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The theory of intended and unintended consequences

Reader comment on item: After Saddam? Remaking the Mideast

Submitted by Shfep Fargotstein (United States), Mar 12, 2003 at 12:17

As befuddled as the state of global diplomacy may be at the moment, it could actually get worse – maybe for the USA, and maybe for the Franco-German alliance. One thing is for sure, throwing their full weight and prestige against the USA is a gamble with many an unintended consequence. In this mother of all ego battles, whomever blinks first is going to lose – and lose big.

The French/German “in your face” strategy of instigating a global political counter balance to the USA - at any cost, no matter what the issue - and with complete disregard to the norms of 50+ years of mutual cooperation - is a high risk game of “all or nothing”.

The transparency of both the USA’s and the EU’s real motivation in their foreign policy vis-avis the Mideast is most apparent in the eyes of the Arab world. They don’t trust the Europeans, but they know that the “enemy of my enemy is my friend:” Both sides claim moral superiority: The USA claims they want to “free” the Iraqi people, while France and Germany hold themselves up as the keepers of the world’s humanitarian and moral values.

In reality, the USA only wants to: Prevent Iraq from further destabilizing the region - and posing a threat to vital oil supplies, roll back the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction that could easily get into the hands of terrorists, and send a message to all the other state sponsors of terrorism that the USA is willing to defend itself. Bringing “democracy” to Iraq is a collateral benefit that is far down the line of reasons to go to war with Iraq. Bush’s claim to want to “reshape” the future of the Mideast, starting with Iraq, also is a collateral benefit with possibilities – but even that is further down the line of reasons. A strong showing of American political will, as well as overwhelming military superiority, will naturally act a deterrent to those who might otherwise contemplate aiding and abetting the war of terror on the USA and/or her allies.

France and Germany only want three things: Continue to exploit the vacuum created by UN sanctions against trade with Iraq by increasing their vast economic ties to the region; appease the Arab world in order to prevent the significant extremist Muslim population living in the EU from unleashing a wave of terror on their soil, emerge as the head of a new global counterweight coalition to oppose the USA’s lone superpower status.

The belated reconfiguaration of the UN, NATO, EU, and EU/USA relations are confirmation that the only contant in life is change. So be it.

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