Why The Europeans Won’t Act On Iran

January 14, 2006

As well as being militarily very weak, the big European powers lack the will to deal with the problem. Here’s a snip from an excellent piece by Mark Steyn that illuminates this (UK Spectator, free subscription required):

There was a hilarious interview in Der Spiegel a few weeks back with Don Rumsfeld, in which the Germans seemed to have forgotten that they’re supposed to be running the show on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The US defence secretary observed that ‘all of us have to be concerned when a country that important, large and wealthy is disconnected from the normal interactions with the rest of the world’.

‘The US is trying to make the case in the United Nations Security Council?’ inquired the chap from Der Spiegel.

‘I would not say that,’ said Rumsfeld, mischievously. ‘I thought France, Germany and the UK were working on that problem.’

‘What kind of sanctions are we talking about?’

‘I’m not talking about sanctions. I thought you and the UK and France were.’

‘You aren’t?’

‘I’m not talking about sanctions,’ repeated Rumsfeld. ‘You’ve got the lead. Well, lead!’

‘You mean the Europeans?’ said the bewildered German, still not getting it.

‘Sure. My goodness, Iran is your neighbour,’ said Rumsfeld. ‘We don’t have to do everything!’

‘We are in the middle of regime change in Germany,’ spluttered the Spiegel editor.

‘That’s hardly the phrase I would have selected,’ remarked Rummy.

Well, we didn’t go the unilateral cowboy illegal warmongering route with Tehran. Instead we left it to the European Union and, as a result, Iran will be a nuclear power by the end of the year.


Hitler, The Mullahs, and Europe

January 14, 2006

Iran’s nuclear weapons program must be shut down quickly – like the Nazis in 1936, a hard push now will stop them, while waiting until they have nukes condemns millions to death. As with the Nazis, the Europeans have abdicated and the task falls to the US.

The parallels with Nazi Germany are precise: the mullahs have undertaken to wipe Israel off the map and have covertly developed weapons to do this, in breach of international treaties. Here’s how it played out in 1935/6 (my ellipsis and emphasis):

(On March 16, 1935, Hitler announced that) Germany was going to reintroduce military conscription (compulsory enrollment) and build a new Army consisting of 36 divisions, totaling 550,000 men.

This was actually a flagrant violation of Part V of the Treaty of Versailles signed by Germany back in 1919 after its defeat in World War I. Breaking the Treaty was an affront to Germany’s former World War I enemies, France and England.

Everyone waited to see how they would respond to the news. Some of Hitler’s more cautious Army generals thought there might even be an immediate military attack by France. But absolutely nothing happened, except for a few diplomatic protests.

Hitler, for the first time in his career, had gambled against Germany’s old enemies and won…Hitler’s method of diplomacy in dealing with the gun-shy Western democracies was thus established. His original bombastic announcement was usually made on a Saturday to catch other governments off-guard. It came in the midst of an ongoing action, or after the fact, and was followed by a conciliatory speech full of reassuring promises.

Hitler’s next big move in the game of international diplomacy didn’t occur until a year later and it would be one of the biggest risks of his entire career. Beginning at dawn on Saturday, March 7, 1936, three battalions of the German Army crossed the bridges over the Rhine and entered into the industrial heartland of Germany known as the Rhineland. This demilitarized area included all territory west of the Rhine River extending to the French border as well as a portion east of the river including the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf and Bonn. This demilitarized area included all territory west of the Rhine River extending to the French border as well as a portion east of the river including the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf and Bonn.

At 10 a.m. that morning, Hitler’s Foreign Minister…summoned the ambassadors of France, Britain, and Italy, and handed them a lengthy memorandum stating that the German government had “…restored the full and unrestricted sovereignty of the Reich in the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland.”

Once again, the whole world waited to see how the French and British would react. German troops entering the Rhineland even had orders to scoot back across the Rhine bridges if the French Army attacked. But in France, the politicians were simply unable to convince their generals to act, and were also unable to get any British support for a military response. So they did nothing. The French Army, with its one hundred divisions, never budged against the 30,000 lightly armed German soldiers occupying the Rhineland, even though France and Britain were both obligated to preserve the demilitarized zone by the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact of mutual assistance.

This was another gross violation of the Treaty of Versailles.

So, then as now, the European powers appeased – Churchill is said to have called this “feeding the crocodile – in the hope that it will eat you last”. It did eat them last, in the worst war in history in which 55 million people died.

At that time the US was still in the great depression, isolationist, and not unreasonably felt that if the Europeans weren’t prepared to look after themselves, why should the US?

The Mullahs war will kill many more than 55 million people, turn much of the Middle East and Europe into an uninhabitable waste, and severely damage the world’s economy.

Europe is too weak to stop this, both militarily and morally, and so the task falls to the US and Israel, perhaps with the support of the Japanese and Australians. Subsequent posts will examine the tactical and strategic issues.