Freitag, März 10, 2006

The Coming Catastrophe...

Want to know what European politicians are thinking?

One of the more typical examples of your average wooly-brained clueless pseudointellectual European politicians - sorry, I repeat myself - is Angelika Beer.

She's a Green politician, one of the early greens. The only other job she's ever held was as an administrative assistant.

For her various sins over the years she's been sent to Brussels and is considered to be the Green's expert on Iran. She chairs the European Delegation on Iran. Chairs it.

So there's this little interview where she's asked what should be done about Iran. Sorry that it's only in German, but it's an interview with German radio and I can't seem to find it translated anywhere.

But it's not the interview alone - I'll come to that - but let's go back a tad. I looked her up on the Internet - duh - and this is what I've found:

This is where she pleads that while the Iranians continue to stone people to death and to execute juveniles, it's really, really important to set up a inter-parliamentary commission to set up the conditions where a dialogue might be opened up to start to discuss what the Europeans can do.

I'm not making that one up.

Here is where she talks about Iran: she recognizes that there is a challenge from Ahmadinesdschad, that he wants to break with the west and build up an islamic region with himself at the head, that he is manipulating the national pride of Iranians. And she asks what is the answer of the Europeans?

I'm gonna translate/paraphrase (ellipses mean I'm leaving something irrelevant out):

I await that we use reason and clear analysis to guide us. ... we need new dialogue partners, we need to be active, in order to return diplomacy to the forefront.
I expect from those (planning military options-JO) a definition of how they plan to use military escalation, and whether this will enable us to reach our political goals, which is to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons and to secure the existence of Israel: I do not believe that this can be the case.

For this reason I now appeal that our argumentation with Iran - which are not open to debate - abandon military options ... and that we put diplomacy once again in the forefront, despite the hate-filled talking of Ahmadinedschad.

The question of whether to implement sanctions, which sanctions should be used, and whether world peace is endangered, is not something that Mr. Chirac is responsible for, who all of a sudden threatens the use of French nuclear weapons; it is also not a question for Ms. Merkel to decide. This critical quesiton is one that can only be answered by the UN and we cannot pre-guess what they will do.

Now this sounds all so reasonable, right?

But notice two things: first she fails to actually say anything positive: she demands, instead, that her opposites deliver their arguments before she herself will react to them, classic passive-aggressive behavior. I've deliberately taken a non-clinical definition here to underscore that what we are seeing here is pathological behavior, besides being a pain in the ass.

But is it really pathological?

Back to the interview, I say.

Asked if the Europeans should turn off the flow of money to the Palestinians after the election of Hamas, she says:

Oh, that would be completely wrong. I don't have a patent recipe for what we should do, but the demand for financial sanctions, breaking diplomatic relations, shows the political helplessness regarding the question of whether this is the clash of cultures and how do we deal with this? Cutting off the money would be the false path, would leade to further escalation.

When asked what she says to those who, regardless of political party affiliation, can't see giving European tax money to terrorists, she replies:

I think you have to see that people's rights are unassailable. What does this mean for accepting other cultures and religions, and what have we failed to do to be informed? Where is the dialogue? You can see this in Germany in the discussion about integration, of requiring German to be spoken in school yards during recess, we have to see where we've made mistakes.

That's her entire answer.

When called on this, she says:

You're right. The dilemma right now, is that the cartoons have created a mood which isn't just a reaction, but is being politically instrumentalized. We see that worldwide in the muslim and arab countries. But we need to ask: how did this come about? When I speak to muslims here in Belgium I get answers that go far, far, far back: they say that they refuse to understand. What happened in Iraq? What happened with the Koran? The Koran was flushed down a toilet using american pressure, people were kicked. They say that it is the tip of the iceberg, where they don't want to see violence escalate, but they don't know how to influence things, but look at the positive side, in Germany, where muslim groups are trying to de-escalate the situation.

When asked whether the cartoons should have been prohibited:

I am of the opinion, that freedom of the press in Europe shouldn't be limited. But I believe that the preparation for a multicultural world, also by journalists, means that you have to consider what the cartoons meant and how they provoke, because political cartoons are there to provoke where the limits are, where they are crossed. And, now speaking as politician that we didn't see the dimension, we thought, OK, not so good, but it shows we didn't understand well enough, that it's not the right time to call for sanctions, we must really try to understand, and if it is the clash of cultures that so many fear then we need a world-wide answer. And then the UK, Kofi Annan, perhaps can call for an initiative, where the Europeans can say that it wasn't intended, but we're not going to limit our freedom of the press, but let's all go, right then, together to sit at a table to talk about this and integration and multi-cultural and multi-religion issues.

I'm going to stop here because the rest of the interview is simply too bizarre. Suffice to say: her answer to the question is that Europe should enter into a dialogue with Hamas, but the terror against Israeli citizens has to end, but we need to sit down and talk.

But do you see the pattern of behavior?

First: avoid stating a position where you have to actually be for something. Rather, toss the ball back and demand that others give answers so that first the other side is dissected before any position is formulated. In other words, a purely reactive policy of refusing to be for anything without knowing what the other side is for.

Second: at the same time taking, in advance, the blame for whatever has happened, as a matter of course: never admit that the other side has something that could be irreconcilable. It's also the classic US-liberal position, of always seeking the blame with your side for having a problem come up. Highly neurotic behavior, to put it mildly.

Third: the only concrete proposal is to get everyone to sit down and talk about it. What does this mean? Only one thing: she doesn't have the faintest idea of what is driving the other side and because of this there can be no plan of action.

Now this might be acceptable if she was just some woman at the office who says something like this.

But it's not: this is the European Union's chairperson for Iran .

She's the one who should have a deep understanding of what is going on in that country, why it is a threat, what are the motives of the Iranians, what can the EU do, what are the options.


In other words, the European Union's policy for Iran is being formulated by someone who admittedly knows nothing of what is going on, doesn't understand why Iran is behaving like it does, wants to sit down to talk about it, who is incapable of even considering any military options, who sees first that the West has made mistakes and has to come up with a solution.

Folks, you can write off the EU for the current cycle of confrontation with Iran. The lunatics are not only in control in Iran, they are also in control in Europe.

And Angelika Beer will never understand that it will be her fault for the Europeans not having a policy in regards to Iran. That it is her fault that the Iranians will not take the Europeans seriously under these conditions.

Which means that instead of being able to make a positive contribution to the problem, she is making things words. And understands nothing of that.

And if this is the best Europe has to offer, then good night.

The collapse of the dream of an effective European Union will not be the result of American hegemony, or Russian pressure, or insurmountable problems.

It will be the result of gross and negligent incompetence. Heck, gross and negligent is not doing the incompetence here any justice. It's much, much worse than that.

The coming catastrophe with Iran will be based on wishful thinking, good intentions and massive incompetence of the Europeans. That's more than just a tragedy.

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