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Europe in Iraq? Only On Its Own Terms

I asked a sampling of European analysts what Europe could do to help stabilize Iraq. Most of the 14 respondents from ten European countries note the high stakes for the continent and its limited capabilities to contribute to stabilization efforts.

Still, the answers do show a new willingness to contribute, but only on European terms. Many respondents suggest that Europe should pursue different policies than the US or make support dependent on more involvement in the decision-making process.

First and foremost, European analysts do not support deploying troops under US command. However, some suggest a quid pro quo where Europe provides military resources and training if given a real stake in an international effort.

Second, several respondents recommend that France mediate discussions among internal factions in Iraq. Efforts could focus on dialogue with groups that the US refuses to talk to and shall be aimed at reinvigorating Iraqi nationalism.

Third, a diplomatic offensive involving and pressuring Iran and Syria is seen as essential, but experts also point to Turkey. Maintaining peace in Kurdistan could be encouraged through EU membership negotiations.

I have written the survey conclusion for my day job at Atlantic Community: Europe Should Help Iraq, But Not Follow US Lead. It is the second part of our survey.

The first part was published at Europeans Want America to Stay in Iraq. And the third part, dealing with repercussions for Europe should the US withdraw, will follow next week.

German Government Split on President Bush's Climate Policy

Chancellor Merkel (CDU) welcomed President Bush's invitation to the world's 16 worst polluters for climate talks, despite his continuing opposition to mandatory targets on global warming. German Foreign Minister Steinmeier (SPD), however, thinks that it would be more productive to negotiate with individual US states rather than with the US federal government. He recently met with Governor Schwarzenegger, see Casey Butterfield's op-ed "For Transatlantic Future, Look Beyond Heads of State" in Atlantic Community.

And Germany's Environment Minister Gabriel (SPD) got real angry with Chancellor Merkel's and President Bush's proposal to expand nuclear energy to fight climate change. He is quoted by DW World:

First you urge people to expand nuclear energy and then you send in NATO to bomb the nuclear power plants because they did the wrong thing -- that isn't particularly intelligent politics.

Well, that is quite a populistic statement by the former SPD commissioner for pop-culture. After all, the IAEA found indications that Iran's nuclear program is not for civilian use only. Besides, it is very unlikely that NATO would agree to bomb Iran.

European Policy Analysts Want the United States to Stay in Iraq

I have interviewed 14 policy analysts from ten European countries regarding the US debate on Iraq. In a nutshell the main conclusions are:

1. European analysts largely support sustained US military involvement in Iraq. A sudden withdrawal or public announcement of a timetable was considered dangerous by a majority of those questioned.

2. Europeans feel that America is not doing enough to draw Syria and Iran into the nation-building process. However, there is no consensus on whether or not this is an achievable goal.

3. The Soft-Partition Plan, which is gaining traction among American policy makers, is an issue of fierce debate in the European discussion on Iraq. Most experts are resigned to the possibility that it is the only logical political option, but it by no means enjoys majority support.

During this highly politicized period in the U.S. debate, these European views might of interest as an outside perspective. 

In the past, Europeans have strongly criticized the US policy in Iraq, but now we don't want you to pull out. I find it newsworthy, because it indicates that Europeans still believe that the US is able to stabilize Iraq, while more and more Americans doubt whether the US can end the civil war and the insurgency.

The conclusions are published at Atlantic Community: Europeans Want America to Stay in Iraq and have been written by yours truly and my colleagues at Atlantic Community: Niklas Keller and Will Nuland. I have also asked a few more questions, which will be the topic of two more articles to come.

Rudolph Giuliani: World's Mayor?

Giuliani

Republican Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani would like to globalize NATO and apply his domestic reformist approach to international politics.

Our long-time reader and commentator Prof. Stephen L. Clark explains that "a distinguishing characteristic of Giuliani's approach is the belief that local reforms engender global reforms." Stephen was so kind to write the following guest blog post:

A person's life experience informs their view of the world. Rudolph Giuliani became the Mayor of New York City at a troubled time in the city's history. His policies and administration as mayor have been widely credited with addressing the problems he found and his rise to national prominence as mayor of the city through the period of the 9/11 attacks is a story well known. Continue reading "Rudolph Giuliani: World's Mayor?"

Lame Self-Congratulatory Editorial on Democracy Promotion

The Washington Post editorials are increasingly weird, for instance today's Save Burma:
The United States and the European Union acted with admirable cohesion and aggressiveness yesterday, calling for a meeting of the U.N. Security Council and asking it to consider sanctions

What on earth is "admirable" about this? Isn't it a no-brainer to call for a Security Council session? Admirable is what the monks and nuns are doing.
Why have the US and the EU acted with "aggressiveness"? This nonsense is the talk of chicken hawks and talking heads with no field experience.

The West -- in particular the United States -- likes to portray itself as the promoter of democracy and human rights around the world, but there was no support for the democracy movement in Myanmar/Burma. And that is good. The monks and democracy activists would be discredited, if they received support from abroad. Democracy has to come from within. The West should not exaggerate its contribution. Calling for a Security Council session is easy. Getting Chinese and Russian support for a UN resolution is more difficult and the West has failed in this regard. 

Besides, rather than just threatening the regime with more sanctions, it might be more sensible to offer economic aid on the condition that the regime starts democratization in addition to the threats. Providing incentives and threats is better than only threats. Past sanctions did not work. Providing incentives might not work either, but it is always worthwhile to extend an olive branch.

Another noteworthy quote from the Washington Post editorial:
We can hope that the generals will be deterred by the warnings about the war crimes trials that could await them, or that their officers and conscripts will refuse to carry out their orders.
War crimes trials? Since when are the Washington Post editorial writers in favor of the International Criminal Court? Besides, sitting on your couch and "hoping" for the best is not all that "admirable" and "aggressive". Why are you guys not calling upon the US government to support the International Criminal Court?

This Month's Highlights on Atlantic Review

The best posts in September:

Congratulations to the Bush Administration

The Anti-Americans and the Manichaean Narcissists 

Air Force Incompetence: Oops, What Are These Nukes Doing Here?

Europe is Caught in America's Culture Wars

 

Additional posts with real good debates:

FOX News: German Government Would Welcome US Bombing of Iran with 58 comments so far.

Iranian TV Airs Jewish-Muslim Love Story with 24 comments so far.

Newsweek: "American Meritocracy Catches on in Europe" with 26 comments and counting.

"America's Gay Fixation" with 42 comments so far.

Angela Merkel Annoys China by Meeting Dalai Lama

Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have invited the Dalai Lama to the White House in 1994 and 2001. German chancellors have avoided upsetting the Chinese. Until now. Angela Merkel hosted a "private meeting" with the Dalai Lama in the chancellory on Sunday, September 23rd.

It was about time! Germany's federal president von Weizsäcker met with the Dalai Lama in 1990 and German foreign ministers Kinkel and Fischer agreed to meetings as well, but Merkel is Germany's first head of government to dare what US presidents have done in the past.
AFP reports that "Merkel signalled that she supported the Dalai Lama's quest for cultural autonomy for the Himalayan region, sticking to the course she steered during a visit to China in August in which she readily tackled human rights issues." Now China has cancelled two top-level meetings in retaliation.

China, however, seems to be doing some good work as well. Like many other papers, The Guardian writes: 

There are reports that China is pressuring Burma to avoid a crackdown. "The Myanmar government is tolerating the protesters and not taking any action against the monks because of pressure from China," a diplomat told The Associated Press. China wants to be seen as a moderating influence ahead of next year's Beijing Olympics.

Related post in the Atlantic Review: Olympics 2008: Only Americans Remind China of its Responsibility for Darfur

ENDNOTE: Merkel is not the only one who is dares to meet a foreign leader despite negative repercussions. Barack Obama says he would be willing as president to meet with President Ahmadinejad of Iran as a way to protect U.S. interests, reports Breitbart. The NY Daily News considers Ahmadinejad as the personification of evil. See graphic to the right.
Well, Saddam is gone and there is not much interest in catching Bin Laden. They need someone else. Kim Jong-Il still runs North Korea like a Gulag, but who cares? He agreed to dismantle his nukes, so he is not all that evil anymore for the NY Daily News.

Europe is Caught in America's Culture Wars

Left-wing and right-wing Americans reduce Europe to Amsterdam, Brussels and the Hague and misunderstand Europe, writes Patrick J. Deneen, associate professor of government at Georgetown University:

In America, it is our liberals who praise the liberties of Europe while overlooking the conservative impulse of its self-restraint. Meanwhile, our conservatives condemn the statism of Europe without understanding that efforts to conserve - to be conservative - require the active support and laws of government in order to combat the tendencies of markets to produce waste and undermine thrift. Americans of both the left and right have lost the ability to perceive a form of liberty that is achieved through restraint.

America's culture warriors ignore the small towns and villages, which Prof. Deneen visited in southern Germany, central Switzerland and western Austria:

The Europeans I have seen are light years ahead of us in energy conservation and will weather the storm of rising energy costs better than we in America. Indeed, the combination of local economies, nearby productive farmland outside every town, viable public transportation and widespread use of alternative energies points to a culture that has never abandoned sustainable communities in the way that America willfully and woefully has done over the past 50 years.

You can also get some sense of why there is resentment toward America even here in a nation that generally has positive regard toward the U.S. Europeans pay higher prices for everything in an effort to use less and to create less waste in order to leave a sustainable world for their children, and whatever "give" there is in the worldwide production of resources is a kind of unintended sacrificial gift that many Europeans are making so that America can continue its energy gluttony.

Read his entire article in the Dallas Morning News (via EU Digest), also recommended by Rod Dreher in his blog Beliefnet: "If you read nothing else on this blog today, read the post to which I'm linking here." Maybe better transatlantic understanding is on its way after all. By the way, Prof Deneen also blogs at What I Saw in America.