Friday, 15 August 2003

The war in Iraq as divided Europe into two camps

The author, Aleksander Dugin, Chairman of the political party "Eurasia," writes that the war in Iraq as divided Europe into two camps divided by philosophy and outlook. On the one side we have England and large parts of Southern and Eastern Europe: Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, the Baltics. On the other side we have France, Germany, Belgium. So far, so good, this is fairly obvious.

However, Mr. Dugin labels the former bloc that of Modernization, and the latter bloc that of Conservatism. Certain aspects of Franco-German foreign policy could be called conservative, particularly the desire to preserve the recent geopolitical past, in which these countries had some influence. However, if we take the French and Germans at their word, that their foreign policy is not primarily motivated by anti-Americanism (although this is a large factor), then we see that their foreign policy is not motivated by conservatism at all, assuming we define conservatism as "favoring traditional views and values," as defined in the American Heritage Dictionary. Traditional views and values would certainly include the belief that war is at times necessary, at times when avoiding war can actually lead to significantly greater harm than that caused by war itself. Similarly, France and Germany are abandoning their traditional NATO allies America and Great Britain.

The worldview that they are advancing is quite radical: that the legalistic and administrative means for resolving disputes in Western Europe for the last generation can be made to work everywhere else. While I am glad that Europe has managed to avoid a large-scale shooting war for fifty-plus years by integrating and promoting multi-lateral treaties, especially given Europe's violent history, we would be wrong to assume that the rest of the world would submit to such a system. For this reason, we conclude that the Anglo-American worldview is in fact the conservative one, since it holds that the world still contains rogue regimes and dangerous non-state players like al-Qaeda, groups which will not submit to treaties, laws, courts and bureaucracies. According to the Anglo-American view, such nations and groups will only respond to the old-fashioned use of force, a conservative principle if ever there was one.

And a proven one, too, to look at recent history. The atrocities in Bosnia and Kosovo, on Europe's doorstep, were stopped not by sanctions and treaties or UN resolutions, although there was no shortage of those (CLICK HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE), but by American-led military forces. Similarly, sanctions and UN resolutions (too many to link to) did not deter Iraq from expelling UN weapons inspectors, and these inspectors were readmitted to Iraq only when it was made clear to Saddam Hussein that denying entrance to the inspectors would result in attack by the US military. North Korea has proven itself immune to sanctions, preferring to pursue its dreams of nuclear glory while starving its own people. Lastly, I mention Rwanda. The US did not intervene militarily there, and as a result, millions of Tutsis were slaughtered while the UN tut-tutted and made resolutions.

I find it quite telling that countries which have recent experience with oppression and evil were more likely to support the Anglo-US actions than those who have been comfortable for a few generations. Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and the Baltic states, all former victims of the Soviet Union, were among our staunchest allies. Rwanda also supported our efforts. Those who most stridently opposed us were some of the countries we defended for 50+ years while they enjoyed the comforts of peace and prosperity: France, Germany, Belgium. From this I must conclude that our "opponents" are not in fact conservative, as Mr. Dugin suggests, but the most dangerous form of radical Utopians who have forgotten how the world outside of the safe havens of American-led NATO really works.