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France and Germany demonstrate contempt for America

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted February 10, 2003

Why should the US give much credence to the stance of France and Germany, the ostensible leaders of Europe, regarding the need for military action in Iraq? These are the moral pygmies that refused to halt the genocide that was taking place in Europe's own backyard, the Balkans, during the 1990's. Even though the Europeans should have been at the vanguard of intervention in the Balkans, they, in fact, did diddlysquat to save those poor souls under siege -- and it was left to the US to step in and stop the wholesale slaughter and rape of European Muslims. This formidable negligence is just a little reminder of the wrong-headed, shortsighted mentality of "Old Europe" epitomized by France and Germany, a quaint term coined by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

But it's much more than France and Germany's pacifist inclinations that are driving their current efforts to thwart a US-led coalition to disarm Iraq. These two nations are motivated by salient strategic reasons, which are fourfold: a) France and Germany have established significant commercial dealings with Saddam Hussein's regime, and they don't want their lucrative business endeavors undermined in any manner, b) Plain and simple, their hands are dirty, since both France and Germany provided Saddam with forbidden precursor chemicals and other military technologies through abuses of the "oil for food" program - And, certainly, they don't relish irrefutable evidence of their malfeasance coming to light when Iraq is disarmed, c) France and Germany heavily depend upon Persian Gulf oil, and they vehemently opposed any disruption of the flow of that precious oil, no matter how short-lived the circumstances and how good the cause, and, d) Since France and Germany consider themselves the premier nations of the European Union, the natural leaders of a rising superpower, they believe that it is their duty to actively challenge the US.

As noted by Richard Perle, a foreign affairs expert at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Assistant Secretary of Defense, France and Germany now regard Europe as the "balance" or "counterweight" to American power. These nations see themselves as the new power players on the international scene, and intend to act as contrarians to US policies in order to assert European influence in this shifting power paradigm. As difficult as it may be, America will have to come to grips with the fact that our so-called allies, France and Germany, now hold us in awful contempt. And make no mistake, this is rooted in a cogent desire to chip away at our global leadership.

The emerging French and German tag-team is undoubtedly being bolstered by the United Nations, a longtime bulwark of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. France and Germany have been spearheading the case for "containment" of Iraq, in lieu of war, by sending in a force of peacekeepers and tripling the number of UN inspectors for ongoing inspections, which is based upon the premise that Saddam Hussein would not be able to continue developing Weapons of Mass Destruction, nor would he be able to pass them on to terrorists, under these circumstances. But this thinking is clearly faulty, since peacekeepers have proven ineffectual time and time again, and inspections simply cannot work in a nation the size of California without the full cooperation of Iraq as delineated in UN Resolution 1441. Besides, Iraq is just rife with places where prohibited weaponry can be squirreled away, such as palaces and secret underground locations. And the question must be asked -- How long will inspections be permitted to continue in the face of ongoing Iraqi deceit and systematic efforts to hide Weapons of Mass Destruction?

And now France and Germany, with Belgium in collusion, are even attempting to throw a monkey-wrench into NATO's support of military action against Iraq, utilizing procedural tactics. In an incredibly brazen move that may indeed trigger consequences, these three nations are hindering NATO plans to protect Turkey, which will be at considerable risk since it's providing a "launch pad" of sorts for American and other coalition troops. France has been particularly bent on blocking NATO arrangements for Patriot missiles, early warning planes, and other defensive measures in Turkey, which has thoroughly infuriated Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. As reported by Reuters, Rumsfeld stated, "Turkey will not be hurt. The United States and the countries in NATO will go right ahead and do it…Turkey is an ally. To prevent defensive capabilities - just the planning, not even deployment - I think that is inexcusable".

Importantly, in 1966, France withdrew its troops from NATO, but it has continued as a member. However, its participation in the alliance has been quite minimal at best -- so it has incredible gall, pardon the pun, to be this rancorous, this insolent regarding NATO's decision to provide added measures of protection for Turkey. If France, Germany, and their cohort Belgium choose to give short shrift to Secretary of State Colin Powell's superb case for deposing Saddam Hussein, then that is their business. It's certainly their prerogative to reject the mosaic of compelling evidence that Powell presented at the United Nations, and which, in the minds of many, incontrovertibly demonstrated the terrible threat posed by a psychopath such as Saddam Hussein who possesses Weapons of Mass Destruction and has significant ties to terrorist organizations including al-Qaida.

But, for France, Germany and Belgium to engage in jarring efforts to deprive a NATO ally of needed defensive measures is downright vicious and unacceptable. It's clearly over-the-top. Given their pernicious actions within NATO, these nations represent a disruptive force as obstructionists, and a price of some type must be extracted. They should not be permitted to act this way with impunity.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

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