America vs. The World

It is interesting to follow what American media might call „the road to war“ in the Iraq and Iran conflicts. Even though we now face a very different situation then we did prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, one thing seems to not have changed: the inability of the international community to form a united front against threats.putin-ahmadinejad-small
Very early in the Iraq conflict, much before the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had finished their investigations on possible nuclear weapons in Iraq, German, French and other leaders of what was to become known as the “old Europe” stepped up and assured their definite no to military engagement in Iraq. In doing so they not only boosted their public appeal in times when they were in much need of it (Germanys Gerhard Schröder for example stood facing his re-election), but also weakened the build-up of an internationally united credible threat of force. Much like Mr. Schröder and Mr. Chirac frequently shifted the blame for the failure of their left economic politics to evils of globalisation, they denied to take on international responsibility in favour of exploiting their voters naïve pacifism for their own political well-being. This is not trying to state that the war was right, but that categorically ruling out war from the very beginning was wrong.
Aside the western world stand the superpowers of yesterday and tomorrow: Russia and China, who sometimes seem to base their international politics solemnly on economic interests most notably of their large state run gas and oil firms. Truly bizarre in this constellation is the wide public perception in western Europe, which sometimes even goes as far as to depict America as the true threat of international peace. When the US is going to war with Iraq, it is only because of its imperialist thirst for oil and indifference for the UN security council. When European leaders deny their support for military actions both before the IAEA has filed their final report and before the UN has decided on possible reactions to the Iraqi threat, then this is perceived as peace-mongering, not as subverting the UN.
Now again, as we are facing an ignorant and dangerous Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the head of Iran, who denies both the holocaust and the Israeli right of existence, the international community is split. This time however Europe stands more willing to build up a threat of force and the US just a little less. Russia and China however have not much shifted their positions. At the meeting of the five UN-Veto-Nations in Moscow yesterday, the US was unable to pull through with their hard line sanctions on Iran. Bejing and Moscow seem to stick with their concept of protecting their economic interests over the integrity of the UN and peace. Much like Chirac and Schröder did before the Iraq war, is a position of categorical denial of force not only going to undermine the UN but also going to create a political atmosphere in which Iran feels itself backed by international allies. Today you do not see protesters on the Streets of Berlin, Paris or Rom who march against the Russian and Chinese embracement of Iran. But we can be sure that they will show up if the US announces concrete plans for the bombing of strategic targets in Iran. And our prejudices will be saved and once again America will be the evil imperialist empire.

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