Needless to mention that neither Moscow, nor Berlin, nor Paris supposed that the basic part of the army action would be over that soon. To all appearances, no one supposed that at all, not even George W. Bush. At least, the look of the American president during his address to the Iraqi nation was somewhat bewildered. Of course, this does not change the point of what has happened: the war is practically over, so one is supposed to think, what is going to happen next in the Mideast region (and not only there). The main thing about it is to prevent the White House from committing follies.

Yet, there are very few opportunities to affect Washington's position. The American administration has already offered Russia, France and Germany to write off the Iraqi debt. According to American officials, it would be a very good contribution for the restoration of Iraq. Of course, Russian politicians and businessmen became rather indignant about it: they claimed that they would talk about debts only with the legal Iraqi government. This seems to be strange, as if they do not know, what kind of government it will be. German and French officials have not released any statements on the issue yet. Berlin has recently announced, though, that the Iraqi debt to Germany makes up four billion euros. Does it mean that Germans do not want to bid farewell to their money?

One can not envy Putin, Schroeder and Chirac. They have to deal with a puzzle, which is not going to be solved quickly. On the other hand, if they manage to develop a joint position on the issue, there would be a reason to strengthen the connection between Moscow, Berlin and Paris, the new “Triple Entente,” so to speak. However, what can the three countries oppose to the confidence and even impudence of Washington? The United Nations might play an important role in this respect, although it seems rather strange against the background of the latest events.

As the Wall Street Journal wrote, the United States of America will not be able to abolish the Oil for Food program without the UN Security Council's knowledge, and to retrieve the export of oil completely. Russia and France, the newspaper wrote, might veto such a suggestion, if they do not get a guarantee that their interests in the post-war Iraq will be preserved. However, this supposition does not give a reason to believe that those interests will be observed. The ingenuity of American strategists raises admiration sometimes. At the end of the day, neither the UN Security Council, nor the UN were able to prevent the war. The retrieval of the Iraqi oil export is not that hard to solve it alone, without the UN's opinion.

Most likely, Russian, German and French leaders will not aggravate the opposition to Washington. Of course, they will say that the UN's role is extremely important in the Iraqi life after the war. It goes without saying that the White House will not make any concessions about it. Maybe, some day. For the time being, the new “Entente” will have to think of something that will help it to keep its political image. Yet, it is not know, if Washington might wish to “punish” the adversaries of the war in Iraq. Apparently, this wish is predominant in the American administration so far.