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***Bush league diplomacy and the end of NATO

by Carrie Fri Aug 11th, 2006 at 04:59:13 AM EST

Via Stan Goff's blog comes the following article:
Mark Perry and Alastair Crooke (Asia Times): The loser in Lebanon: The Atlantic alliance (August 8, 2006)

The United States and France have produced a United Nations resolution of sorts aimed at ending the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, but the negotiations between US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton and France's Jean-Marc de La Sabliere nearly ended in disaster.
More below the fold. We may have misinterpreted the French government's intention in the Breakfast today. It doesn't look like they are trying to align with the US, and this failed resolution (for Lebanon is vociferously rejecting it) will be the last attempt at avoiding a public disagreement. I think France is rather desperately trying to salvage the UN Security Council from the trainwreck that the US is setting up for it. It may not survive, and neither may NATO. We're living interesting times, which the Chinese consider a curse.

From the front page - whataboutbob


Just about every paragraph in this article is quotable, but I can't quote the entire thing, so I'll just quote sayings attributed to Bush administration officials, for a round of good-natured Bush-bashing fun. But go read the excellent commentary in the article, and provide your own:

A former US Central Intelligence Agency officer confirmed this view: "I am under the impression that [President] George [W] Bush and [Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice were surprised when the Europeans disagreed with the US position - they were running around saying, 'But how can you disagree, don't you understand? Hezbollah is a terrorist organization.'"

The normally taciturn La Sabliere was particularly enraged when Bolton indirectly accused him of naivety. Responding to a reporter's question about the French position calling for a ceasefire prior to a troop deployment, Bolton was at his arrogant best: "I think it simplistic, among other things. I want somebody to address the problem on how to get a ceasefire with a terrorist organization."

Bolton then took a leaf from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's 2003 criticism of France and Germany as "old Europe" - calling the French ceasefire initiative "old thinking". La Sabliere not only bristled at Bolton's language, he threatened to end all discussions with the US over ending the Lebanon conflict.

...

Bolton's continued "cheerleading for Israel" didn't help, according to this same official. "It's a real row that started with Bolton's statement that you couldn't compare the deaths of Lebanese to the deaths of Israelis," the official said. "He implied that because Lebanon harbored Hezbollah, Lebanese lives were forfeit. It was a stupid thing to say. It tore the scab off the wound."

Bolton refused to back down, reiterating that the death of Lebanese civilians, while "tragic and unfortunate", was understandable considering Israel's right to "self-defense". In any event, Bolton went on to say, Israel did not "desire" the deaths of innocents - unlike Hezbollah.

So that's John Bolton. Now look what the Israeli ambassador had to say:
While the diplomat would not recount the words used by Gillerman, he confirmed that the phrases Gillerman used "he repeated in the media". The diplomat was referring to Gillerman's remarks during an appearance on CNN, where he was spurred on by host Anderson Cooper's comparison of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to Adolf Hitler. "I certainly hope the world understands [that] this war is not just about the safety of Israel or the freedom of Lebanon, it is about preserving civilization as we know it," Gillerman said.

"When you see Hezbollah flags in London and in Brussels and in Paris and you see that most of the demonstrators in Trafalgar Square and in the other cities are Muslims, I would advise these European countries to look very carefully at what is happening in Beirut today because to a very great extent, what they're seeing in Beirut, what they're seeing happening in Lebanon, what Hezbollah has done to the Lebanese people is really just a preview of what they may expect if they don't take care of that problem as they say in this country, soon to be seen in theaters everywhere."

Even the British were enraged: "Take care of that problem? Take care of that problem? What would Ambassador Gillerman suggest we do with our Muslims? That's a hell of a thing for him to say," a British member of parliament sputtered.

The French are pissed off:
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "bragged that Israel would destroy Hezbollah", a French diplomat said in Washington, "and if he can't do it that's his problem. I don't care what the secretary of state says, we're not going to do it for him."
The article concludes that the real loser in this crisis is NATO, as European governments increasingly cannot stand the US' position:
No matter what the answer to that question [of whether the US prefers its alliance with Europe or with Israel] might be, the very fact that it has been asked means that the real loser in the current Middle East conflict is the Atlantic alliance.

Display:
I can't see most of Europe seceeding from NATO, however attractive an idea. NATO is too attractive to small European leaders as they feel the American's glamour rubs off on them, it's a big army by proxy.

However, Juan Cole has an interesting post up that suggests that the US may feel that Europe is dispensible given the stakes in the Great Game against China and India. Lebanon has to be destroyed to ensure that when the US goes against Iran that there aren o back-doors to attack Israel. Or something.

http://www.juancole.com/2006/08/one-ring-to-rule-them-wholesale.html

Personally I think it's a conspiracy too far as many links in the chain don't work properly. But then again, just because an idea is insane doesn't mean it isn't White House policy.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 04:36:45 PM EST
I have a front-page diary about Cole's post.

Well, I agree with you European governments won't desert NATO is they can avoid it, but if the US decides its NATO allies are dispensable (and not even willing to act as fig leaves any longer) it might push some of them out. I would like to think this is a game of chicken: nobody wants to be the first to quit NATO, but once a country does, an avalanche will follow. It's a lot like a run on the dollar.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 04:59:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When is is time to take to the street and demand European countries out of NATO, and US troops and bases out of Europe? We need popular opinion formation against NATO, some widespread anger at the US here in Europe, and then a spark to ignite that combustible mixture. To the barricades!
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 03:21:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the use of tactical nukes should be it. Give it a year or two.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 03:45:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Urgh. I'm still hoping that some lesser provocation will be sufficient.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 04:15:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Such as what?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 05:19:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A personalized red hot poker in the behind of each EU citizen? I don't know. Would be nice not to do the nuke thing, though. I have no intelligent suggestion here.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 05:55:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I estimate the chance of a tactical nuke being rationalised away at 50/50.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 05:59:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, maybe. As in maybe the US administration wants to go for the tactical nuclear option. Will they be able to get the military to go along though? There are at least some indication that it would be difficult to get some of the top brass along. From the April 17th issue of the New Yorker where Seymour Hersh breaks the tactical nuke plans story: (diaried here)
link
The Pentagon adviser on the war on terror confirmed that some in the Administration were looking seriously at this option, which he linked to a resurgence of interest in tactical nuclear weapons among Pentagon civilians and in policy circles. He called it "a juggernaut that has to be stopped." He also confirmed that some senior officers and officials were considering resigning over the issue. "There are very strong sentiments within the military against brandishing nuclear weapons against other countries," the adviser told me. "This goes to high levels." The matter may soon reach a decisive point, he said, because the Joint Chiefs had agreed to give President Bush a formal recommendation stating that they are strongly opposed to considering the nuclear option for Iran. "The internal debate on this has hardened in recent weeks," the adviser said. "And, if senior Pentagon officers express their opposition to the use of offensive nuclear weapons, then it will never happen."
(my bold)

Have the nuclear option been taken off the table because of military opposition? Does there exist some kind of "military safety valve" whereby the uniforms will refuse to carry out the orders of their civilian superiors if the perceive them too insane? Are the threats of resignation above as far as it would go, or is there an additional threat of a military coup, or coup like action if the orders of nuclear strikes do go out? What does that sentence in bold imply? I assume that within the US military there are many opinions on the nuclear option, and several groupings that would act in different ways if a nuclear strike was ordered. Terrifying and complicated. But I do think that the use of tactical nukes is not a decision that can just be taken by the Bush administration. They would need something other than just a reliance on the normal chain of command to deal with the severe opposition that seems to exist within the military.

The article above is old news by now. I remember having read something more recent, but I can't remember where. Will search further...

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 07:49:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
of no reality that Bush and his cohorts occupy. Anything can be rationalized away as being a defence of freedom, democracy and lots of other buzzwords.
The probalem is what inevitably gets accepted as reasonable in the US (and Israel) usually disgusts ordinary people around the world. Maybe the use of tactical nukes will break up NATO, but becasue the people of Europe push their governments to the point where they have to abandon their obsequious realtionships with the US. The European govenrments themselves are highly unlikely to change the status quo without a major push whatver the provocation is.
by observer393 on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 11:34:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that NATO isn't going away. It's never been anything other than an instrument of US policy. DeGaulle tried to change it and failed. It is unlikely that his sucessors will have any more power to do so. NATO is now being extended from being an instrument of US European policy to being an instrument of US global policy.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 05:04:04 PM EST
enforcement = NATO. It is also a pretty good market for the US arms dealers too, but that is another matter.
by observer393 on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 11:15:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, until Israel enters NATO, this is not so much a job for NATO as it is for the UN, and the UN is looking like the loser to me.  Well, all the dead people are the real losers, but reputation-wise, the UN is fumbling once again.  Perhaps precisely because of the dynamics created by NATO.  In that case, NATO is still the winner, as it looks like the US is still capable of holding the rest of Europe hostage to its will, as one can still not move forward with a ceasfire or anything really without the blessing of America. In practice, NATO is relatively synonymous with the US.  The UN is not, and should not be.

Europe voicing frustration is perhaps a baby step in the right direction (though if you look to the run up to Iraq, it's nothing new).  But until Europe's actions defy the will of America, I won't believe there's been any significant reailignment of power or disentigration of NATO.

But is the world big enough for a NATO and a UNSC?  It sure doesn't look like it.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 05:18:42 PM EST
I think once Europe's actions start defying the will of the US we'll be on our way to an EU/US trade war.

I wonder how close the US is to being defined as a pariah state. If the EU starts looking East rather than West it could easily link with China and Russia for trade, and the US would be out in the cold.

I don't think this is likely at the moment, but disgust with US foreign policy seems almost universal now. If the smaller kids realise that they have what it takes to gang up on the bully, the results could be interesting.

More deliverate destabilisation in the ME might be enough to make that happen.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 06:16:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The difficulty in accomplishing that is for the smaller kids to be willing to make the commitment to share their lunch money in order to keep the bully from stealing it.

I think a more likely scenario is that somebody like China eventually becomes strong enough to be the new bully. The little kids will then be paying protection money to a different mob.

by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 06:21:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do nto see any bully emerging in the near future. there will be regional powers.. (or regional bullies). But the US is no longer a bully in Asia...and I would start guessing that in Latin America is no longer as strong as it used to be. Aoon any influence in latin AMerica will be very very difficult to implement with all the European influence

And the US is no longer a bully in europe or Russia... they just can not force us to do their bidding.

They still have the MIddle East , though... and they want to keep it badly....the ring to control them all and keep being a bully...but I do not think it will work...We are for a multipolar...the main and relevant variables seem very robust....only a badly managed transition from oil could change the picture...and still it will only for a more fragmented world.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 05:46:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think this is likely at the moment, but disgust with US foreign policy seems almost universal now. If the smaller kids realise that they have what it takes to gang up on the bully, the results could be interesting.

I presume you mean of the 'may you live in interesting times' sort of interesting.  

by MarekNYC on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 06:32:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As if it's in the hands of anyone other that the US to decide whether we will live in interesting times.

We should stay the heck out of the Middle East right now. If the US and Israel want to set it on fire we're not going to be able to stop them, so let's delay the moment when we get burnt. We might just escape with minor blisters.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 06:40:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the problem.

Everyone's waiting for Bush's reign to end so that the adults and experts can shake hands again.

If you move now, two years before the term is over, you might get caught with your pants down. That's the big problem right there.

You're talking about tectonic plates moving, ith all the residual economic and cultural effects. In the face of another US election two Novembers from this one, I bet no one moves a finger toward the East.

by Upstate NY on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 08:54:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US will get another Neocon as president in 2008 and that will be it.

The US really is pushing the limits of the international system of alliances built by Truman and Ike. Bolton and Rice's diplomacy makes the most sense if you imagine them thinking "let's see how far they let me go". European governments are paralysed with disbelief and cognitive dissonance.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 03:44:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to the hilt. Actually they may back Israel more than our repubs, so any changes in US leadrship will not ease real tensions between the US unquestioning backing of Israel and the rest of the worlds increasing disquiet with Israel which is increasingly seen as an aggressive pariah state. In fact Israel and the US would probably be corrctly identified as the two states most likely to endanger world peace.
That is hard to accept as an American, but it is undeniably true.
by observer393 on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 11:21:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Insititutions are as relevant as their memeber wanthem to be.

NATO was bnever relevant per se..it was the meeting point..evne in Soviet Times.

the same goes on now. The question is not NATo but what kind of relation will the US and Frnace/Germany  will have in the future.

Regarding the UN..actually, given that it opposed the Iraq war and that the insititution is looking for a solution even with the US inside shows, to me, that the UN is far away from falling... It gains respect for standing up  and it loses at the same time because some governments do not want it to work.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 05:41:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think this comment of mine on a parallel thread could also be a reply to this.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 09:23:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A couple of weeks ago I posted the following comment in an Evening Open Thread:
Neo-con alert

BBC "Hard Talk": Jose Maria Aznar (24 July 2006)

Stephen Sackur talks to Spain's former Prime Minister about the global war on terror and about why he feels his party lost the last election in Spain following the Madrid train bombs.

THIS INTERVIEW WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING SHORTLY.

Iraq, Afghanistan and now Lebanon. All of them are on the frontlines in the global war on terror according to the Bush administration.

This view causes unease in some parts of Europe but not for former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. He is still a close ally of George W Bush.

Is he out of step with his own continent?

I was alerted to this by La Vanguardia, which claims that Aznar would admit NATO bommbings of Lebanon if Israel was a member of NATO. Which I suppose sheds some light on our recent discussions of Israel in NATO and NATO in Lebanon. This just confirms that the answer should be 'no' to both questions.
Well, today at Ignacio Escolar's blog I found a version of the video with Spanish subtitles (the English transcript, Spanish translation and subtitled video were done by three other Spanish bloggers). The transcript is absolutely appalling. Aznar is a semi-literate idiot, especially in English. And to think Georgetown University gave him a 1-year lectureship as a reward for his services rendered as imperial puppet... The full interview is available on BBC's website.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 05:29:29 PM EST
This is the first time I've ever seen him talk at length, and I was shocked not only at how bad his English is (why doesn't he just use an interpreter?) and appalled at how much more of a Neocon he is than I'd ever imagined. He belongs in a DC "think" tank.

How did Spain tolerate him for eight years?!

by Matt in NYC on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 02:00:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I offer you a deal: if you diary the interview I diary how we tolerated him for 8 years.

I provided a link to the English transcript, complete with the grammatical mistakes (like no -ed or -s at the end of verbs). The guys who translated and subtitled the video did Aznar a favour and translated what he meant, not what he said. But the actual text would have been too unbelievable.

Of course he belongs in a DC thonk tink, he taught International Relations at Georgetown [in English!!] for an academic year after he left power [his lectures about Spanish history and the war on civilization are legendary], and he's been appointed to Murdoch's board of directors (just like Blair will).

Oh, BTW, how does the US tolerate Bush? His English is not much better.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 03:41:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the war on civilization

hehe, I meant "The War of Civilizations", but the truth came out.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 06:01:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"He's from Barcelona."
-Sybil Fawlty, Fawlty Towers

(I know Spanish people are probably sick of Manuel. I'm Swedish, please feel free to bring up the Chef. Bork, bork.)

But seriously, is the answer going to be "The Economy"?

by Number 6 on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 09:28:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. The short answer is someone else had to win the elections after 14 years of Felipe Gonzalez, and the PSOE was demoralised, and floundered in 2000.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 09:35:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Lily Sloane , Star Trek First Contact:

Picard: "They are the Borg"
Sloane: "Borg? that sounds Swedish"

And later, after meeting Borg drones:

Sloane: "Definitely not Swedish".

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 10:14:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they are mindless drones that don't think for themselves, have a strange sense of fashion and do tedious, repetitive work very well.
Except for the added-in-committee Sloane character this was a great film.
by Number 6 on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 10:19:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I loved the ETR..

Asnar I fight terrorism. I fight ETA in Spain. E. T. R was ...
Journalist Windows Spell Check: You mean E. T. A.
Asnar: Whatever

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 11:48:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's because he says "Eee Tee Aah", and the journalist says "Eee Tee Aye?".

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 11:54:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He actually says Ahaggr.. a sort of soft gggr appears at the end... what the hell was he thinking???? I thought he had some problems with the voice...but he repeats the mistake...

In any case, I was so puzzled when he says itiaahhhrg...that I have to love the journalist...Priceless.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 12:01:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eppp.. this has been linked by escolar in Spain....so I made my best in spanish...

have a try..it has been front paged for you

Para los de escolar
or

Practicando español

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Aug 9th, 2006 at 04:10:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Both the UN and the EU are effectively immobilized from taking action in a controversial situation by the requirement of unanimous agreement. NATO is being used as a replacement for the UN. Every time it sponsors an intervention that the UNSC did not formally authorize, it acquires another precedent for replacing the authority of the UN.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 05:34:21 PM EST
NATO doesn't have any authority except as a way for US governments to argue to the US public that an action is being taken with international backing. But, since NATO is simply an arm of US policy, that's just an elaborate deception.

UN has some legitimacy and authority, but if the US is hell-bent on undermining it there isn't much the rest of the world can do about it.

We have to recognize one thing: the UNSC is configured for the purpose of avoiding war between Great Powers [defined as having veto power, or by virtue of having veto power, it's a chicken-and-egg situation]. Any of them can veto a resolution authorising the use of force by the others. By the same token, the Great Powers can ride roughshod over international law, as they can veto condemnation of themselves (or their clients: see Israel). The problem of late has been the US' willingness to hijack unrelated UN actions (like renewing the mandates of humanitarian missions) to obtain concessions that the international community was not otherwise prepared to give. This is the best we can hope for: the permanent members of the UNSC can burn the planet to a crisp is they go to war against each other, and so the international system has to be designed to prevent that above all else. Preventing other wars and promoting peace among the rest of the counntries is, in practice, a desirable secondary goal.

Since the US is going to exercise its naked power whether we like it or not, we should simply dispose of NATO. I don't want Europe to be the US' fig leaf.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 05:59:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are quite correct that NATO doesn't have authority that it has acquired by countries signing a treaty the way the UN has acquired its authority under international law. However, every time that NATO is used to "legitimize" and invasion and occupation it acquires the "authority" of precedent. Everyone who participates in that action or fails to vigorously protest it is contributing to that acquisition of "authority". So far Russia and China have the primary voices of dissent and they are often oblique.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 06:05:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My argument is that NATO action without UN authorisation doesn't have legitimacy or authority with the public in NATO members other than the US. Maybe it does with the governments of the UK and "new Europe" to use Rumsfeld's quip.

Kosovo is the only precedent for NATO action without UNSC authorisation. I don't think there will be another any time soon.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 06:18:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have run across some British people on the net who see NATO as the necessary vehicle to bring order to an increasingly chaotic world. I don't have any polls to demonstrate have pervasive this attitude is in the UK, but I think it represents more than just a few people. It was the British who first pushed the US to establish NATO. The dream of empire has not entirely died. These people tend to think that the Kosovo intervention was something to celebrate. I expect you could find similar opinions in France and Germany, certainly not a majority by a long shot, but likely people with a good bit of influence.

I think the chances of a NATO action in defiance of the UNSC are very real. Sudan is a good possibility for it.

by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 06:30:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes I think the UK belongs to "Anglo-Saxonia", not Europe. We'll have to agree to disagree on this. The largest public demonstrations ever in Europe [Madrid, London, Rome in February/March 2003] have happened to oppose governments aligning themselves with US policy. Gerhard Shroeder snatched electoral victory from the jaws of defeat simply by opposing Bush on Iraq.

I don#t see a reason, if puch comes to shove, for Russia or China to veto an intervention in Sudan, so NATO won't intervene there without a UNSC resolution unless the US chooses not to seek a resolution (like in Afghanistan, by the way) and in that case NATO won't follow (though some NATO members may, like the UK or the Czech Republic). Remember the US chose not to use NATO for the Afghanistan campaign precisely because [Chomsky alert!] according to the NATO treaty it was legitimate for NATO to intervene if Afghanistan was identified as the culprit for 9/11. The US has no more interest in lending legitimcay to the NATO charter than to the UN charter, because if the NATO charter acquires legitimacy it becomes another straitjacket for US action.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 06:38:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't disagree with you for a moment that the UK has always held itself aloof from Europe. I don't think we have anything to disagree about on that point. I certainly agree that the dominant public opinion in continental Europe is in opposition to US policy. I'm simply saying that there are likely other groups with political leverage who see it differently.

China has already opposed some of the more aggressive moves regarding Sudan. They have oil interest and clients there. I think there is a very real possibility that they would veto a UNSC resolution that wasn't to their liking. They are regularly using their veto power as a lure to establish closer ties with African states. They just persuaded Chad to break ties with Taiwan.

I agree that the US would not let a commitment to the NATO charter get in its way, but it constrains their actions less than the UN charter so for the moment it's useful. It is a place where Russia and China have no voice at all.

by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 07:01:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I certainly agree that the dominant public opinion in continental Europe is in opposition to US policy. I'm simply saying that there are likely other groups with political leverage who see it differently.

Sure, like these guys.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 08:17:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Among others.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 08:35:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You will find they're all connected.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 08:47:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good grief. Thanks for the link.
by Number 6 on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 09:50:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to its website the EPP is "a family of the political centre whose roots are deep in the history of European civilization. It unites like-minded national parties, in EU Member States and in EU applicant countries and we maintain close contact with decided probable candidate countries."
The political centre, my ass.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 09:57:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"... unites ... "
".. maintain close contact ..."

Goldwater Moment for Europe?

by Number 6 on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 10:12:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Both the UN and the EU are effectively immobilized from taking action in a controversial situation by the requirement of unanimous agreement.
Okay, how about NATO?
The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General of NATO and, when decisions have to be made, action is agreed upon on the basis of unanimity and common accord. There is no voting or decision by majority. Each nation represented at the Council table or on any of its subordinate committees retains complete sovereignty and responsibility for its own decisions.
Oh, so that's why the US says it acts "with NATO allies", as opposed to "with NATO". Because except for Kosovo you can't get a consensus to act unless there is UN authorisation. It's all about "coalitions of the willing".

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 05:58:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your observation is correct. The US is not able to formally impose its will on NATO in all circumstances. However, since it excludes Russia and China there is less dissent to contend with. That is what happened with Kosovo. I think there is a definite possibility of getting NATO consent for an intervention in Sudan in the event of a Chinese veto in the UNSC.
by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 10:00:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I never understood why Nato continued to exist after the end of the Cold War.

I also fail to see why American military bases are still required in Europe.

Perhaps we have become too used to Nato. In historical terms it is a highly unusual kind of alliance. Sovereign states do not normally keep armed forces based on the territory of other sovereign states in times of peace, however closely allied they are. That sort of thing is usually reserved for colonies or very much weaker states that have no alternative but to agree.

by Gary J on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 08:30:07 PM EST
Sovereign states do not normally keep armed forces based on the territory of other sovereign states in times of peace, however closely allied they are. That sort of thing is usually reserved for colonies or very much weaker states that have no alternative but to agree.

Well????

by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 08:36:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was trying to resist the conclusion that Europe is too weak to stand up for itself. I do not believe that to be true.

Perhaps the nations of Europe believe they should 'keep tight hold of nurse, for fear of finding something worse'. However given that the something worse dropped dead from a vodka overdose and nurse is working her way through the crate he left behind, independence day may be approaching.

I agree with the comment up thread, that European leaders are waiting to see if they will get a more reasonable US President after Bush and will try to avoid a major breach before then.

by Gary J on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 06:25:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that it was a position of European weakness that originally brought NATO into existence. I recently read a very good biography of Ernest Bevin. He was actively promoting such a military alliance with the US in an effort to hang onto British influence. The history of the beginning of the cold war and the question of what was the reality of the threat from the USSR is an infinitely fascinating subject.

With the collapse of the USSR, there were certainly open choices for Europe. They have chosen not only to keep NATO alive but to radically expand its membership and its scope of operations. I believe that there is a broad failure to face up to the consequences of that choice.

by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 06:47:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quote:
PROF GEORGE JOFFE: I have to say, I think the argument that this is linked into Shiia Islam is really a chimera. It takes away attention from the real problems of the region. They're all political in nature. In the case of Iraq it's to do with the process of governance. It's to do with the fact of the occupation and the consequences that has brought. In the case of Lebanon, it's to do with the question of occupation and the role played by Hezbollah as a form of national resistance, now supported it should be noted, by the Lebanese governments. Behind all that there is the political problem of the Palestinians and the Palestinian crisis that has now not been addressed properly for six decades. Now those things all come together. They reflect a series of political problems that if the West doesn't address them and address them very soon, will become part of a major confrontation and the terms of the confrontation at the moment are moving against Western interests.
---
Bush and Israelis are working against WESTERN INTERESTS...
Europe needs its own military alliance anyway...NATO is clinically dead anyway...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 08:43:57 AM EST
Link
http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2006/s1708873.htm

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 08:47:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jeez, that reporter sweats Kool-aid, and is not listening to anything George Joffe  says.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 8th, 2006 at 09:06:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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