From In the National Interest, some analysis of how Russia, China, and France reacted to President Bush’s recent speech before the UN. Some good quotes:
It remains unclear to us, however, whether the Bush Administration will be prepared to accept the results of successful international inspections in Iraq, i. e. a disarmed Iraq–with Saddam still in power.
What influences American policy still remains a mystery. President Bush’s address reminds one of a comic-book plot, where the United States is cast in the role of the superhero (Superman, or Spiderman) who faces not complex political issues, but megalomaniac characters–Saddam Hussein as “the Joker”, or bin Laden as “The Penguin.” (ed. note: this guy needs to get his comic book characters straight.)
One cannot also ignore the domestic factors behind this speech. Bush’s challenging international diplomacy takes place only weeks before midterm elections, and retaining control of the Congress is the number-one consideration of his staff. They have concluded that the Iraq issue would help the Republicans to win, since they are facing attacks from the Democrats, a troubled economy, and the President’s own position is eroding. So, the president, by speaking before the General Assembly, and negotiating with the other permanent members of the Security Council, keeps the Iraq issue in the headlines through to November.