April 7, 2003 | Broadcast

Financial News

DAVID HAFFENREFFER, CNNfn ANCHOR, MONEY & MARKETS: As we’ve been reporting, the U.N.’s role in a post-war Iraq is becoming one of the more contentious debates in Washington. Joining us with their differing opinions is Mark Schneider (ph), the director of the Washington office of the International Crisis Group and Stephen Schwartz the director of the Islam and democracy program at the Foundations for Defense of Democracies. Welcome to you both.



HAFFENREFFER: Steven Schwartz, I want to start with you because you’re for the total exclusion of the U.N. from Iraq and now this is going to get into a little bit about what President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair are going to be talking about at their meeting. But certainly I’d like to get your thoughts as to why the U.N. should not be allowed to be involved in this.

SCHWARTZ: Well, that’s very simple. Success stories of democratization, like South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, a number of others I can cite, are places where the U.N. played no role. Absolute and abysmal failures of democratization are places where the U.N. came in and took over, like Bosnia, Kosovo and I could name other examples.

HAFFENREFFER: Mark Schneider, your thoughts?

SCHNEIDER: I think there are two things. First, I think you have to look at Iraq as a particular case and recognize that the first need in the post- conflict situation is going to be humanitarian relief and the U.N. has a crucial role in coordinating that. They already have as you know, about a decades worth of experience on the ground with the world food program almost throughout the country, providing assistance and it would be silly not to take advantage of that. At the same time, you know that there’s been a tremendous amount of resentment and reaction to the war throughout the Arab region. What we want to do is reduce that as soon as possible. One way to do that is to have the U.N. at least in some kind of an umbrella role, as you move to reconstruction and help move quickly for a transition to an Iraqi government. But that’s going to take some time. It’s not an easy process to end 30 years of a dictatorship and then permit local governments, civil society to form itself and to produce its own leaders from inside.

SCHWARTZ: There are two things missing here. First of all, I was talking to a Shia leader this morning who said the Iraqi people hate the U.N. a great deal more than they hate the United States because the Iraqi people equate the U.N. with the sanctions. Secondly, what we saw in Kosovo and Bosnia is that when the United Nations does not support an intervention, when they don’t support military action to stop a condition of injustice or attempted genocide, they cannot be trusted with the role in the aftermath. What we saw in Kosovo was they didn’t support the intervention. They really were pretty much against it. Then they flooded into the province after the intervention was over an what have they done after four years? Kosovo doesn’t have regular electric service. It used to export electricity. Kosovo doesn’t have a decent educational system. Kosovo doesn’t have a decent health system. So I don’t see that the United Nations brings any value added to these situations at all.

SCHNEIDER: In Kosovo, you really have to recognize the obstacle and the problems that have been created by not failing to move to final status. I think in the case of Iraq you have a completely different situation. You’re going to have a situation in which your object is to help the people of that country move towards a transition to establish institutions that can, in fact, produce long-term democracy and economic development. You have also a civil administration below the Baathist leadership structure, which apparently is fairly competent. What you need to do is have some kind of an international, ideally with, obviously with the support of the United States, but an international mechanism to get rid of the bad guys and to let the civil administrators begin to function adequately within the context of the Democratic transition.


SCHWARTZ: See, here are the two fallacies. First Mr. Schneider says help the people. I would say let the people organize their own society. Secondly, he’s already saying that we have to let part of the dictator — the structure of the dictatorship remain in place. I’m in favor of removing the structure of the dictatorship. It’s typical of the United Nations that with their bias against privatization, their bias in favor of stated (ph) socialism, their bias against real democratization, they always come in and they want to keep the former bureaucrats, former police, the former war criminals in charge. In Kosovo, the United Nations police came in and they let war criminals escape from the prison and then they start, then they talk about their great success there. The thing is, it’s time to turn the page and have a clean slate.

HAFFENREFFER: Steven, I want to as you about the best way to help the Iraqi people form that new government. What role should the U.S. play if it’s not going to be the U.N. helping out?

SCHWARTZ: The model should be South Korea model. The United States and the coalition forces established an umbrella of security over the country. That’s the first thing. Second, private companies, private firms, on a — paid on the basis of success basis do infrastructure reconstruction, buildings, roads, et cetera. The rest is let the Iraqi people do it themselves. Let them set up an entrepreneurial economy. Let them set up democratic institutions. Let them run their own media. Let them set up their own schools. What I saw in the Balkans at the hands of the U.N. is the U.N. comes in. They tells them how to run their schools. They introduce censorship of the media. They meddled constantly and the people end up hating them and it accomplishes nothing.

HAFFENREFFER: Mark Schneider, I want to give you your final word here.

SCHNEIDER: I think what you need to do is to get rid of the Baathist government to establish a mechanism for an internationally legitimized electoral process. If you don’t, you’re going to have the United States be in the situation of attempting to legitimize the next government and that’s going to be difficult inside and outside Iraq. And what we need to do is to find some way and I think that the U.N. is a good way to do that, to ensure that there is a transition that does permit the Iraqi people to make their own decisions about their long-term future, rather than have any kind of new government sort of parachuted in on top of them.

HAFFENREFFER: All right. I want to thank you both for being with us.