Thursday, February 27, 2003

IPS Releases Report on U.S. Arm-twisting Over Iraq War (Washington, DC, February 26, 2003). As U.S. officials intensify their arm-twisting offensive to gather support for a war on Iraq, the Institute for Policy Studies is releasing a new study today that examines the specific levers of U.S. military, economic, and political power. The study, entitled "Coalition of the Willing or Coalition of the Coerced?," looks at how this leverage applies to each current member of the UN Security Council. It also analyzes the power the U.S. government exerts over the broader group of countries that the Bush Administration has dubbed the "Coalition of the Willing." Although the Administration refuses to release a list of the members of this coalition, the authors compiled a list of 34 nations cited in press reports as supporters of the U.S. position on Iraq. Major findings:
  • Although the Bush Administration claims that the anonymous "Coalition of the Willing" is the basis of genuine multilateralism, the report shows that most were recruited through coercion, bullying, and bribery.
  • The pursuit of access to U.S. export markets is a powerful lever for influence over many countries, including Chile and Costa Rica, both of which are close to concluding free trade deals with the United States; African nations that want to maintain U.S. trade preferences; and Mexico, which depends on the U.S. market for about 80 percent of its export sales.
  • The populations of the countries in the so-called "Coalition of the Willing" make up only about 10 percent of the world's population. Opponents of the U.S. position currently include the leading economies of four continents (Germany, Brazil, China, and South Africa).
  • President Bush could make or break the chances of Eastern European members of the "Coalition of the Willing" that are eager to become members of NATO. In order for these nations to join the military alliance, Bush must ask the Senate for approval.
The authors of the 13-page study include: IPS UN and Middle East expert Phyllis Bennis, IPS Director John Cavanagh, and IPS Fellow Sarah Anderson. According to Bennis, "It's hardly a new phenomenon for the U.S. to use bribes and threats to get its way in the UN. What's new this time around is the breathtaking scale of those pressures -- because this time around, global public opinion has weighed in, and every government leaning Washington's way faces massive opposition at home."
Definitely worth a look.


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