Freitag, März 02, 2007

Finally a word of wisdom...

Well, finally something sensible in the FT. Today's op-ed from Philip Stephens (unfortunately behind their subscription service here) raises a point that I fear too many are not merely not hearing, but are as well putting their fingers in their ears and going "la-la-la-la" so as not to have to deal with the problems it raises.

Stephens' point is that it behooves the Europeans to support the US.

That right there makes him virtually a pariah amongst the MSM. But his point is solid and rational (almost a contradiction, there, coming from the MSM): that hard-headed, pragmatic solutions to the problems in the Middle East are out there. They are being pursued by the US and deserve to be supported, instead of automatically being vilified for the sake of feeling morally superior.

He also makes the point that the problems in the Middle East aren't the problems of the US: they are everyone's problems. And that the Europeans have abjectly failed in their own commitments and responsibilties: the failure of European nations to adequately man their NATO commitments in Afghanistan has led to speculation that NATO may fail there to secure the peace. The Canadians continue to fight heavy battles against the Taliban, for instance, but their NATO allies have failed to back them up: the Germans may claim historical reasons for their failure to commit troops to battle, but the French, Italians and Spaniards have no such justification for failing to commit combat troops to aid the Dutch, Canadian and British troops fighting in the South, let alone the American troops fighting there as well.

This is a singular failure of European foreign policies, one that emboldens the enemy. The European failure to work with the US - Stephens' analysis here is right on the ball, as financial pressure from the Europeans in the form of sanctions, accompanied by a carrot offered by the US, would show a concentrated and coordinated policy towards the Middle East by NATO and the West, something sorely lacking since the French decided that they were going to actively undermine US foreign policy solely because the US would not dance the French dance - is perhaps the major foreign policy blunder of the Europeans, equalled perhaps only by their blind and unquestioning support of the Palestinians, despite the almost unbelievable corruption and misuse of EU funds by those receiving them.

Stephens' point, that we all need to put rhetoric, posturing and schadenfreude behind us and work for the common good, is critical: the US has made a move towards multilaterism and discussion, it would well behoove the Europeans to support the US instead of carping.

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