OPINION

Lacking a definition

The governments of France and Germany have recently become far more cautious in their stances against the Iraq war – apparently to ensure that they are not left out when the spoils of victory are distributed in postwar Iraq. Indeed, their sharp and uncompromising criticism of the USA has stopped, the anxiety about the illegality of Washington’s actions has given way to concern about a «fair» distribution of the wealth after the war, and not one of «old Europe’s» leaders appears disposed to perpetuate the European-US disagreement. Faced with this reality, Prime Minister Costas Simitis was also especially careful in the statements he made following the recent session of PASOK’s executive bureau. He stressed the European Union’s desire for the political and economic «restructuring of Iraq» under United Nations supervision (during what he termed a «transitional» period) and he avoided mentioning the «illegal» war. The most significant concern now for all, including the Greek government, is the «observance of international laws.» However, the scope and content of these laws have yet to be defined. Foreign Minister George Papandreou was disarming in his treatment of this subject when he told PASOK’s executive bureau that «the American side has acknowledged the significant role of the UN and the EU without, however, defining the content and applicability of this role.» So, Simitis’s government has also accepted that this critical «definition» is also to be made by President George W. Bush.