Mahmoud Sabit at PostGlobal

Mahmoud Sabit

Cairo, Egypt

Mahmoud Sabit is a historian and an authority on Egypt’s 19th century political reforms. Sabit also works as a writer and producer of historical documentaries. Close.

Mahmoud Sabit

Cairo, Egypt

Mahmoud Sabit is a historian and an authority on Egypt’s 19th century political reforms. more »

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Europe Fears The Unintended Consequences

Europe has a long history in empire building, and is well aware of the shortcomings of policies that rely on dominance rather than balance.

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James Exelby:

I wonder at my good friend Mr Sabit's use of the word (geographical expression?) Europe... The British "experience of empire" (1500 onwards) was very different from the German (1885-1918), I would say, and add in Spanish (1492), French (1500), Italian (1880-1940), Portuguese, Dutch and Danish measures and you have a rum punch, not to mention a very different and not-at-all shared set of memories.

And lest we forget, the US took over a Spanish Empire a 100 years ago and has been in the game ever since. To presume European sophistication is to presume to much.

Cayambe:


Mahmoud Sabit,

I like your piece. It is an elegant and concise summary of the European perspective of our Middle East policy addressed to an American audience.

Having said that, what interests me more is your third paragraph that speaks to our relatively recent “aggressive” foreign policy. In reality there have been several periods of “aggressive” foreign policy in our history, but never on such an extended global scale.

Personally, as an American, I don’t particularly care what the Europeans think about it. Europe is at a peculiar stage of development where its economy and population rank it in the very top tier of power, but, lacking any kind of real executive structure, is totally incapable of wielding it. Your notion that Europe might clean up our messes is a very attractive one, giving us an attractive rationale for getting our butts out of Iraq forthwith; unfortunately, no one thinks Europe actually has the wherewithal to do that, not even the Europeans.

As you present it, the Europeans are quite content that we are looking out for their interests, it is just that they would like us to do that their way rather than our way which they see as more dangerous.

I, on the other hand, would like to see us withdraw from such global issues as “Europe’s interests” and non-proliferation and the spread or imposition of democracy at least to the point where we are not dominant on those matters.

Ignoring the NPT (as North Korea showed us how to do), Iran has as valid a case for developing nuclear weapons for its defense as Israel, Pakistan, or India. For the life of me, I do not understand on what basis any nation can deny them that capability, least of all us who are nuclear armed, defensively and offensively, to the teeth. Seriously, we threaten them with “regime change”, and we are then surprised they want nuclear weapons? No. Nuclear weapons in Iran’s hands are no threat to us, they are a potential threat to Iran’s neighbors to include Israel, a good part of Europe, and a large chunk of the Sunni Muslim community. On the other hand, our nuclear weapons are a calamitous threat to Iran in all circumstances. That is known as deterrence and it has kept the nuclear peace for 60 odd years now and I fail to see why it should not continue doing so. It is also very hard to understand our negative rhetoric on their form of government. Of all of the Gulf states they are arguably the most democratic. They have a constitution ratified by the people, then modified and ratified again by the people. In actual fact their democratic roots go way back to the 1906 Constitution. Indeed, our CIA arranged the overthrow of their last fully elected Prime Minister, a fellow named Mossadeh (sp), in favor of the Shah who was something of an autocrat. It was a precursor of the Allende experience in Chile. Anyway, despite our propaganda over the last 25 years or so, Iran is a very civilized nation with a rich history going back centuries….and besides that, Christian Amanpour comes from there.

Iraq is a mysterious event. Personally, I never imagined that this idea could be sold to the American public, but it was. I was astonished at the range of politicians, editors, professors, etc. who bought into all of the sorry arguments offered. We still see the vestiges of it. Sen. Clinton bought it hook, line, and sinker. Now she defends her vote by attacking the awful way the war was managed and/or the faulty intelligence. So what! I say. Were the intelligence all true there was still no just cause for us to invade Iraq. They had not attacked us, nor were they capable of doing so. Neither were they a terrorist state. Since when does creating a new democracy justify military aggression? Since when does another country’s tyranny justify external military aggression to remove him? They lied to the UN for years you say, they flaunted UN resolutions? Shall we count the number ignored, flaunted by the Israelis?

We did not slip into this war semi-accidentally as we did in Viet Nam or self-defensively as we did in Afghanistan. We chose to do it by an authorization from the legislature for reasons debated at some length. It was a sorry precedent to go to war over such sloppy and silly reasons and reasoning. It is this for which we need a national debate.

I do not think the world, by and large, expected us to actually invade Iraq. I may be wrong in that, but I know of no precedent for us to take such action outside of our own hemisphere (other actions we need not be proud of). The world must now see us as more unpredictable and therefore dangerous. They are justified in that opinion.

Everyone seems to look towards us to settle the Israeli/Palestinian issue in some magical way. It’s not going to happen. As long as our politics are hostage to key lobbyists, as they are, we can’t get the parties moved to where they got to go. This is something that maybe Europe should assign to itself since it is more responsible than any others for manufacturing the problem in the first place. It is a point made by the Iranian President and, unlike some others, this one does have some substance to it, not so?

No matter what the Europeans think, I would like us to shed our “aggressive” foreign policy and replace it with one better founded in the opening paragraph of our Declaration of Independence. Fundamentally this holds that legitimate governance can only come from those who are governed and it is they who must decide the shape and powers such a government will have. Neither democracy or monarchy or theocracy or tyranny is preordained. No, it is whatever these people shall choose.

With that in mind we should at least accord Hamas the respect due a freely and fairly elected government and we should quit carping about the Iranian form of government which was ratified by its people as validly as our own. Perhaps from that kind of framework negotiations might be more productive.


Old Atlantic:

Mahmoud Sabit, I appreciate your thoughtful answers. When I submit comments, they sometimes don't appear, even when short, and it seems often when long. Because of this I limit my self to short answers to the extent I can, else I would address each of your points to agree or not. I respect your arguments, please understand this limitation.

Old Atlantic:

I agree with you on the issue that there was conflict on 2 sides. But Islam was the source. The Turks attacked the Greek and Christian world, which never attacked the Turks. The Turks came from Asia to kill and conquer the Greeks in Anatolia.

There is no equivlance between them. This is a war of conquest and democide from before 1300 AD to the present. The Greeks fought back, but basically lost over the last 700+ years.

The conquest and democide were justified by the Turks using the Quran. All through the 19th century and before, Christian Greeks had second class status in courts. Ottoman cruelty justified by the Quran has a long history with many explicit statements.

Mahmoud Sabit:

Old Atlantic
In reference to your comment regarding Turkey, your statistics about the pre-1914 populations of Christians and Moslems residing in Anatolia is not in dispute. What is in dispute is the context under which your post is presented. That the Moslems of Turkey are intolerant of other faiths, that they were constantly engaged in spontaneous pogroms to those of other belief systems, that their religion drives them to irrational acts of violence and terror. You use the example of pre-WWI and post WWI.

The statistics that you are selectively omitting are those that address the Moslem populations of Greece and the Balkans pre-WWI and post WWI. The results of the Balkan Wars in 1905 which caused the expulsion of 410,000 Moslems from the Balkans to the Ottoman State. The end of WWI saw which the expulsion of 200,000 Moslems from Greece, including the Moslem population of Crete in its entirety.
The agreement regarding the exchange of populations signed as part of the Treaty of Lausanne between Turkey and Greece 1922 which affected 1.5 million Greeks from Anatolia and an additional 500,000 Moslems from Greece.

We also have the episode when Western Anatolia Smyrna, (Izmir) was awarded the Greek Government by the victor powers in WWI, (Treaty of Sevres 1920) which result in the creation of 1.2 million Moslem refugees from Western Anatolia. The ensuing Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922, which results in the expulsion of the Greek population of Smyrna. (see above)

These demographic changes come as a result of war, atrocity and counter atrocity connected with armed conflict. Not from the spontaneous irrationality of religious fanaticism. I have not addressed the Armenian massacres because this is already the subject of intense debate between Armenian and Turkish scholars. I would only add that hundreds of thousands of Armenian refugees from these regions found a sanctuary and welcome in the Moslem Arab world; Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.

In addition I would mention the more recent example of forced migration of Moslems from Bulgaria, in 1989. In 1989 the government of Bulgaria in a spasm of extreme nationalism caused the mass exodus of 300,000 Bulgarian Muslims, following a twenty year campaign to pressure the countries Muslims to abandon their religion, traditions and language. Their community had been residing in Western Thrace since the 14th century. Among other issues is the fact that this action contravened the terms of the Treaty of Adrianople (1913)

Arlington:

Wow this is fun! :)
This is the first time I have heard an overall denial that Nazis were Christian. You can say that they were not GOOD Christians and obviously used what they liked in Christianity and what they liked in other religions, but they saw themselves as Christians and still fall in that group. You can say the same thing for any leader out there who says they are [insert religion] and then go against basic teachings of that faith. (ex. Osama bin Laden/Taliban – dare I mention any US fundamentalists? :)] Thank goodness that God judges who the true followers of HIM are.
Also, I have to respond to some of the 'percentages' going around. We of course are familiar with dominate religions in society due to the face that 75% of the US identify themselves as "Christian." Likewise, we are familiar of peoples who feel 'pressured' to move out of neighborhoods due to their religion, race, sexual preference, etc. (And thankfully we have laws that try to correct these societal shortcomings) First, to go back to an earlier argument, it can be argued that Muslims have always been in the Middle East since Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon are prophets of Islam (this is a larger argument than my single sentence – feel free to discover more). Also, the Middle East has a very strong history of accepting (most especially) the religions of the Book (Jews, Christians, Muslims). Power struggles continue and complexities and perversions of religious thought towards those goals continue, but the laws concerning living together are very strong and continue in most places. We see the examples, even through conflicts, in Lebanon, Jordan, Jerusalem (ex. The keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, having been held by a single Muslim family since the 1100s), and Egypt -among others. Granted, it is easy to debate ways of life in these examples, however an easy understanding of rules and discussion by people in these areas will show the positives and negatives, and what they find likewise being in the US.
I enjoy reading this discussion, although I may not read again until tomorrow or thereafter.

Kohsar240:

It is the oil. US and the rest of industrialized world never cleaned up the oil mess. As long as US security relies on import of oil there will never be peace in the middle east. The culture of making car necessary to live as though it was one of the pillars for survival along with food, water and shelter, no doubt is the most destructive American invention. Why do we have to live the way we do? Big house. Powerful cars. Keeping the whole house warm instead of just the room you are sleeping. Keep the whole house cold, instead of the room you sleeping. It is all waste of resources and the tensions it creates in doing so. Industrialized world has to alter their way of living and wasting. Live on less, live happy.


Kohsar240

Kohsar240:

It is the oil. US and the rest of industrialized world never cleaned up the oil mess. As long as US security relies on import of oil there will never be peace in the middle east. The culture of making car necessary to live as though it was one of the pillars for survival along with food, water and shelter, no doubt is the most destructive American invention. Why do we have to live the way we do? Big house. Powerful cars. Keeping the whole house warm instead of just the room you are sleeping. Keep the whole house cold, instead of the room you sleeping. It is all waste of resources and the tensions it creates in doing so. Industrialized world has to alter their way of living and wasting. Live on less, live happy.

German Voice:

@Mahmoud Sabit

Don't get me wrong, but 'Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini' a.k.a. 'Yasser Arafat', a descendant of 'Amin Al Husseini', was a NAZI. And the NAZI 'Amin Al Husseini', the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, was a fan of 'Adolf Hitler' - and a mass murderer.

More information about Arafat and Husseini can be found at www.TellTheChildrenTheTruth.com and www.ict.org.il

Support Our Troops at www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil

Old Atlantic:

Below is a census record from Turkey for population of Anatolia before 1915. This shows the high percentage of Christians.

http://www.agiasofia.com/horton/table.jpg

Search: Christian Constantinople 1914 New York Times. Or seach "Christians in peril" 1914. You can open pdf files with the NYT articles.

Detailed data on genocides, including source citations:

http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.TAB5.1B.GIF

Old Atlantic:

Mahmoud Sabit, first you are the most formidable of the group selected in debate. I was sloppy on the 99 percent, that applies to Turkey.

There was more than just displacement in Turkey.
Search on: Sultan Abdul Hamid 1892 massacres or Hamidian massacres or Hellenic genocide. There were approximately 200,000 killed in Turkey in the 1890's.

In 1914 there were massacres by the Young Turks. New York Times articles on it are available online. Constantinople was over 50 percent Christian in 1914, and Anatolia was at least 30 percent Christian by one census.

Mahmoud Sabit:

Old Atlantic, Barakahusseinobamalovesislam
For the region you mention, the Eastern Med; the population is more like 87% non Sunni Muslim. If you also include the North African coastline the figure is 91%. It should also be added that those Christian minorities that today exist in the Eastern Med have been Christian from the 2nd and 3d centuries AD. I would point out that these communities have been Christian since well before Christianity was adopted in Europe. In addition the present Christian population of Egypt is equal to the entire populations of Jordan and Kuwait combine.

I am not sure that you would find communities of the followers of Mithras, or Sol Invictus on the Northern shores of the Med today, and certainly not in communities who have practiced these faiths since their original adoption in the 2nd and 3d centuries. This is also true for the followers of the various ‘heresies’ such as the Cathars eradicated in their entirety during the Albigensian Crusade of 1229. I would also mention that following the Catholic reconquista of Spain in 1497, that by the year1580 the last vestiges of Islam had been uprooted from the Iberian peninsular either through expulsion or forced conversion.

It is misleading to suggest that such raw figures imply forced conversion, especially when seen in the light of modern perspective, and the culture of political correctness. But when the situation is understood contemporaneously within the context of the period it becomes clear that Islam was a tolerant faith.

In their period of expansion the Moslems offered the choice of either conversion or paying a tax, which included a security tax for exclusion from military service. In general these taxes were equivalent to or slightly less than the taxes formerly paid to the Byzantine authorities.

Turkey did have a larger proportion of Christians until 1922, at which time many were expelled, these were mostly from the Greek Orthodox faith in Western Asia Minor. This expulsion is as a result of the events following the partition of the Ottoman Empire (after WWI) and the allocation of Smyrna (Izmir) to Greek sovereignty under the terms of the Treaty of Sevres. The Turkish National Movement of Mustapha Kemal ‘Ataturk’ defeated the Greek forces in the field, and expelled the Greek population from Smyrna, many of whom had been in the area from early times. The expulsion has more to do with the political decision of the Turkish Republic than religious prejudice, and is analogous to the expulsion of the substantial German population from Czechoslovakia following WWII.

Barakahusseinobamalovesislam,
I believe a few facts might be helpful. The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) contains 56 nations whose populations are in the majority either Sunni or Shia’a. They may adhere to the Moslem faith but are separate national sovereign entities. Of these, about four nations have retained Sharia’a laws; Saudi Arabia, Sudan, (limited to the North) Iran, and possibly one or two states in the Malaysian Federation. The rest are governed by a combination of either English Common Law or French Napoleonic Code. They have some provision of Sharia’a jurisprudence limited to family law, (marriage, divorce, inheritance)

It is estimated that the terrorist organization ‘Al Qaeda’ (AQ) contains about 7,500 active members, with a direct support (helpers, collaborators, etc) network of ten times that figure, or 75,000 persons. Those terrorist organizations who have a similar ideology to AQ, but may differ in their methods or their degree of violence are at the highest estimate about 750,000 persons, inclusive of their support networks. These people are scattered across a large geographic area, with some concentrations in certain countries. The world wide population of Muslims either Sunni or Shia’a is estimated at 1.3 billion.

Philspan
I though this might be useful for you.

Nobel Prize Recipients

Mohamed El Baradei 2005/Peace/Egypt
Mohamed Yunus 2006/Peace/Bangladesh
Shirin Ebadi/2003/Peace/Iran
Yasser Arafat/1994/Peace/Palestine
Mohamed Anwar el Sadat-1978/Peace/Egypt
Abou Salam – 1979/Physics/Pakistan
Ahmad Zuweil – 1999/Chemistry/Egypt
Orhan Pamuk – 2006/Literature/Turkey
Nequib Mahfouz – 1988/Literature/Egypt
Ferid Murad – 1998/Medecine/USA

patriot:

R:

Hitler was not a Christian!!!!!!!!!!!!Any educated person would know that! He was a self absorbed lunatic who hated all religions. He once talked of kidnapping the pope and trying to make Christianity into "Hitler worshipers."

The commys who created the AK47 were also not Christian.. Its important to understand that communism focuses directly around atheism and the oppression and destruction of religion. Even if the people who committed some of these atrocites were baptized Christians, they did not do it in the name of their religion. "would you explain the role of the catholic church supporting the nazis or were they also not christians?" This doesnt make any sense. The Catholic Church did more than any other organization to protect the Jews from the Nazis. Oskar Schindler was a born again Catholic who saved hundreds of Jews during WWII. The atomic bombs were created in order to end the costliest war in human history before millions more would be sacrificed if invaded mailand Japan rather than drop the bombs. The Christians who made the A-bombs, didn't make them to try and convert Japan, or wipe them out because they were not Christian. Unfortunately the muslim fanatics have finally caught up and are ready to wage a unlimited Jihad against all "non-beleivers" with nuclear weapons.

Tariq:

Old Atlantic:

Here's something for you.
Read Herman Melville : 'the civilised white man is the most ferocious animal on the face of the earth'.

Remember SALLY HEMMINGS.

Cornhusker:

Quote
The recent history of aggressive U.S. foreign policy which intimidates rather than persuades, which threatens rather than reaches compromise, which imposes a diktat rather than reaching a solution, has not been successful.
Enquote
This says it all.

Cornhusker:

Quote:
"The recent history of aggressive U.S. foreign policy which intimidates rather than persuades, which threatens rather than reaches compromise, which imposes a diktat rather than reaching a solution, has not been successful."
Enquote
This says it all

PhilSpan:

What happened to the Arab mind. Long ago the Moslems had the best minds. There were scholars of all kinds.
Today, Moslems have suicide bombers, stone throwers at women, heads cut off, etc.

And above all, how many Nobel prize winners are Moslems? Oh! I forgot Arafat got one for killing Israelis.

PhilSpan:

What happened to the Arab mind. Long ago the Moslems had the best minds. There were scholars of all kinds.
Today, Moslems have suicide bombers, stone throwers at women, heads cut off, etc.

And above all, how many Nobel prize winners are Moslems? Oh! I forgot Arafat got one for killing Isralis.

Bill MacLeod:

PERHAPS -- Thank you for pointing out the fact that America is not the "Bush administration". I used to be Gob-smacked that any nation could go along with that moronic (to use his own term) evildoer. It was only when I started reading the blogs on the WaPo that I realised there was a massive number of LIVID, FURIOUS liberals in America whose voice was not being heard in Europe (at least I wasn't hearing it). America's reputation has been absolutely destroyed by this administration and it will take God knows how long to restore it. I don't envy you the task!

Bill MacLeod:

bobster-- The only reason America came to Europe's aid was because it was in America's own self-interest. (as usual).

Joe:

To Michael - A few more points to consider.

The United States entered the war only 6 months later than the Soviet Union. Both were drawn into the war in the same way, by an unprovoked attack. True, it was the Japanese that attacked the U.S., but Germany declared war soon afterwards making them a party to the attacks.

However, in reality, the U.S. involvement in the war in Europe began in 1940 with Lend-Lease. The U.S. government provided all of the help that it possibly could short of actually entering the war. Additionally, the U.S. began war preparations by reinstating the draft in 1940.

Finally, it is certain that Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union was a factor in the Soviet victory over Germany. Probably not decisive, but the victory would have been different without it.

barakahusseinobamalovesislam:

yes it has nothing to do with islamics spending the last 1400 years hating anyone not islamic and trying to murder them. its all the fault of America, who saved europe twice and are saving it again now. but like all europeans and especiall you islamic ones - thank you is not part of yor vocabulary. but you can join with American democrats, who will gladly surrender and give you a victory you could not earn without their complicity and treason.

German Voice:

@Proud Kraut

You missed the line! German patriots have always been close friends of the United States of America! Maybe, you're too young to know that! Indeed, I'm ready to die in order to defend Liberty and Justice, because I believe in the idea of the Constitution of the United States of America! What's about you?

By the way, you asked, how the U.S. did help Germany? Are you serious? Well, the U.S. liberated my country from NAZI-dictatorship back in 1945! Therefore, I owe the U.S. my freedom! I guess, that's a pretty good reason to support the U.S. all the way! I will never forget all the brave U.S. soldiers who lost their lives in order to defend Liberty and Justice! What's about you?

Thanks to the finest and brightest men and women of the United States - Our Troops!

Support the Troops at www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil

God bless America, Our Troops and their Families!

Old Atlantic:

" Mahmoud Sabit:

Old Atlantic
I would not agree with your version of the historical record. "

In 633 AD the Med world was 100 percent non-Muslim. In 2007, the southern shore and the Eastern shore and Turkey are almost 99 percent Muslim. So between 633 AD and 2007 AD there had to be intolerance that forced out, killed, or dhimmitude that forced conversions.

You can divide up the percentage points where you want, but you have to allocate the 99 percent sometime and that place will be times of intolerance.

Mahmoud Sabit:

Old Atlantic
I would not agree with your version of the historical record. Those serious historians who have written on this subject would also agree with me. I am here referring to those historians from an earlier time when objectivity was the norm and honesty was held in high regard.

Robert Rose
When armed conflict is decided upon, multi-lateral diplomacy and as broad a consensus as possible must be obtained. Otherwise our global relations become subject to the law of the jungle.

Bobster
Thank you for your kind words and response to my comment. Europe would have to engage in an expensive program to arm itself, but they would also engage in the sort of multi-lateral diplomacy necessary to stabilize the region. They are also aware that a solution must be implemented to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict which Europe realizes is central to bringing stability into the region. Europe may have to resort to coercion to bring this about, for the alternatives are dire. It is here that Europe may find itself at odds with the US and its support for Israel’s unsustainable policies. They may have to even develop closer political relations with Russia and possibly China, these are options they would prefer to avoid.
The US can be more effective through actions that actually address the concerns of the region, can actually still build a consensus through multi-lateral diplomatic and economic methods, the US is today still in a position to make this happen. Should they walk away, their place would be taken over by others, to the detriment of the US as a super-power.

Perhaps
Thank for your comment, for good or for bad, we are at a crossroads, and a clearer policy that serves US national interests and the interest of its European allies is critical.

WB T;
Your point is well taken, interference in the region by Europe and the victor powers following WWI have done much to create the present circumstances in the Middle East and Iran. For Europe these are the unintended consequences of their unilateral actions at that time. I would argue that they have learned from these blunders, and are therefore in a better position to propagate a more effective policy, but they are also aware that such policy solutions would be in conflict with US attitudes at this time, and that it would be very expensive to implement, and that is a path they are at present trying to avoid.

Dee Andrews
The question here asked is; ‘…Polls show that many people in Europe think the US is a greater threat than Iran. What should we make of this…’ My commentary is based on that premise, it is not that Europe disagrees with all these policies, it is more a question of the fact that they disagree with the manner in which these policies are being implemented. They disagreed with the Iraq policy, because the circumstances under which an invasion was to be executed were flawed, better preparation and diplomacy, a broader consensus of the regional states, including the use of a UN sponsored multi-national military effort, etc etc.

Support for US actions in Afghanistan had more backing from Europe than the later Iraq invasion. For Iraq, in the European perspective; the US did not build sufficient consensus with its allies and with the UN to undertake their assault. In addition they made no efforts to elicit support in the region for their actions. Would that support have been forthcoming? Yes, under the right circumstances. Part of the tacit understanding between the US and its regional allies in Gulf War I was that the US would break the deadlock in bringing about an equitable settlement to the Arab-Israeli dispute. Oslo was the result, but Oslo is an unfulfilled promise, the US could have done a lot more to ensure the success of Oslo. Rabin was ready, following his assassination the US was faced with the prospect of putting pressure on the situation to bring about results, they preferred to avoid the real issues in solving the conflict. As such, support from the region was lacking when the Iraq invasion was undertaken in 2003. This is a failure in multi-lateral diplomacy, and the Europeans would concur on this point. The point of finishing the job in Afghanistan before undertaking another war was an issue that Europe was also concerned with, it was considered that going into Iraq with undue haste was a blunder.

Once the war was over, it was a ‘fait accompli’ and the primary goal would have been to win the Peace. The dissolution of the Iraqi army and the rapid de-Ba’athication of the Iraqi administration was a political mistake, despite that, the US still had a window of six months. In those six months they could have reduced their profile and handed the situation over to the UN, the US was unwilling to relinquish their military and political authority in Iraq, as such the UN was unwilling to become involved. Were the UN involved in Iraq, they could have developed the political and diplomatic consensus necessary to ensure a smooth transition. Fundamentally the object would have been to allay Iraqi fears that the US was not seeking to maintain a permanent occupation of their country. The Iraqi’s did not consider the US as impartial liberators, US policies in support of Israel was a factor in their suspicions, but they were willing to see through six months before they considered their fears justified. This should have been addressed by the US in the time available to them. The insurrection against the US presence begins approximately six months after the war ended.

Have these actions been a great success? no. What we see here is a series of miscalculations, lack of will to apply diplomatic solutions, lack of interest to both listen to advice and to take into consideration the core regional problems, in short a series of political mistakes. Talleyrand (diplomat 18th/19th century) once said that a political mistake was worse than a crime, partly due to the unintentional consequences that such mistakes provoke.

Steve M
Yes I would argue that the Middle East would be a garden of peace if the US were not involved. To make that statement I would have to remind you that formal US involvement with the Middle East begins after WWII, and its support of the partition of Mandate Palestine. US support at the UN was conclusive because it brought with it a number of allied and Latin American countries, just enough to carry the vote for partition.

In 1948, Egypt was a parliamentary democracy, with a constitutional monarchy, a viable economy and a capable, educated, liberal, political leadership. The region was undergoing a transition from British tutelage to de-colonization under responsible direction. The foundation of the state of Israel, ensured that these responsible, educated liberal political classes would be swept away by revolution and coup d’etat partly for their inability to solve the issue with Israel either through peace or war. The region has been undergoing spirals of violence, instability and extremism as a result of this policy ever since.
Both George C. Marshall and Secretary Forrestall were against the issue of partition and the resulting foundation of the State of Israel. Forrestal especially worked to ‘…lift the Palestine problem out of partisan American politics…’ He was later hounded out of office and committed suicide. Marshall was warned by the Secretary General of the Arab League that partition would result in strife and warfare in the region ‘…unto the generations…’ The Arab League supported a federal union of both Jewish and Arab populations, but indivisible as one nation and were therefore against partition.
When a nation becomes so closely involved in a region that it should affect the course of history for the worse in that region it bears a certain responsibility for the unintended consequences of its actions.

Patriot:

Is the US a greater threat to world peace and stability than Iran? Clearly, with policies of preemption and the power to exert its will largely unchecked, the US poses a much greater threat. With great power comes great responsibility. Responsibility the Bush administration, and Congress have shamefully shirked.

The US Congress is simply broken. The Constitution provides protections against such travesties, but Congress failed to exercise its Constitutional authority and reign in the administration.

I'm sick to death of hearing our representatives talking about how they "voted for the war", but how the administration bungled it. The vote in the fall of 2002 was not for "war", or an invasion of Iraq, or the changing of the regime. The vote was the authorizatoin of military force to uphold the UN Security Council resolution 1441, which was to ensure Iraq had no WMD. It included other restrictions about missile construction and recompense for looting in Kuwait in 1991. Furthermore, it was a *UN* resolution not a US one. There was clear consensus in the international community that a military attack or invasion was not warranted. Diplomatic means had not yet been exhausted. A fact that is painfully true today. There was no authorization for the virtually unilateral military action that was to come. And Congress just stood by with their collective head in the sand.

During the run-up to the US led invasion of Iraq, there was no serious debate in Congress. I personally wrote to my congressman imploring him to call for such a debate. (he's now in prison for corruption) At the same time, on our own C-SPAN, you could see the French Parliament in an open and intelligent debate about the situation in Iraq. And yet, Americans were all too quick to point the finger and sneer when France and other European nations expressed their concern. No one has the courage today to admit France, and the others opposing military action, were right.

Now the Congress can't even decide whether or not to debate a non-binding resolution against the expansion of military effort doomed to failure. Many say we can't leave now or there'll be further instability in the region. Well, that should have been debated back in 2002 and 2003. Actually, it was being discussed exhaustively by academics and analysts everywhere. But not by Congress. Now it's really too late. The question should not be what happens if we leave? It should have been instead, what happens if we go in? Any resulting expanded instability can only be blamed on the Bush Administration and Congress.

A nation with such power and such instability of its own is an enormous threat to the world.

The people are waking up. Perhaps Congress is beginning to, as well. It will be decades before American credibility will be recovered. And that's only assuming sane decisions can begin to be made about how to deal with the mess.

Proud Kraut:

Oh really, the US came to Europe's aide in WW I.
Last time I checked, Germany and Austria lie in central Europe. How exactly did the US help Germany and Austria?
If the US would not have sent weapons to Europe and supported England and France, Germany would have won the war and we would have had the European Union 80 years earlier and without the Hitler epsiode that caused so much pain.
Let's not forget that almost all major Nazis and the whole Nazi movement developed from WW I veterans and their ideology was basically draped around the humiliation of Versaille. Even when the war was lost and Hitler knew it, he wanted to fight to the bitter end and kill off every German with him in order not to repeat the humiliation of Versaille.
The whole aftermath of WW I was another franco-anglo-american foreign policy disaster.
Why was WWII at the end different? The German people were terrorized into submission, afterwards humiliated and occupied and completely re-educated. Now, this newly trained one side Amerophile and on the other side Russo-Commie-Phile house pets pay incredible amounts to the EU, and back down on any issue that revolves around German national interests.

Just look at this "German Voise' house pet. I bet he would strip a bomb around his butt just to please his American occupiers. You will find the same own-opinion-free guys on the Russo-Commie-Side.

The fact of the matter is that Germans servived by frequently switching alliances over their 2,000-3,000 year old history.

What has this to do with the topic....hell yes Europe fears incompetent meangling in other people's affairs. Germany knows that best as a brutal occupier and as a country that was brutally occupied starting with the Thirty Year's war. Germany needs to stay away from the Anglo-American nonsense....as occupiers they can rely on Germany's infrastructure and technical support but that's about it.

cv:

cv

Wayne:

I think Dee Andrews said it all.

Europe is like a college student who has moved back to his parents home (60 years ago!) but isn't happy with the fact that his parents still set the rules. Well, if Europe wants a say in setting the rules they need to move out and start earning their own keep by shouldering some of the real responsibilities of running the World, not just whining from the under the comfort of their US paid security blanket about how the US is doing it.

German Voice:

I'm a Kraut and I stand with the United States of America - the greatest Nation ever! If someone is against America, then he is against me too!

Here in Germany, and also in Europe, the NAZIS and Commmunists are still alive, therefore, it's no wonder, that anti-Americanism is wide spreaded across Europe. The reason is, is that the news-media are censored, so the people do not know, what's really going on. All news they get are one-sided.

However, Americans should give a big nothing about what the European hardheads are talking, because it's part of the NAZI-Propaganda here in Europe, especially here in Germany. In addition, Europe is a safe haven for terrorists.

America is doing great and there's nothing wrong with it! Iran is a dictatorship and the people over there cannot wait to get liberated. So what?

Thanks to the finest and brightest men and women of the United States - Our Troops!

Support the Troops at www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil

God bless America, Our Troops and their Families!

A Well Armed Dove:

RE: "...The US lost over 700,000 lives helping to defend the Europeans in WWI and WWII."

Not to diminish the American lives lost in the Second World War, but we in USA were also acting in our own interests. No nation goes to war unless it is acting in its own interests.

Europeans and Americans have more in common than we realize. As a nation we can best achieve security when we act in concert with other nations. The simple truth is we need each other.

Anonymous:

The authors comments with regards to the US being more of a threat than Iran is hogwash. The US lost over 700,000 lives helping to defend the Europeans in WWI and WWII.

Also, lets not forget the US rebuilt tremendous portions of Europe under the Marshal plan.

Most importantly, the postings here sometimes refer to the lack of WMD stockpiles not found in Iraq. We must remind ourselves that WMD's was not the only reason we invaded Iraq. (The proper term to be applied here is lack of WMD stockpiles. To date the US military has recovered about 500 munitions and cannisters containging mustard gas and sarin.)

Iraq fired over 7,000 missles at US jets patrolling the no-fly zone during the sanctions.

Iraqi Government conspired to kill an American President.

Iraqi Government violated 12 UN resolutions.

Iraq harbored, sponsored, met with and had a 11+ year relationship with with known Al Qaida members.

Abdel Rahman Yassin, 1993 World Trade Center Bomber, fled to Iraq, received government housing and was placed on the Iraqi payroll.

The Iraqi government, in collaboration with France, Russia, Saudia Arabia, China, and a host of other countries orchestrated the wonderful U.N Oil for food program scandal. Under the Oil for Food program, an estimated 10- 22 billion dollars of dollars went missing, French, British and Russian politicians were bought off by Saddam, 550,000 Iraqis died under the Oil for Food Program, money was funneled to multiple terrorist organizations including Al Qaida and affiliates. (IHC Services, Petra Organization) To this day only 1 of 54 internal audits of the Oil for food program has been released to the public. Also, a day after an investigation was launcedh into the program Kofi Annan's assistant shredded 3 years worth of documents concerning the Oil for food program?? He was never fired.

I have gotten off the subject somewhat. My point is this, do not allow the thought control police (Media)and anti-war agitators to frame the conversation we have concerning the Iraq war. Do not allow them to propagate the well repeated lie that the reason why the U.S.A. went to war was for WMD stockpiles. It is only a mere attempt to discredit the cause, bombard the public with negative and demoralizing information, and medicate the public into beliving the war is all a sham.

The war is clearly winnable and by other American war standards is the most successful war fough to date. Look at casualities and war cost in comparison to U.S.A. GDP and compare to other wars. Think not, prove me wrong.

Clearly, as stated above and other reasons the Iraq war was launched for a plethora of reasons.

Anonymous:

A lot of insanity isn't there? SOmeone said insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different results each time. For centuries now war has been done over and over and what are the results we see today? If war is the way to fix the worlds problems then would not the world by completed fixed by now? If war is the answer then after centuries of it the world should be a paradise by now shouldn't it? Every trace history backwards and see if not each war has not caused conditions that lead to the next war? Many historians now agree that world war I cause the conditions that then caused world war II Since world war II there have been over 300 conflicts in the world. (counting coups, civil wars, revolutions, proxy wars, etc)

And what is the results that everyone seems to want? Is it not what benefits them? It is often said by these leaders, and groups intellectuals, that freedom is what is needed. Yes this in a relative sense probably what most desire. They desire:

Freedom to walk on the street safely without fear.
Freedom to their entire family well nourished.
Freedom to not been crippled by mines
Freedom from crime
Freedom from disease
Freedom from Obusive and bullying
Freedom from sickness
Freedom from death
Freedom from sadness
Freedom from unemployment and poverty.
Freedom from homlessness.
Freedom from shortages of necessities.

Some want freedoms at the cost of the freedom of others. Freedom to oppress others. Why? Many reasons. Greed, fear, hatred (the blame game) etc.

Does violence really get anyone those freedoms in lasting terms?
Does anyone know any place as a result of violence and war and over abundant legislation and policy that has now achieved all those freedoms for all their peoples in a way that is lasting?

It seems the masses of mankind have allowed themselves because of ignorance perhaps to be led along like sheep to the slaughter as they continue like insane people to place their faith in one man or governement or group or whatever, to bring them the freedoms they desire. Yet no one here on earth has managed to bring all these freedoms to exist at once for all for good. And in fact the world grows more dangerous by the day. Even in the industrial have nations people lock themselves in their homes each night just like prisoners in their cells. Freedom? And meanwhile man has developed and continues to develope the technology to destroy the entire world. Has there not been enough insanity yet? Time is running out fast. And attitudes are still in the blame mode which always seems to lead to war. Have a nice day.

Ken:

M, The middle East would not be a "garden of peace" if we left but it was better off before we went into Iraq. Ask the people that live there.

Civilized Christian West:

To Happy Days Rule:

Hitler was born a roman catholic and it is understandable for christian west to distance itself from such a horrible creature. Pagan worship and what not - Germany was, is and continue to be Chrisitian country. You cant run away from your past so conveniently. Even if you do, the blood bath in WWI, Kosovo, Bosnia, Rawanda, nuclear weapons on Japan etc etc are the legacy of CIVILIZED CHRISTIAN WEST.

US was justified in invading Afghanistan indeed. A terrible wrong was done, people lost lives in 9/11. But the pure animalistic nature of unadultrated revenge, I'll show you kind of a aggressive bully nature is what drove this C grade US president to bring down two muslim nations for two buildings.

Or may it was that SH tried to hurt his daddy!

Someone needs to do research and come up with the total number of wars and the number of people killed in the last two hundred years. My guess is the winner in this blood soak competition will be no other than The CIVILIZED CHRISTIAN WEST.

Most christians are good people, all you need is some bad apple like Bush. Just like on the other side, you have a terrorist bin Laden. Bush, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson etc are Bin ladens in suits.

History re-invents:

1828: Russia declared war against Turkey.
1840: Quadruple Alliance by the European powers to force Egypt to relinquish Syria.
1847: Amir Abdul Qadir surrendred to France under the condition of safe conduct to a Muslim country of his choice but France violated its pledge and sent him as a captive to France. 1878: Turkey handed over Cyprus to Britain. 1882: Egypt came under British military occupation.
1901: French forces occupy Morocco.
1914: Under Ottoman rule, secret Arab nationalist societies are formed.
1918: Syria and Damascus become a French protectorate.
1931, Iraq became independent with a pro-British regime under King Feisal and Nuri-as-Said.
1941: British and Russian forces invade Iran and Reza Shah is forced to abdicate in favor of his son Mohammad Reza Shah in Iran.
1991: Iraq invades Kuwait and is forced out by america and its allies.

In the 10 years after the invasion of kuwait Russia, France and Germany has shown no sincerity in implementing the UN resolution to halt saddam's regeim. In fact, private companies from Europe found ways to sell weapons to Iraq underneath UN embargos.
For close to 200 years Europe has done nothing but to try to conquer the middle east. lest we forget about Alexander the great prior to the timeline above. Ohh .. And then Hitler with the desert fox

America is trying to fix all the mess ups of the last 200 years. If you think it wil be easy or that no lives will be lost than you are mistaken. To sit by and watch the rest of the world accept status quo is not acceptable.

If the world is afraid of the fallout, we should be. I want our troops out!!! But I want middle eastern governments to be held accountable for the hatred inside their people. What would happen if for every American flag burned on TV. Americans painted a likness of Muhammad and burned it on TV for all to see. America controls the hatred of its people. Or better yet. Americans control the hatred of Americans. When Iraqis do that, I will call them my brothers

Torrey:

If you are a soldier in the combat of a war war is different than if you are diplomat or a citizen passng judgement.

When you are in combat you do not seek to win the heart of your enemy, you seek to stop the heart of your enemy.

Discuss as you wish, but in combat there is no discussion; you win or you die.

Talk before you fight. As long as you are talking you are not dying.

Unless you have been there you cannot understand.

Steve M:

The author shows how he and many like him want it both ways. In one sentence he argues about how the US use force has cause so many problems, then he talks about how people fear US failure and withdrawl.

Does anyone want to make the arguement that the Middle East would be a garden of peace if the US were not involved. The reason the US will leave is no matter what you do the place will be the same. If the author argues for diplomacy why don't the people of the middle east and Europe take the lead in this effort instead blaming someone else for their problems.

I will tell you why. Because it is easier to blame someone else for your problems than to something about.

No matter what the US does people will complain.

It is simply easier.

michael haynes:

A few points to consider:
Russia won the European part of WW II the US just came in late to clain victory and participate in the spoils of war.

George Bush the Elder started this war as vendetta "W" is too stupid to do anything on his own.

When we leave Iraq, defeated, tails tucked between our legs it will be Russia and China who will reap the spoils of our botched attempt at nation building.

Nothing wrong with a bit of zenophobia

JackG:

Seems to me that wasn't much of the middle east part of the British and French empires. SO is America cleaning up after Europe.

Bobster:

To: D. Degroot

From: Bobster

I agree with your post Mr. Degroot. I remember well the times you wrote about. Not an extremely good time to be a soldier, for sure. That is my fear now. That this is only the beginning, that the majority of Americans will again turn their anger and frustrations onto their soldiers again. This is like a re-run of Vietnam. No-one likes to talk about the millions of people that were murdered after we fled from Vietnam. Just like after we desert Iraq, there will be mass murders again. And americans will forget about them as well. And the public insults of our soldiers has already started. I don't endorse either party. But I am behind the soldiers 100%.

Happy Days Rules:

Hitler was not a Christian. The entire Nazi regime practiced the ocult/paganism. Pagan symbols were used everywhere by the Nazis. The history channel has a good program on it. The Catholic church did what it thought it needed to do in order to survive WWII.

Saying Bush has destroyed two muslim countries is a ridiculous statement. If SH had been removed from Iraq and the country hadn't spiraled into sectarian conflict, everyone what a great move Bush made by entering Iraq. He had bad advice and didn't realize what a mess the U.S.' involvement in Iraq would cause. Based on the intelligence flaws we now know about, the U.S. should have never entered Iraq.

The U.S. was fully justified in entering Afghanistan. Everyone recognizes this, which is why the Europeans and NATO are supporting the Afghanistan effort. You don't get to harbor an enemy that kills 3k of a country's citizens in a barbaric attack without having to pay for it. The Afghans are a great people and now have an opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their children, due in large part to the efforts of the U.S. and Europe.

To say that the Europeans feel that the U.S. is more of a threat to their national interests than Iran is also pretty out there. Who do you think the Europeans would look to in the event that some type of combination of Russia/China/Venezuela/Middle East put a stranglehold on the world's oil supply? If Iran was somehow able to exert more in the region and essentially form a calaphate, who is going to be Europe's go to guy? Europe may be raising some eyebrows at some the recent U.S. moves, but tell them to get back to me after 3,000 of their citizens are slaughtered.

Let's all hope that the natural progression of the developments in Iraq and Afghanistan move the two countries to adopt democratic ideals. If they don't, I believe all people of all religions may pay a heavy price later.

Amazing:

DEGROOT
You haven't noticed, apparently, the 100s of thousands of perfectly innocent Iraqi civilians killed in this war. Horriffic, and on top of the 3,000 Americans we low5 on 9/11 and NOW add on the 3,100 and counting American service people lost. Ah, but you like war. The anti-war crowd doesn't like innocent death as much as you.

D. DeGroot:

When 911 happened I saw the country coming together again to fight a vicious and fanatical foe. I also thought to myself that memories in this country are very short and the antiwar types will resurface again to disparage our government for waging a war against the supporters and killers of 3000 innocent Americans.

I saw how the antiwar movment was directly responsible for the loss America experienced in Vietnam and I remember well the outright distaste of these people to anyone in the military who fought there at the time (I am a Vet of this conflict). Their like minded politicans (always Democrats) echoed the cry of this movement and denied funding to us (the troops) to continue the fight... the Democrats bear sole responsibility for the loss we experienced in Vietnam. I also watched how the politicians tied the hands of our military by dictating where, when, and who they should fight... I now see history repeating itself.

Once again this Country is on the verge of abandoning another ally if the Democrats have their way. If that happens then we deserve to get hit again for not having the guts to finish what we started. The horror of 911 will return to our shores again for certain because our enemies will know we will never go after them for it.

Dee Andrews:

Good heavens, this author is naive to current global political realities, and history. My comments in caps throughout the article below.

Europe Fears The Unintended Consequences

For Europeans, war is usually defined as diplomacy by other means. The present U.S. administration has managed to re-define diplomacy as the inconvenient but necessary window-dressing to justify military action. (THERE WERE A VARIETY OF ATTEMPTS BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO NEGOTIATE WITH THE TALIBAN AND SADAM. IT BECAME CLEAR THAT NIETHER REGIME HAD ANY DESIRE TO NEGOTIATE TO A PEACEFUL CONCLUSION. THE TALIBAN WERE ASKED TO GIVE UP AL QAIDA AND THEY REFUSED. WHAT SHOULD THE U.S. HAVE DONE THEN, WALKED AWAY? SADAM PLAYED CAT AND MOUSE WITH THREE U.S. ADMINISTRATIONS OVER HIS WMD PROGRAM. THE U.N. WAS A MAJOR PART OF THOSE NEGOTIATIONS AND THE RESULT WAS OBFUSCATION. THE ENTIRE WORLD BELIEVED SADAM HAD WMDs AS SHOWN BY THE U.N. RESOLUTIONS AGAINST HIM. AFTER 12 YEARS OF THIS NONSENSE THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION DECIDED TO ACT. PLEASE DON'T BRING UP THE "ILLEGAL" ARGUMENT ABOUT THE INVASION, IF BY THAT YOU MEAN U.N. SANCTION FOR INVASION. NATO, LED BY THE U.S., DIDN'T WAIT FOR U.N. APPROVAL BEFORE IT LAUNCHED WAR AGAINST SERBIA FOR ITS CRIMES AGAINST MUSLIMS AND THERE WAS HARDLY A PEEP ABOUT LEGALITIES FROM THE WORLD COMMUNITY. COULD IT BE THAT BECAUSE THE WAR IN SERBIA/KOSOVO WAS LAUNCHED TO SAVE MUSLIMS THAT THE MUSLIM WORLD DIDN'T CRY ABOUT "ILLEGAL INVASIONS" IN SERBIA/KOSOVO? THE AUTHOR SEEMS TO HAVE AMNESIA ABOUT THE LAST 12 YEARS OF WORLD HISTORY.)

Europe has a long history in empire building, and is well aware of the shortcomings of policies that rely on dominance rather than balance. This imperial experience, which spanned a couple of centuries, has also enabled the Europeans to develop a better understanding of different cultures and different peoples. (I SUPPOSE YOU ARE REFERING TO THE MANY NATIONS THAT EUROPEANS BROUGHT UNDER THEIR COLONIAL HEEL FOR CENTURIES? IS THAT HOW EUROPEANS DEVELOPED SUCH A WONDERFUL UNDERSTANDING OF OTHER NATIONS?)

The recent history of aggressive U.S. foreign policy which intimidates rather than persuades, which threatens rather than reaches compromise, which imposes a diktat rather than reaching a solution, has not been successful. (YOU DON'T CALL THE DISPOSAL OF CORRUPT AND EVIL REGIMES IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ SUCCESS? DO YOU REALLY THINK THE CITIZENS OF THOSE COUNTRIES WERE BETTER OFF UNDER THOSE REGIMES?) These policies have caused fear and consternation amongst European publics and governments alike. (THE EUROPEANS, AS THEY HAVE DONE SINCE THE END OF WWII, ARE MORE THAN HAPPY TO STAND BY AND LET THE U.S. DO THE HEAVY LIFTING IN COMBATTING COMMUNISIM AND TERRORISM. THEY HAD A CHANCE TO END THE KILLING IN BOSNIA AND FAILED MISERABLY. ONCE AGAIN THE U.S. HAD TO LEAD THEM IN BRINGING A RELATIVELY PEACEFUL SOLUTION THAT STILL HOLDS. HAS THE AUTHOR FORGOTTEN THE MASSACRE OF MUSLIMS IN SREBRENICIA SO SOON? THEY WERE BEING "PROTECTED" BY EUROPEAN MILITARY MIGHT AND YET THEY STILL DIED.) They are perhaps more aware of how such policies may provoke the unintended consequences which Europeans have suffered from in the past. Whilst the European nations generally agree about the strategic necessity of controlling international events, they are in disagreement as to the tactical implementation that the U.S. has exercised in the pursuit of strategic goals.(STUMBLING AND FUMBLING FOREIGN POLICY THAT DOES LITTLE TO COUNTER TERRORISM IS THE RESULT OF EUROPE'S DISAGREEMENT)

More than anything, Europe fears a total failure of U.S. policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East peace process, and the containment of nuclear proliferation. (THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOR YEARS LET THE EUROPEAN NATIONS OF GERMANY, FRANCE AND THE UK TAKE THE LEAD IN NEGOTIATING A NUCLEAR SETTLEMENT WITH IRAN. DOES THE AUTHOR REALLY THINK EUROPEAN EFFORTS AT DIPLOMACY WITH IRAN HAVE BROUGHT ABOUT A SETTLEMENT?) They fear that ultimately the U.S. may withdraw its involvement from such global issues in a counter policy of semi-isolationism from foreign involvement. This would be to their detriment. Such a consequence would impose on Europe the onerous task of cleaning up America's mess, and rectifying the balance. (ANOTHER WAY TO SAY IT IS IT WOULD IMPOSE UPON EUROPE THE BURDEN OF TAKING A LEAD IN SOLVING PROBLEMS IN THEIR HEMISPHERE, SOMETHING FOR WHICH THERE HAS BEEN NO EVIDENCE IN THE LAST 60 YEARS. MORE IMPORTANTLY THE EUROPEANS ARE AFRAID THEY WILL FINALLY HAVE TO MAKE THE MILITARY INVESTMENTS THAT THEY HAVE SHUNNED FOR ALL THOSE YEARS. LET'S FACE IT, EUROPE HAS ACTED LIKE A BUNCH OF CHEAPSKATES WHO HAVE BEEN MORE THAN HAPPY TO LET THE U.S. SPEND THE MONEY AND LIVES.)

This is a task made more difficult by other forces seeking to fill the vacuum of influence that such a U.S. failure will open. Both Russia and China see an opportunity to fill that vacuum. The region of the Middle East, Iran and South-West Asia in general is for them an important area, geographically close and extremely valuable as a source of strategic energy resources. It is also in China and Russia's interest to maintain stability and curb the potential for extremism that would certainly affect their own nations. (OK, IF EUROPE IS SO WORRIED ABOUT THAT POSSIBLITY WHY HAVEN'T THEY SHOULDERED MORE OF THE LOAD THE U.S. HAS BEEN CARRYING? AGAIN, THEY ARE AFRAID OF THE MONEY IT WILL COST.)

As to Iran, Europe would obviously prefer a nuclear free Iran; they are aware of the potential for Iran to project their interests into the Middle East. They are also aware of the prospect for creative diplomacy in solving these problem, which would result in Iran not resorting to the development of nuclear weapons to rectify the prevailing strategic imbalance. At the same time, Europe, with its long experience in the region, is aware that the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a central cause of the increasing animosity and emerging extremism in the Arab and Muslim world. (AGAIN, WHAT IS EUROPE DOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OTHER THAN WEARING OUT THEIR WORRY BEADS?)

Therefore the Europeans consider America's pursuance of aggressive policies in Iraq and Iran, rather than making serious attempt to address the more salient problems of the Middle East, as fundamentally flawed policy. Because of such attitudes and the higher potential for failure, Europe considers the U.S. more dangerous than Iran in the pursuit of its national interest.(IF EUROPEANS ARE TRULY MORE AFRAID OF THE U.S. THAN IRAN, WHY DO THEY STILL HAVE U.S. TROOPS STATIONED IN EUROPE? WHY AREN'T THERE IRANIAN TROOPS IN EUROPE? WHY AREN'T THE EUROPEANS NEGOTIATING WITH THE U.S. TO DO AWAY WITH ITS NUCLEAR WEAPONS THAT PROTECT EUROPE INSTEAD OF NEGOTIATING WITH THE IRANIANS? THE AUTHOR SEEKS TO MAKE WHAT HE BELIEVES TO BE AN IRONIC POINT ABOUT EUROPEAN FEARS, BUT THE REALITY IS THAT THE EUROPEANS HAVE CONSIDERABLE FEAR OF IRRATIONAL IRANIANS WITH NUKES, AND NO SUCH FEARS OF AMERICAN MILITARY MIGHT. NICE TRY, MR. SABIT, BUT HISTORY AND LOGIC ARE NOT ON YOUR SIDE.)

Civilized Christian West:

Power with a sense of absolute self righteousness - that is how the US administration conducts itself.

For Atlantic,

Hitler was not a christian??? Ok, would you explain the role of the catholic church supporting the nazis or were they also not christians?

Lets look at the last century before labelling muslims - was it the muslims that started WWI, WWII, the genocide in Bosnia, Kosovo, Rawanda, the atomic bombs in nagasaki and hiroshima and not to forget Germany (christian Germany)

For two buildings in NY - Bush destroyed two muslim countries. How is that for civilized western christian world?


wb t:

Europe is "experienced" in the region? The source of the greatest conflicts in the Middle East today is Europe itself. Has everyone forgotten the Balfour Declaration and the partion of the middle east into pseudo- states after WWI(Sykes-Picot agreement)?

Old Atlantic:

" R:

Old Atlantic above forgets that Christians have the highest rate of killing Jews:"

Hitler was not a Christian. Hitler disliked Christianity because Jesus was Jewish.

R's conclusion: Leftist atheists have to help Muslims catch up with Hitler the atheist in killing Jews in recent times. R says, in effect, we have to bring more Muslims here to finish the job of 9-11.

9-11 targeted WTC to kill 50,000 Jews. They hoped the building would topple over and hit other buildigs. They thought downtown NYC was the best place to kill Jews in America. Now the Left wants to help them finish the job in America and Europe and wants Iran to get nukes to finish the job in Israel and ultimately America and Europe.

Perhaps:

Clear, difinitive, sage thinking. Great read. Wish the Post would print it as an op ed or whatever. Wasted among the yahoos who posture here.
I for one am worried that 'United States' is being used instead of Bush Administration. it's getting very, very serious because every restating of the problem weights down on America more dangerously. And it is dangerous.
Someone should ask exactly what Bush promised Sharon about preserving and promoting Israel's wants ahead of everything else.For he did, early on, when Rove was trying to meld evangelicals with neocons and AIPACers to form a permanent and unbendable majority to last for a century. Or so he said. Only promise he's kept.

Bobster:

Mr. Sabit,

I think your article has been one of the best that I have read on this site. Europe has every reason to move cautiously in dealing with the Middle East problems. But then again if as you stated " European nations agree about the strategic necessity of controlling international events" what will Europe do? I don't think that anyone can disagree that the Middle east is a mess. And as you pointed out yourself, the USA is not the only kid on the block interested in that region. I think the big three, USA, China, and Russia all have a vested interest in the Middle East. And then there is the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict that just adds fuel to the fire. You mentioned that the USA might withdraw, and return back to semi-isolationism. That just might happen with the new anti-war atmosphere in Washington. But then you write that "Europe would have to clean up the mess". I am not attempting to be rude, but just how would Europe go about that job?
It was America who came to Europes aid in WWI, as well as WWII, and then helped Europe and the Asia nations to rebuild. It was the USA who kept Russia and China at bay, during the cold war with Europes help, along with the asia allies as well. And I am being sincere when I ask, how would Europe address this problem by herself. Always before this nightmare Europe and the USA worked together to beat back the madmen of this world. We could not have won WWI,and WWII by ourselves, just like Europe could not have won either of those wars by themselves. Maybe America needs to pull back completely from the Middle East, and let all out war engulf the region. And then be asked politely to come back. And no. I am not insinuating that America is keeping things together in the middle east. On the contary, at times I think we are only prolonging the inescapable downward spiral into war and anarchy in that region. But at least the world and many people back here in america could have another Bully to blame for everything, like Russia and China. I miss those days.

Robert Rose:

"For Europeans, war is usually defined as diplomacy by other means. The present U.S. administration has managed to re-define diplomacy as the inconvenient but necessary window-dressing to justify military action." -- This sums it up. What I find most frightening is the apparently large and growing number of people who do not seem to conceive, anymore, of any political (including a so-called "humanitarian" one!) course of action other than permanent conflict and perpetual war! That is at least what most often comes out of their best thought-out interventions, in public.

Thank you for the historical perspective on the subject.

R:

Old Atlantic above forgets that Christians have the highest rate of killing Jews: The Holocaust in Germany and the Inquisition in Spain! Moreover, Christians and not Muslims have produced and sold the most destructive weapons in all of human history...from the basic Klashnikov rifle that is the most common weapon in the world to chemical, biological and nuclear weapons--not to mention cluster bombs, phosphorous bombs, etc. etc. etc.

Old Atlantic:

quote

For Europeans, war is usually defined as diplomacy by other means. The present U.S. administration has managed to re-define diplomacy as the inconvenient but necessary window-dressing to justify military action.

end quote

In the Quran, war is total, the subjugation of the opponent and ultimately the democide and genocide of the infidel population. 9-11 was ethnic cleansing. It is part of the assault of the Muslim world on the rest that started in 622 AD when Muhammad proclaimed his reign, followed shortly by pogroms of Jews.

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