Skip to content

Trans-Atlantic Cooperation: Are Europeans Unwilling to Share the Burden?

Ivo Daalder and James Goldgeier are disappointed by European contributions to the transatlantic alliance and want to globalize NATO to enhance burden sharing with other democracies. In their Financial Times op-ed "US and Europe must learn about alliances", the senior fellow at Brookings and the fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations point out:
In recent months George W. Bush has rediscovered the virtues of having allies and working within alliances. In every big challenge confronting the US – from Iraq to Afghanistan, from Iran to North Korea – he has sought to enlist the help of America’s traditional allies. But in many cases the very allies who bitterly complained about the US president’s unilateralism only a short time ago have been reluctant to do their part in helping multilateralism succeed.
Nowhere is this more true than in Europe. Last month's Nato summit should have been the time for a rousing call for the alliance to act effectively and transform itself into an organisation that would establish partnerships around the world to address common threats. But progress was minimal, because the Europeans were unable to seize the opportunity presented by an America that has realised it cannot solve these problems alone.
Personal opinion: The US chose multilateralism too late (and still does not embrace it fully in regard to the Iranian issue). If the US had accepted NATO's offer to help in Afghanistan right after 9/11, Europeans would be more committed to Afghanistan now. 
Re Iran: I believe the US has not been as supportive of the European negotiations as Daalder and Goldgeier claim. Besides, not the Europeans, but China and Russia are the obstacle for "real sanctions" on Iran. Sanctions only have a chance to work, if most countries support them. Still, Daalder and Goldgeier make many good points in their criticism of Europe, but they also exaggerate a bit, which is fine since it is an op-ed, which is available in their blog America Abroad. What are your thoughts about the Bush administrations "rediscovery" of multilateralism and the European response?

Related posts in the Atlantic Review:
Germany and the United States Failed to Train Afghanistan's Police,
Round-up of Opinions Before the NATO summit
Should Germany Send Troops to Southern Afghanistan? and
Afghanistan Intervention "on the cheap"

Endnote:
Daniel Fried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, discusses trans-Atlantic cooperation on Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and previews U.S.-Europe Relations for 2007. See article at the State Department.

Trackbacks

No Trackbacks

Comments

Display comments as Linear | Threaded

Annonymous on :

The multi-lateral approach to the Iranian nuclear issue was a bad mistake for the United States. The United States, by pursuing this multilateral approach, only succeeded in bringing more outside powers into an issue which was best discussed and resolved between US and Iran. This approach has resulted in complicating the diplomacy while giving power to UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China. The multilateral approach essentially has made the settlement of the Iranian issue imopssible.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"The multilateral approach essentially has made the settlement of the Iranian issue imopssible." Why? I agree, it would be best if the US and Iran would negotiate with each other, because the EU-3 (UK,France,Germany) cannot give Iran anything to make them stop uranium enrichment. The US might be able to convince them with security guarantees, normal relations etc. Unfortunately the Bush administration does not want to do so. The Bush admin has to many precondition before it is willing to start talking to Iran.

Anonymous on :

You asked "Why". The EU Sates, Russia, and China have diverging interests in Iran. By that I mean The quartet of US, EU, Russia, and China do not wish the same outcomes. Whatever US interests were they are no unreachable within the current format since Russia (and to a lesser degree China) will never ever permit US agenda being successful. These two states have no incengtive in having the Persian Gulf energy resources controlled by US. They will, however, permit US pressuring Iran until Iran runs to either Russia or China (or both) for protection. Russia and China stand to gain from this whichever way the chips fall. The big looser has been EU and they deserve it. They never offerred anything substantial to Iran and at the same time, tried to please US. They lost both. And their magnificient diplomacy was reduced to name-calling by the UK Prime minister while visiting Persian Gulf last week. It was sobering how ineffective Europen peasant cunning worked vis-a-vis the Middle Eastern rug merchant shrewdness. But what do you expect, these are the same states that aided and abetted Iraq in its use of chemical weapons against Iran. The power to undo nuclear Iran does not exist in the international arena. Iran has all the technological pieces and knowledge to build both nulcear reactors and nuclear bombs. It is a proud and resourceful country which will build nuclear bombs if its leader decide that it is in the interests of that state. The only way to remive the possibility of Iran building nuclear weapons is by occupying that country - those forces do not exits. US could bomb Iran and cause great harm to Iran by following the Kosovo and Lebeanon cookbook of bombing rail roads, power plants, air ports, bridges, etc. in additions to military and nuclear facilities but that will not prevent a nuclear-armed Iran - it will accelerate it. It will kill NPT - it will be finished. It will advance the gains of Russia and China in the Persian Gulf and it will leave behind and embittered and angry state that will do its utmost to cause great harm to US & EU for decades to come. Go the military route if you like a generational war in which the West will loose.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

> The big looser has been EU and they deserve it. They never > offerred anything substantial to Iran and at the same time, > tried to please US. What would be "substantial"? > these are the same states that aided and > abetted Iraq in its use of chemical weapons against Iran. Like the US did as well. > The power to undo nuclear Iran does not exist in the > international arena. So even offering Iran something "substantial" would not stop them...? > interests of that state. The only way to remive the > possibility of Iran building nuclear weapons is by occupying > that country - those forces do not exits. I wonder what you thought about the Soviet threat in 1985. Could you have imagined in 1985 that the Soviet Union would soon collapse? Quote from an earlier post of mine: The Foreign Policy Magazine blog writes about the views of democratization expert Larry Diamond: Diamond is under no illusions about what the Iranian regime is up to, describing their current activities as an "obvious, frenetic pursuit of nuclear weapons." [b]But he is surprisingly optimistic about the prospects for reform in Iran; arguing that there’s a "good probability" that we might see a democratic Iran within the next ten years or so.[/b] He believes that if "if we bomb [reform is] dead for a decade." But if we don’t, he sees real opportunities. He points out that, "Ahmadinejad is less effective and less politically potent internally than he may appear and the key to our strategy, in part, has to be to give him enough rope to hang himself." Iran is still years away from building a nuclear bomb, so there is no need to bomb Iran now, which would just lead to another one of the quagmires Bernstein writes about, while not ending Iran's nuclear program, but strengthening the regime and reinforcing their determination to pursue nuclear weapons." [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/500-Transatlantic-Approaches,-Quagmires,-and-Iran.html[/url] > US could bomb Iran and cause great harm to Iran by following > the Kosovo and Lebeanon cookbook of bombing rail roads, power > plants, air ports, bridges, etc. in additions to military and > nuclear facilities but that will not prevent a nuclear-armed > Iran - it will accelerate it. I agree. > It will advance the gains of Russia and China in > the Persian Gulf and it will leave behind and embittered and > angry state that will do its utmost to cause great harm to US > & EU for decades to come. I agree In your first comment you wrote that the US should have pursued direct negotiations with Iran. Why hasn't the US done so? You also write now "Whatever US interests were they are no unreachable within the current format since Russia." I guess there was a typo and you mean those interests are NOW unreachable. Correct? Since you stress the "current format": Do you think the US would reach its goals in a different format? Since you rule out an invasion or airstrikes, those can only be direct negotiations?

Anonymous on :

The European Union had to be able to present to Iran the legal framework for any deal between EU and Iran. Thiis framework had to have spelled out, in detail, the steps that each side would take, the reciprocal obligations that each side was undertaking, and the time frame for each step. The EU-Iran treaty had to be something as serious as SALT I & II. But EU never moved in that direction; successive Iranian proposals were routinely ignored. And the so-called August 2005 offer by EU to Iran seemed really to be designed to insult the Iranians (they are a vain people) by implicitly treating them as savages that can be given a few beads to get Manhatan. EU states transferred the chemical weapons know-how and precursor materials to Iraq - specially Germany. Left to its own devices, Iraq would have been defeated by Iran in 1983. But no, France and some other states seemed to prefer a "socialist" butcher to a "man of God". What US (and UK) did was to prevent the Iranian complaint to reach UNSC. The rape of the Chemical Weapons Treaty by Iraq, and its enablement by EU, and its continued debasement by US & UK has destroyed the Iranian trust in any international instrument of disarmament. (And not just Iran's, by the way.) You cannot live this one down. You are correct, in the nuclear arena all that the EU-Iran framework could have achieved was to ensure that Iranian nuclear activities were transparent and above the board. It also would have helped create a political dialogue between the EU and Iran. In time, that could have helped re-orient Iran towards taking into account the Western interests in the Levant, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean. Furthermore, it would have laid the foundation for another gas supplier to EU - in addition to Russia. I personally did not expect SU to collapse. But I knew in 1985 that they have productivity problems in their economic sphere. I think that no matter who rules Iran the Iranian Governments will want to have the nuclear capability. US & EU taught Iran (and other states for that matter) a very brutal lesson. The legacy of Iran-Iraq War cannot be forgotten easily by the Iranians. There is a lot of anger in that country. Mr. Diamond is wrong about another thing - that bombing will be effective. I think that the reason that US did not pursue direct negogiations with Iran has been that USG did not think Iran was worth it. Clinton was pursuing a policy of bankrupting the Iranian government (literaly using financial instruments) for example. I think Bush wanted to overthrow the Iranian government and the 2003 letter of Iran to US offerring negogiations was a trial balloon to gauge US ingtentions. I believe that the Iranians concluded that war with US was coming that they started preparing for it. Mr. Ahmadinejad is an Iran-Iraq War veteran and he has put many of his veteran colleagues in executive positions. I think this also explains why Iran is going for broke in Iraq (trying to gain and manitain influence). That is, if a war with US is coming then Iran has to gain as much strategic high ground as possible - only fools will cooperate with an enemy. US should exclide EU, China, and Russia from Iran issues (there are multiple issues here). At this moment in time, direct negogiations are not possible. I do not think that US Presidentt is capable of that much changes. There are a number of steps that US can undertake to indicate that war is not its objective in Iran - nor soft regime change. This is a partial list: 1- The President of the United States can reply to Mr. Ahmadinejad's letter addressed to the President of the United States. 2- The President or the Speaker of the House can also reply to Mr. Ahmadinejad's letter addressed to the American People. The above steps are in line with Mr. Ahmadinejad's intentions - he wants to get a public dialog going so that others in the Iranian government structure cannot sabotage his opennings to the "Great Satan" as they did when Mr. Rafsanjani was doing so in early 1990s. 3- Mr. Ahmadinejad has indicated a willingness to permit US to open an Interest Section in Tehran (in his words -"to serve the Iranian people better"). That offer should be explored and acted upon. 4- The President of the United States can cancel those sanction that have been placed on Iran by executive order - he does not need congressional approval.

Zyme on :

"The big looser has been EU and they deserve it. They never offerred anything substantial to Iran and at the same time, tried to please US. They lost both." The opposite is true - we didn´t lose something, we have something to lose. Have you ever heard which is the most important country for Iran regarding the import of goods? It is Germany. And since there are Hermesbürgschaften that would force our state to pay billions of Euros in case the investments of german companies in Iran are vaporized (by sanctions or war), our government has good reason to slow every effort down and preserve the status quo.

Anonymous on :

Yes, EU did loose something. It showed to the Iranians that it had no respect for Iran as a great country with great potential for mutually beneficial relationships to be developed over the years. It also showed itself to be "America Lite" that by itself it was incapable of doing anything useful in the international arena. I understand the German trade relationship with Iran is significant but it is not substantioal. Germany, and in fact all of EU, can live without the Iranians buying anything from them. The significance of what EU has lost is this - the opportunity to forge a political partnership with a state in that part of the world - that - because of its political independence from EU, US, Russia, China, could be a credible partner with EU and also get things done.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

[b]@ ZYME[/b] I think it is "just" one billion Euro. It would not be the first billion of Euros that would get lost. I think it is worth it to pay that price, if this leads to a change in Iran. (Think how much the Iraq war costs the US.) Besides, would the German investment in Iran really get "vaporized" by sanctions for a few years, if the Iranians do not nationalize the factories? Could not we just continue after the issue is resolved in a few years time? How much would we really lose? [b]@ ANONYMOUS.[/b] I appreciate your comments. Why don't you use a pen name or pseudonym? Just any name to differentiate between you and anybody else who might comment anonymously. > The EU-Iran treaty had to be something as serious as SALT I & II. > But EU never moved in that direction; successive Iranian > proposals were routinely ignored. What substantial and serious proposal did Iran make? Got a link? > EU states transferred the chemical weapons know-how and > precursor materials to Iraq - specially Germany. Yes. Bad and shameful policy indeed. People in the Middle East have a much longer and better memory than Europeans and Americans. (Many Americans consider the Mottasadegh coup in 1956 as "ancient history," but for Iranians it isn't. Thus they also remember German support for Iraq.) > also would have helped create a political dialogue between > the EU and Iran. In time, that could have helped re-orient > Iran towards taking into account the Western interests in the > Levant, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean. As you probably know, Germany has pursued a so-called "criticial dialogue" with Iran since the early or mid 90s. This increased German trade, but it did not change Iran's policy on human rights, Israel, nuclear program etc. Germany has been criticized for making too many conscessions and not being tough in this dialogue. Just talking about some issues does not lead to change. > it would have laid the foundation for another gas supplier to > EU - in addition to Russia. That could have been an incentive for the US as well. Besides, Iran would be an ideal transition country for oil and gas from Central Asia. Pipelines through Iran would be much cheaper and more secure than having them go through Russia or the Georgia and Armenia. Thus, the US could have made some grand bargain with Iran in the 90s... So many mutual interests could have been realized after having made peace first. > I personally did not expect SU to collapse. But I knew in > 1985 that they have productivity problems in their economic > sphere. I think that no matter who rules Iran the Iranian > Governments will want to have the nuclear capability. Perhaps that is the case. Though, if Iran and the US would make peace, perhaps they don't want nuclear capability anymore. They might want to spend their money on creating jobs (huge youth unemployment rate in Iran) rather than developing nukes. Ukraine, Kasachstan, South Africa gave up nukes as well. Well, Iran is different. Okay. Anyway, I think if the Iranian regime changes in a positive way and recognizes Israel, then the West would have less problems accepting Iranian nukes. > Mr. Diamond is wrong about another thing - > that bombing will be effective. He did not claim that. To the contrary. > US should exclide EU, China, and Russia from Iran issues > (there are multiple issues here). At this moment in time, > direct negogiations are not possible. I do not think that US > Presidentt is capable of that much changes. Therefore the EU negotiates with Iran. EU-Iranian negoations are better than having no negotiations at all. I think all EU governments would like to see the US and Iran solve their problems. The Iranian nuclear program seems to be only about having a deterrent against the US. Since the nuclear issue is about US-Iranian relations, the EU can't do much at all. Therefore I took issue with your first comment, which seemed to blame the EU. Though, I know realize that this was not your intention. > There are a number of steps that US can undertake to indicate > that war is not its objective in Iran - nor soft regime > change. This is a partial list: Sounds good. Though, why not just say it directly? Why is Pres Bush refusing to clearly state that the US is concerned about Iran's nuclear program and does not want to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, but that the US is not interested in regime change, i.e. making it clear that the dispute is about the nuclear program rather than the form of governement or other policies. I mean, the US does not have the capabilities for regime change anyway. The Iranians, however, think US policy is not motivated by the nuclear program, but by regime change dreams. That is a big obstacle to a peaceful resolution

pen Name on :

I have chose the word Pen Name as you requested. I do not have a link. I recall the Iranian proposal was made in the Spring of 2005. It was based on a graduated approach to enrichment in Iran with safe-guards above and beyond NPT & the Additional Protocols. EU never replied. EU's aim was the removal of that technology in Iran - that aim was unreachable and they perhaps know it and wanted to prolong it to get a collapse of the Iranian government; a pipe dream. But Europeans are welcome to their illusions as well as the Iranians and the Americans. Unrolling of the Iranian nuclear capability is not in the cards and was never in the cards and some Europeans know this. The rape of chemical weapons treaty was not just bad and shameful as you have put it. Together with the war in Kosovo and the US invasion of Iraq it made the world that much more unsafe. The Iranian people have moved on - for them the Mossadegh episode is over. I supported the Critical Dialogue but it could not address the fundamental insecurity of the Iranian State. Certainly the Critical Dialogue should have been maintained in the areas of human rights, legal frameworks, etc. What would EU do if Pakistan threatened Iran with nuclear attack? Or India? For many such reasons I think Iran should have left the NPT back in 1998. Now it is too late to leave NPT but not late enough to put in place all the pieces needed to build nuclear weapons if the need arises. This is irreversible. You can either accept it or join US in a War against Iran. At any rate, EU does not have the weight to do anything except clean-up after Ameirca. US did not want a grand bargain with Iran - it wants surrender. Not in the 90s and not now. I agree with you that reapproachment between US and Iran could help both states but I do not see it in the cards. We will be having a confronation modeled after the Cold War in Europe that the West cannot articulate since it is both religious (Shia-Sunni) and political. It is the wrong approach but given the continued US hegemony being a US goal - it is West's only way. It is stupid but what are you going to do? Continued EU-Iran negogiations past August of 2005 made no sense. EU had already indicated that it was not interested in a strategic discussion with Iran and even at a tactical level she was not serious - her proposals lacked structure and framework - it was worse than the North Korean Agreed Framework of 1994. Iran will not recognixe Israel until and unless Israel has settled its war with the Palestinians. But, I also think that there is very small chance of that we will see a resolution based on the 2-state model. That time is over. We either have to go with a bi-national state (thus the "Jewish" state effectively disappearing) or continued war. What Mr. Ahmadinejad has said is the sentiments of hundereds of millions of Muslims - and two-thirds of Muslim governments of the world. West & Jews have "lost" Muslims in this regard.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"I do not have a link." What a shame. So I can't read about how serious Iran is about a negotiated solution. Anyway, I do appreciate your comments and hope to read more about your views on any other issue in the future. After the holidays there will be again more commentators around. Here are all posts about Iran (or just mentioning Iran) in a chronological order. If you scroll down you will read some older ones that you might be interested in: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/plugin/tag/iran[/url] Why has the war in Kosovo made the world "much more unsafe"? "The Iranian people have moved on - for them the Mossadegh episode is over. " Thanks for the good news. Though, I hear something else. "What Mr. Ahmadinejad has said is the sentiments of hundereds of millions of Muslims - and two-thirds of Muslim governments of the world. West & Jews have "lost" Muslims in this regard." What statements?

pen Name on :

I have no links to any current Iranian offer. There was full-page advertisement in the New York Times in 2005 outlining the Iranian proposals and the EU responses. Here is a .pdf file: http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/2005/infcirc648.pdf The gist of it is the following offerred on March 2005(on page 3): 1. Strong and mutually beneficial relations between Iran and the EU/E3, which would provide the best guarantee for respect for the concerns of each side; 2. Confinement of Iran's enrichment program, in order to preclude through objective technical guarantees any proliferation concern: a. Open fuel cycle, to remove any concern about reprocessing and production of plutonium; b. Ceiling of enrichment at LEU level; c. Limitation of the extent of the enrichment program to solely meet the contingency fuel requirements of Iran's power reactors; d. Immediate conversion of all enriched Uranium to fuel rods to preclude even the technical possibility of further enrichment; e. Incremental and phased approach to implementation in order to begin with the least sensitive aspects of the enrichment program and to gradually move to enrichment as confidence in the program would be enhanced; 3. Legislative and regulatory measures a. Additional Protocol; b. Permanent ban on the development, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons through binding national legislation; c. Enhancement of Iran's export control regulations; 4. Enhanced monitoring a. Continued implementation of the Additional Protocol; and b. Continuous on-site presence of IAEA inspectors at the conversion and enrichment facilities to provide unprecedented added guarantees You can use the WEB and Google for additional materials. About Kosovo: During the Cold War, Yugoslavia was an official member of NATO. Their military doctrine was for a defensive war against the Soviet Union. The Kosovo Muslims rebelled against a duly and legally constituted authority in Belgrade. US & EU went to war against a Cold War allie in support of a group of terrorists under the guise of human rights etc. They has no business intervening in the internal affairs of another state. Furthermore, Yugoslavia was not a threat to NATO, was not a threat to EU, and was not a threat to US. This was a Jacobin project going against teh principles of Peace of Westphalia, the Concert of Europe, and the Charter of the United Nations. Thus, US & EU once again (after complicity in the rape of Chemical Weapons Treaty by Iraq) demonstrated that there is no legal structure that could protect a small state against more powerful states - pay attention now - that pursue a Jacobin foreign polciy. So much for the EU's rule-based approach. Mr. Ahmadinejad's statements regarding the illegitemacy of Israel, the plight of Palestinians, the abuse of Holocaust to advance the Zionist aims in Palestine are widely shared by hundreds of Millions of Muslims and the majority of Muslim political leaders.

Zyme on :

@ Jörg: "Die deutschen Exporte nach Iran haben sich positiv entwickelt und erreichten im sechsten Jahr nacheinander zweistellige Zuwachsraten. In den ersten neun Monaten 2005 war erneut eine Steigerung um 35% auf etwa 3,5 Mrd. Euro zu verzeichnen (nach 2000: +39%, 2001: +23%, 2002: +17%, 2003: +29%, 2004: +33%). Deutsche Lieferungen nehmen einen der führenden Plätze ein. Große und mittlere Unternehmen sind in einer Vielzahl von Projekten aktiv, was auch Chancen für mittelständische Firmen auf diesem nicht einfachen Markt bietet." What do you think - how many markets in the world provide such excellent starting positions for german companies? "Mit der Entdeckung weiterer Öl- und Gasreserven wird Irans Position als Energielieferant für die weltweite Versorgung unterstrichen. Irans Öl- und Gas- (zweitgrößten in der Welt) sowie Bergbaureserven werden die Bedeutung des Landes angesichts des weltweiten Rohstoffbedarfs künftig noch steigen lassen." Maybe you are owning shares of german export companies at the stock market. I do. If you also do, I bet you didn´t miss the impact which was caused this year by the israelian offensive on lebanese territory. Now compare this to the importance of Iran. "Die makroökonomischen Rahmenbedingungen haben sich in den vergangenen Jahren u.a. durch Abschluss bilateraler Investitionsschutzabkommen, Steuerreform, Vereinheitlichung der Wechselkurse, verbessertes Risikoranking durch internationale Rating-Agenturen (Auslandsverschuldung reduziert), Anschluss an den internationalen Kapitalmarkt, Deckungen (auch Hermes) sind verfügbar und werden in steigendem Maße in Anspruch genommen." If lobbies ever influenced our government in foreign policy, you may bet they will in this case, heavily. [source: http://www.bfai.de/nsc_true/DE/Navigation/Metanavigation/Suche/sucheUebergreifendGT.html] My personal guess is that our government has given up on keeping Iran from producing nuclear weapons. It would make sense: As soon as you expect this to be only a matter of time, you have no reason for harming your relations to a new nuclear power in the middle east anymore. Instead, you will try to intensify your bonds and support only symbolic efforts against Iran. This would ressemble our foreign policy towards Russia and China (to name the most important ones) a lot, don´t you think? PS: I´m very happy with the objective and rational level of discussion that has been reestablished.

pen Name on :

Iran has made too many promises to other states to get out of NPT and start building nuclea weapons; to non-align states, to India, to South Africa, to China, and to Russia. Germany cannot have an independent foreign policy from that of the United States. Germany, like Japa and South Korea, are still occupied countries and only semi-sovereign states. If Germany and in fact EU had given up in their objective (no enrichment technology in Iran - no heavy water reactor) then I dd not understand why they sanctioned Iran under Chapter 7; why indeed even go to UN? What was the point? Mr. Ahmadinejad is correct is stating that EU states lost an historic opportunity to mend fences with Iran. I also think that over time the Iranian market will be left to Russia, China, India, South Korea and others.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

You worry about the 3,5 billion Euro of German exports to Iran? I think that number is not very high compared to other markets. Sure, Iran is an important energy rich country, but we can live without Iran. Iranian nukes are a bigger problem than living without Iranian oil and gas. (And I am saying that as someone who believes that the Iranian nukes are [i]not [/i]as big a problem as most hyperventilating bloggers think it is.) If the EU-3 does not find away to stop Iran from developing nukes, then Israel will bomb all their nuclear sites. This will lead to a big war in the Middle East, and your dear stocks will decline A LOT. You would lose more money due to another war than by having sanctions for a couple of years. So, sanctions are better for your stocks than a war. The only question is: [b]Will full economic and other sanctions against Iran lead to a change in Tehran's policy? [/b] I don't know. Maybe not. Though, a war will not stop Iran from developing nukes either. A war would just delay it. Neither a war nor sanctions have a big chance to lead to success. Sanctions are cheaper than a war, thus they should be tried first. Iran [i]sounds[/i] defiant. They say they don't fear sanctions because they managed to live with them through 8 (?) years of war with Iraq. [b]Is Iran much more dependent on international trade now than during the 80s, when the EU (?) and US had sanctions against Iran during the war with Iraq? [/b] Iran does not export as much oil and gas as they should be able to do, because their facilities need repairs and modernisation. Would China and Russia be able to fix them? Russia probably. China? I don't know. So, if we get Russia on board... Saudi Arabia is Iran's biggest regional rival. We could make a deal with Saudi Arabia: They increase oil exports, when we put sanctions on Iran. They can do so easily. The Saudis have to do their share. International Herald Tribune: "Even as Iran defies UN, oil prices fall" [url]http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/12/26/bloomberg/bxoil.php[/url]

pen Name on :

Saudi Arabia does not have the excess capacity to compensate for the iranian oil.

Zyme on :

@ Pen Name "Germany cannot have an independent foreign policy from that of the United States. Germany, like Japa and South Korea, are still occupied countries and only semi-sovereign states." What has precisely happened during the last 5 years? Your opinion about germany seems to have missed several updates since 1990. "If Germany and in fact EU had given up in their objective (no enrichment technology in Iran - no heavy water reactor) then I dd not understand why they sanctioned Iran under Chapter 7; why indeed even go to UN? What was the point?" Aren´t these the symbolic efforts I was speaking of? Germany will support those of course, since they don´t really hurt anyone and since there is no use in affronting our allies by rejecting them. "I also think that over time the Iranian market will be left to Russia, China, India, South Korea and others." The Investitionsschutzabkommen between Germany and Iran tells something differently. According to the pact, german companies have to be treated the same as iranian when companies from both countries are interested in public projects. Iran is also interested in renewing its production facilities and infrastructure. And they are preferring german partners here, too. If you speak german, you may read the article I referred to above. The increase of bilateral trade between Iran and Germany over the last years is astonishing, and there is no reason to assume this will change in the coming year (as long as there are no serious sanctions!). The USA, France and Britain are in an easy position here, as they have little or nothing to lose by sanctions on Iran. Do you acknowledge that the situation is completely different for Germany? @ Jörg "You worry about the 3,5 billion Euro of German exports to Iran? I think that number is not very high compared to other markets." http://www.dihk-ir.com/ "Vor 30 Jahren, am 24.04.1975 wurde die Deutsch-Iranische Industrie- und Handelskammer zu Tehran (DIIHK) von ca. 100 Firmen gegründet; zwischenzeitlich hat die Kammer über 1800 Mitglieder und ist eine der wichtigsten Stützen für die bilateralen Wirtschaftsbeziehungen beider Länder. Damit gehört die Deutsch-Iranische Industrie- und Handelskammer zu den fünf größten Auslandshandelskammern Deutschlands." It seems like Iran is the german stronghold for trade throughout the muslim realm. Now you want to make me believe that you would invest the bilateral work of three decades into sanctions that are highly uncertain to stop Iran on its way to a nuclear power? Or do you actually believe the Iranian government would forget about german support for that sanctions the moment they are lifted again and everything would be like it was before? Isn´t this very naive? "Sure, Iran is an important energy rich country, but we can live without Iran." Sure, if you do not care about the money you need for petrol and worry about the economical impact an increasing oil price causes, you can live without Iran. The last thing Berlin wants is to put our economical upturn at risk, don´t you agree? Now don´t philosophise about your own preferences, what do you think is the last thing Berlin is willing to sacrifice? Why don´t you mail our foreign ministry and ask whether we could live without Iran. Those guys are actually responsible - their response might open your eyes. "If the EU-3 does not find away to stop Iran from developing nukes, then Israel will bomb all their nuclear sites." Oh yeah? On their own? What makes you believe they would succeed in a mission, that the USA have ruled out as impossible? The Iranians aren´t as dangerous as the americans believe. Well, they are dangerous to american influence in the region, but nothing more. They like a tough rhetoric, like any other muslim country. But you should jugde them by their actions, not by their rhetoric. Have you seen the Iranian President embracing orthodox jews? Israel has not much to fear from Iran. Iran will certainly try to influence the future of Israel. This is about their neighborhood after all. "So, if we get Russia on board..." Diplomcy is not like mathematical calculations. On certain issues, we would have their support and on others not. They have already delayed the promised delievery of nuclear materials to Iran now. Like Germany, Russia is willing to delay the development of nuclear weapons there. "Saudi Arabia is Iran's biggest regional rival. We could make a deal with Saudi Arabia: They increase oil exports, when we put sanctions on Iran. They can do so easily." Economy does not ressemble mathematical calculations either. It is a lot about trust and fear. German companies have trusted their investments into Iran for decades. We have become a preferred partner. The situation in Saudi Arabia is completely different as other industrial countries have their economical stronghold of the region there. So as a responsible statesman, you would have no serious compensation to offer to those german companies that would be hurt by sanctions - how would you deal with that problem? I have an idea: Why don´t you invest some money into shares of german export companies? It might enrich your understanding of what the term "verantwortungsbewusste Außenpolitik" means.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"Have you seen the Iranian President embracing orthodox jews?" Very cute. How sweet! He is a man of peace and should get the Noble Peace Price. Very lovely fellow! ;-) Seriously: Those orthodox Jews at the Holocaust deniers conference are against the state of Israel for crazy religious reasons. Of course, he kisses them. Zyme, please don't let Ahmadinejad fool you with such a cheap PR trick. You need better arguments. So, you think it is in Germany's interest to side with Iran? [b]Why don't you worry about our trade with Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia? And about their investments in Germany? [/b] Those countries are opposed to Iran. And they are more important for Germany's economy than Iran. Thus siding with Iran could hurt Germany. You mentioned the importance of trust. Have you any idea how much Germany would lose? Besides, all this is about crude Realpolitik. Though, we should not ignore our [b]moral obligations[/b] towards Israel. Sanctions are required, if Iran does not accept a reasonable proposal to settle this conflict. "So as a responsible statesman, you would have no serious compensation to offer to those german companies that would be hurt by sanctions - how would you deal with that problem?" I would say: No compensation. That's business! Companies take risks, when they invest abroad. That's how it is. Companies should make ethical, moral, political considerations before they invest abroad. And if they choose to ignore these considerations and go for profit only, then they don't deserve compensation but should pay a price, when Iran does not comply with UN resolutions. That's called economical risk. You can't have it both ways: Companies cannot pursue profit at all costs, but expect the government to bail them out in case of trouble. Anyway, German companies doing business with Iran are insured with Hermesbürgschaften for about a billion Euro.

pen Name on :

EU proposals are only reasonable to Europeans such as yourself who does not consider that other people also have serious concerns. What is EU prepared to do if Pakistan threatens to drop a nuclear bomb on Iran? What is EU going to do if Israel drops a nuclear bomb on Iran? What is EU prepared to do if US invades Iran? I think we all know the answers to these questions: "rien, nothing, nada, nicht"

Zyme on :

"I would say: No compensation. That's business! Companies take risks, when they invest abroad. That's how it is." It is our government´s job to secure the interests of not only our entire nation, but also of german citizens and companies. International sanctions are only a "risk" when their are enacted by foreign countries. When german companies would lose their investments due to german support of serious sanctions, this is no "risk" - it is dire betrayal. "So, you think it is in Germany's interest to side with Iran? Why don't you worry about our trade with Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia? And about their investments in Germany?" At no point I said that I wanted our country to side with Iran. Instead, I appreciate our rather neutral position in the conflict. This is the main reason why diplomatic talking and other symbolic efforts against Iran are to be continued. It will be enough to save our relations with Israel and the USA, don´t you agree? By the way: As the USA and Israel are free countries, most investments from those countries are private ones. They can hardly be influenced by their governments. In Iran though, most investments are controlled by the government. Thus, a good relationship to its government is a more important key for economical success there. "Seriously: Those orthodox Jews at the Holocaust deniers conference are against the state of Israel for crazy religious reasons. Of course, he kisses them." I didn´t tell you this to claim that the Iranian President likes Israel. I told it to prove that he doesn´t hate the Jews. A real anti-semite person would never have kissed any Jews, Achmadinedschad did. He dislikes Israel mostly for national reasons, and this is why his behavior can be expected to remain rational. "Companies should make ethical, moral, political considerations before they invest abroad. You can't have it both ways: Companies cannot pursue profit at all costs, but expect the government to bail them out in case of trouble." In Germany, you often can. Our companies can expect support and protection by its government as soon as the proper relations are established. From this point a steady development of economical ties begins. You have to keep in mind the german model here: Our state provides Hermesbürgschaften instead of letting our companies down. This is a major reason of our success in exporting goods, regardless of the political background of our partners. "Anyway, German companies doing business with Iran are insured with Hermesbürgschaften for about a billion Euro." I couldn´t find the total number. If a billion is correct, our government would have to increase some taxes to fill this gap up. In addition to wasting relations that developed over 30 years. In addition to wasting our economical stronghold in the muslim world. In addition to wasting the german image in the muslim world. Shall I continue? This is why I am very happy with our current position in the conflict. And besides: Do you think our government consists out of fools since they behave this way?

Add Comment

E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.
CAPTCHA

Form options