That's the reaction to news that "Multi-National Force-Iraq" is getting a new name to reflect the reality that there will soon be no nation other than us involved in the occupation of Iraq. The last remaining non-Americans -- 100 Brits -- are packing it in on Friday. As the New York Times put it, the one-time “coalition of the willing” (Bless you, Colin Powell for that snappy tag) is now a “coalition of one,” which defies reality.
Webster’s defines “coalition” as a “temporary alliance of distinct parties, persons or states for joint action.” Just as it takes two to tango, it takes at least two to form a coalition. Since British opinion is deadset against a never-ending involvement in either Iraq or Afghanistan, the Brits aren’t going to revisit Iraq anytime soon. Staunch ex-coalition members from Romania and Georgia are out of the question. Romania just left. Georgia needs every soldier it has to defend against the Russians.
As plans currently stand, Multi-National Force-Iraq becomes United States Force-Iraq on Jan. 1. That’s a bad move for the U.S. on the PR front. The new name reinforces this country's cowboy image.
There is a simple solution. Webster’s says a coalition can exist with either the other 37 member nations that initially made up the coalition of the willing, or with at least one other partner.
Presto, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should put her impressive charms to good use and convince Iceland to return its one soldier to Iraq. Iceland, which teeters on economic collapse, could easily be persuaded to send Olaf back to Baghdad.
The U.S., in return, could offer political support for Iceland’s effort to join the European Union. Icelandic support would revive the Multi-National Force-Iraq set-up. The flags of Iceland and the U.S. could proudly wave over Iraq.
To paraphrase former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, America and Iceland: Perfect Together.