First of all, d'uh! Of course Russia's position on Iraq was based on self-interest. That meant both protecting economic investments as well as covering for "illegal" weapons programs as this article suggests. I don't know many people who opposed Bush's war who would assert that Russia (or France or China or whomever) didn't have ulterior motives for blocking Dubya's efforts. Few are naive enough to believe that these people are saints.
What I have always disputed was the notion that the United State's motives were any more pure. That, I think, is the real bone of contention in this debate.
Short and simple: you don't have to be an America hater to believe that there was more going on in the last year than a simple desire to protect Americans from terrorism. You just have to allow for a realistic assessment of human nature. Mr. Sullivan allows for this when it comes to judging Russia. Will he allow for it when it comes to judging America?
Btw, I wonder what Mr. Sullivan thinks of the following from that same article:
American officials now say that the United Nations restrictions that allowed Iraq to keep missiles with ranges of up to 150 kilometers had an unintended effect. From the Iraqi perspective, it meant that it was still legal for Baghdad to continue some missile development activities, since short-range missiles were permitted.
By contrast, United Nations sanctions completely banned Iraq from keeping any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, and it now seems that Iraq eventually abandoned those programs.
Got that? Saddam may well have abandoned his WMD program specifically because of the U.N. restrictions. The ones that many argued were ineffective in stopping the guy.