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Re: questions for discussion
by Boris Stremlin
30 September 2002 05:28 UTC
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It is hard not to notice a distinct trend in European (not to mention
Arab) willingness to go along with US-led wars since the end of the Cold War.
In that "wonderful moment" in late 1990, not only did everyone support the
war to bring about the New World Order, but a great many countries
actually sent troops to support the US in Desert Storm.  In Kosovo in
1998, the support was much more tenuous, and as a result, the use of
ground troops was ruled out (ultimately ensuring that the final settlement
would be a negotiated one).  Today, there is widespread opposition, and
the success of any possible resolutions supporting war against Iraq in the
Security Council is up in the air.  There are also governments in Europe
elected on a platform of opposition to US foreign policy - a stance which
would have been unimaginable 10 years ago.  Even assuming that the US
eventually obtains support and achieves a quick and decisive victory in
Iraq, there is every reason to suppose that this trend will continue,
because the Bush administration will continue to press for war against
other countries, because the rebuilding of Iraq will likely be no less
haphazard than that of Afghanistan, and because European corporations will
get short-changed in the division of the spoils.

It is also not entirely accurate to argue that the European opposition is
momentary, and triggered by the policies of a particularly hawkish
administration.  Although it is true that the present administration is
especially militaristic and prone to hardball foreign policy, the
difference between it and previous administrations is not as great as
looks.  We should recall that the first Gulf War was engineered by the
first Bush administration, which initially gave the green light for Iraq
to invade Kuwait, and then purposely sabotaged Gorbachev's peace plan.
The same thing happened before the Kosovo War at Rambouillet (who can
forget Madeleine Albright's immortal phrase "what we say, goes"?)  There
are plenty of hawks among Democratic foreign policy people (the most
influential is Albright's mentor Zbigniew Brzezinski, whose strategic
blueprint has the US taking control of Central Asia).  So the opposition
between European and US interests appear quite deep-seated, and growing.

PS - In his translation of Patrick Tyler's NYT article, Steve noted the
pious wishes of the administration regarding eventual support of the US
position by France, China and Russia.  I would only add that these
pronouncements regarding UN support are almost identical in tone to the
president's insistence that those who are getting into the market right
now are "buying value".  This sort of magic is the red thread that runs
through all the policies of this administration.

Boris Stremlin

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