Dienstag, März 07, 2006

A Short Answer Turning Long...

Here a Dutch journalist asks the question "What sacred values are worth defending at such a high cost?"

Simple. For the Europeans, there are none. Except for maybe the welfare state.

On the one hand, NATO and the post-war period bred aggression out of the body politic. Everything was dealt with by negotiations.

That is how NATO works. The old resentments and conflicts were talked to death.

But the ignorance of the European is vastly more criminal than any supposed hubris of the Americans: by insisting on having a role, by insisting on trying to peddle their "soft power" nonsense - and let's face it, soft power is nonsense, it is nothing more than bluff - they have handed the Iranians carte blanche.

This, for me, is what follows:

Only Europe lacks core values that it holds sacrosanct and that it's willing to defend at the highest cost. It will continue to operate on the diplomatic field and cling to soft power even though this is the path of certain defeat when confronted with power players burning with geopolitical and religious ambitions.

Thanks to European illusions about soft power, the free world has two options left on Iran: disaster or catastrophe. America and Israel will bleed for Europe's lack of conviction.

And it's not so much Israel and the US: the EU will bleed as well.

And the sad part, the truly tragic part, is that when push comes to shove, the Europeans will have finally made themselves not merely irrelevant, but downright reckless and foolish. If anything, they're the ones with the superiority complex, based on feelings of inadequacy. The dangers of the world are being aggravated by EU policies, policies brought by reckless and ignorant politicians in a desperate attempt to cover up the fact, the damning fact, of their own inadequacy.

It's not merely the inadequacy of money being spent on the military - barely that which NATO requires and not a cent more - but rather an inadequacy of morals, an inadequacy of moral fiber, an inadequacy of being able to even understand that there is a right and that there is a wrong. It is the inadequacy of an entire generation, the generation of 1968, which has fought to tear down what Europe has and has succeeded.

Leaving only an empty shell full of rhetoric, which in the hands of ignorant politicians has led to the chasm that we now are looking at.

Of course, the classic Adlerian therapeutic tool is to work with the patient to identify the feelings of inferiority and to change unrealistic expectations.

What are the unrealistic expectations of the Europeans?

That they still have a role to play in world politics.

The tragedy will be that it will probably take another war to disabuse them of this notion. When the war comes, they will sit it out and lament how could it have come to this, they will lament the loss of life and destruction, how terrible everything is, without realizing, actively denying, that they have been major players in bringing this about. And when the war comes to them - terror, Iranian missiles, whatever - they will blame it all on the US and Israel.

First in the aftermath, after the dead are counted and the rules of the game written anew, will they realize just how much they have lost: those in charge simply won't be willing to listen anymore and what role the Europeans could have played, could have played to avoid the problem, will have been pissed away in the winds of change.

This is the tragedy of the beginning of the 21st century.

And what could the Europeans do?

It's simple. Move a German division into Turkey for "exercises". Move a French division into Oman for "exercises". Move a Dutch brigade into Afghanistan for "exercises". Move the Italian airforce to Iraq for "exercises".

Then the Iranians would start to listen. But the Europeans are completely incapable of such an exercise in force projection, not because they can't - they could if they wanted to, it'd be hard, but doable - but because they don't want to. They are too afraid of conflict, too afraid of their own history, too afraid of having someone consider them to be the bad guys because they went to war for something they believed in, something central, a core value.

There's that old Brecht quote: "What if they gave a war and no one came"?

Here is the entire quote:

"What if they gave a war and no one came?
Then the war will come to you.
He who stays home when the fight begins
And lets others fight for his cause
Should take care. He who does not take part
In the battle will share in the defeat.
Even avoiding battle does not avoid
Battle, since not to fight for your cause
Really means
Fighting on behalf of your enemy's cause.

 - Bertholt Brecht.

This is the fate of Europe as it stands today. When it is all over, Europe will stand beneath contempt: it will be reduced to irrelevance.

And that is the tragedy.

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