UNITED NATIONS — In the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration threatened trade reprisals against friendly countries that withheld their support and pressed for the recall of U.N. envoys that resisted U.S. pressure to endorse the war, according to an upcoming book by a top Chilean diplomat.
The rough-and-tumble diplomatic strategy has generated lasting "bitterness" and "deep mistrust" in Washington's relations with allies in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere, writes Heraldo Munoz, Chile's ambassador to the United Nations, in his book A Solitary War: A Diplomat's Chronicle of the Iraq War and Its Lessons, set for publication next month.
"In the aftermath of the invasion, allies loyal to the United States were rejected, mocked and even punished" for their refusal to back a U.N. resolution authorizing military action against Saddam Hussein's government, Munoz writes.
But the tough talk dissipated as the war effort worsened and President Bush came to reach out to many of the same allies that he had spurned, he says.
Munoz details key roles by Chile and Mexico, the Security Council's two Latin members at the time, in the runup to the war. He says then-U.N. Ambassadors Juan Gabriel Valdes of Chile and Adolfo Aguilar Zinser of Mexico helped thwart U.S. and British efforts to rally support among the council's six undecided members for a resolution authorizing the U.S.-led invasion.
Munoz, a onetime classmate of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the University of Denver, portrays Bush as prodding the leaders of those six governments — Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Mexico and Pakistan — to support the war resolution, a strategy aimed at demonstrating broad support for U.S. military plans, despite the looming French threat to veto the resolution.
In the weeks preceding the war, Bush made several appeals to Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and Mexican President Vicente Fox to rein in their diplomats and support U.S. war aims, Munoz says.