February 11, 2003
These are politically stressful times in the world right now. I doubt that statement will surprise many. However, it pretty much appears that the more the U.S. emphasizes its intentions to disarm Iraq (which basically means a war), the more certain Europeans shun war. The latest rung in the ladder to global disunity is mentioned here in the NY Times. Note that to read this, you need to have a subscription, which is free and which I highly recommend. Basically, Turkey is scared that Iraq may attack them for their support of the U.S. They're also nervous that there will be huge masses of Kurdish refugees run into Turkey from northern Iraq (this happened in the last Gulf war), or that there could be a Kurdish uprising as they try to create an independent state upon the fall of Iraq. Turkey is also the only NATO country with a predominantly muslim population, and there could be a lot of internal public unrest over their support for the U.S. Turkey has tried activate a clause in the NATO treaty that would obligate allies to help the country defend itself, but France, Germany, and Belgium have denied an American request to send defence equipment to Turkey. Some in NATO are calling this a crisis and the future of NATO is in question as it's supposedly allied members squabble and reject each other's proposals. Recently France and Germany have teamed up to fight Britain and the U.S. which have teamed up. There's a quote in the article that I thought summed up the debate from an American point-of-view: Robert Kagan, the author of several books on current affairs, put it succinctly in the opening lines of a new book: "Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus." Europeans, he says, feel they have evolved into a postmodern, literally postwar world. Americans, Mr. Kagan argues, understand that sometimes there is no alternative to force.However, on the bright side, no one really wants NATO to disintegrate. There have been similar conflicts in the past (such as Vietnam), and both NATO and the UN (whose relevance has been questioned) have pulled through.
Posted by charr at 11:23 AM
I served two tours in Saudi during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During that time I had the opportunity to visit alot of the cities within the region including Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai and even Kuwait City. At no time did I ever feel welcomed there. Walking down the street or sitting in a cafe, there is an overwhelming sentiment -"Go away, we don't want you here." Remember, whatever we do with Iraq, it won't make a difference in that area of the world. They've been killing each other for thousands of years, they know nothing else. How can you reason with the unreasonable? Sorry for the cynicism.
So, are you saying we just blow up the entire middle east? I kid. You do bring up an interesting point, and one that I have observed on many occasions in that the world doesn't like America, whether it be from jealousy or religious regions, or what-have-you, yet it is America which often comes to the rescue when those people need help. The U.S. gives tons of money and support to countries that don't appreciate it, but if we stopped, we'd be assailed by angry people. Basically the U.S. is stuck in a "damned if you do...damned if you don't" position, and I see it only getting worse in the future.
We had a saying in the Navy, "Level it all, turn the entire place into the world's largest parking lot with a Wallmart at the center. The Marines will paint the lines." We can only dream...