Sunday, February 09, 2003
So a couple of days ago, the Sole Representative European Global Powers of Germany and France™ came up with patently ridiculous and unworkable plan to forcibly disarm Iraq by means other than an invasion and removal of the Hussein dictatorship. In essense, it calls for a lot more inspectors to be put into the country, backed by a United Nations "force" of several thousand Blue Helmets, as well as overflights by Mirage jets (?).

The plan won't work: you can't disarm an unwilling nation without taking it over, and any claim to the contrary is just a coffeehouse fantasy. Well, plenty of idiots out there engage in such fantasies, but surely the leaders of Germany and France aren't that clueless? There seems to be plenty of evidence that Iraq is working on a nuclear program, and if it's not stopped -- right now -- it may have nuclear weapons in a matter of months. At that point, the entire balance of power in the Middle East shifts towards Hussein, who will be able to take control of Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and most of the Middle East that is worthwhile. It's always been Hussein's dream (and the underlying philosophy of his Ba'ath party) that the Arab nation should be united. Nuclear weapons would allow Hussein to do just that, plus snag Iran as a "bonus," at which point he is free to build his Arab empire, using the revenue from the vast oil supplies he would control. The French and German governments know this, and they aren't stupid. Do they really want a new global power to emerge in the Middle East, with Saddam Hussein (or some other Ba'ath thug) at its head?

The most cynical part of me thinks they just might. During the Cold War between the U.S. and the USSR, countries like France and Germany were extremely significant, and could always demand reverence from the U.S., even though they were not as much allies as American client states. Triangulation is something that Europeans excel at, and another cold war -- this time between the U.S. and a nuclear-armed, Hussein-led pan-Araby -- could work quite nicely for them, especially given their warm relations with Arabs today, and the resentment towards America for its support for Israel. As a bonus, the Europeans might even get some preferences in terms of access to Middle Eastern oil, which would give them an advantage against the American economy, bringing the giant down another notch or two. And in the end, if Hussein gets too aggressive, America can always be counted on to come to their rescue again, and disarm him. Sure, it'll be far more bloody and expensive, but it's worth the risk -- and besides, it's not like they would do any actual fighting. After all, they are peaceful and sophisticated.

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