December 16, 2003


Stand-off over repayment of Iraqi debts resolved (Robert Graham, December 16 2003, Financial Times)

A stand-off between opponents of the US-lead invasion of Iraq and the Bush administration over how to ease the burden of debts accumulated by the Saddam Hussein regime was resolved at a meeting on Tuesday between President Jacques Chirac and James Baker, the special envoy of George W. Bush.

In a later meeting with chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Germany agreed to a restructuring and "substantial debt forgiveness" through the Paris Club of leading creditor nations.

The aim is to settle the debt next year according to the rules of the Paris Club of leading creditor nations. "I think we were all agreed on the fact that it was important to alleviate the debt within the Paris Club, if possible during 2004; and I believe we are basically in agreement on the parameters," said Mr Baker.

If every politician and pundit who claimed that the reconstruction contract limits were going to make agreement on the debt impossible were to do the right thing, there'd be one hell of a lot of scarecrows lookin' for work.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 16, 2003 2:13 PM

This result proves that, if you keep your boots on the throats of Old Europe long enough, they will come around to your point of view. This is diplomacy, not the mealy-mouthed stuff about "multilateralism" and the UN that Colin Powell, Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton keep spouting. From now on, US's relations with Old Europe should consist of us shouting "Jump!", and the only acceptable response should be "How high?"

On a related note, I wonder why James Baker is doing Colin Powell's job. (It cannot because of CP's operation, none of this is something that could not have waited a week or so, for Powell to be back on his job.)

Posted by: Sam at December 16, 2003 3:59 PM


If you're dealing with the French and the Germans you need someone willing to fight as dirty as them, which is why Baker was used in FL in 2000.

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2003 4:46 PM

"In other news today, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Sierra Club blamed the Bush administration's Iraq reconstruction policy for the sudden, sharp decline in the North American crow population. Our environmental correspondent, Leonardo DiCaprio, files this report . . . ."

Posted by: Mike Morley at December 16, 2003 5:31 PM

The positon of the Democrats is that we should hand the merchandise to the Frogs let them take it home and then politely ask for payment. The real issue is why the media let them spout that crap on TV.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 17, 2003 9:23 PM