Straws in the wind

Anne Applebaum (picture Sławek)

Maybe it’s coincidence, maybe there’s a concerted campaign, but there were two articles in the papers today calling for a European foreign policy, coming from unexpected sources.

The first, and most striking, was in the Financial Times. Reuel Marc Gerecht and Gary Schmitt, from the American Enterprise Institute. I’ll repeat that, from the American Enterprise Institute. If anywhere can be called the home of the neo-cons, it’s the AEI. It has people like Richard Perle and David Frum on its staff, and even Michael Ledeen (author of the so-called Ledeen doctrine: “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.”)

Read the article here.

Their article opens with the stirring words: “Do the Europeans really want to prevent a war between the US or Israel and Iran?” They go on to set out how the Europeans could do so, by a combination of sanctions and negotiations.

The interesting point is their recognition of the role that the Europeans, and only the Europeans, can play. As the Iraq crisis grew, the neo-con attitude in America was that European support was useful but not essential. It is good that this attitude is changing.

A similar point of view is expressed by Anne Applebaum in the Daily Telegraph here.

Anne Applebaum should not be dismissed as a neo-con, certainly not, but she was nevertheless a cheerleader for the Iraq war and a critic of the way in which the Europeans stood by. In part, the ability of the Europeans to play a role in the Iranian crisis is precisely because they did not join in the Iraqi invasion. Such is the irony of the present situation.

I want to make a further point, which is not only that the Europeans can play a foreign policy role, but that they must. Europe is rich and powerful now, and with power also goes responsibility. It is not acceptable to stand by and watch others take initiatives, the Europeans must act themselves for peace.

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