The ritual of United Nations General Assembly speeches by world leaders, accompanying the Security Council embargo on air shipments to Iraq, shows how isolated that country is. Iraq's dictator may find sympathy from the frightened regimes of Jordan and Yemen and a certain ambiguity by Iran. But all hope of dividing the world and playing off superpowers is lost. All countries but a few condemn the destruction of Kuwait.
Yet they do it in different tones, some offering different ways out. Secretary of State James A. Baker III says that Iraq must vacate Kuwait. Period. Linked to nothing. President Francois Mitterrand of France said something else. He said that if Iraq would "declare its determination to withdraw from Kuwait and free the hostages. . . all things might be possible." This could lead to settlement of other Middle Eastern questions, such as the Palestinian issue with Israel and Lebanese domestic strife. He said France would side with any country that is a victim of aggression, which presumably warned Iraq not to attack Israel.
If the French president was showing himself more flexible than the United States, Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze showed the Soviet Union if anything tougher. "We should remind those who regard aggression as an acceptable form of behavior rTC that the United Nations has the power to suppress acts of aggression," he said in a clear hint of military action. He also suggested that a withdrawal from Kuwait would allow the world to focus on other conflicts.