2003 June 22 Sunday
EU Claims Ready To Get Tough On WMD Developers

Meeting in Porto Carras Greece European Union leaders agreed that the EU has to be prepared to use military force to prevent clandestine development of WMD.

June 20: European Union leaders on Friday gave green light to the first draft constitution preparing for the bloc's 2004 eastward expansion as well as a new security doctrine authorizing the use of force "as a last resort" against nations building clandestine weapons of mass destruction.

The EU has vowed to give up on the idea of a static system of defenses.

The text agreed by EU leaders at dinner last night in the beach resort of Porto Carras said the EU could no longer rely on static "Cold War" defence against terrorists determined to use "unlimited violence and cause massive casualties".

Was that a French idea? Just curious.

Does this mean the EU is really going to change? Well, tough guys that they are, they are threatening to take part in any UN-sanctioned use of force.

Indeed, leaders backed the use of force as a last resort as a means of dealing with such threats - provided it was sanctioned by the UN.

"The US never believed we took the threats of WMD seriously," said another EU diplomat. "These documents show how the Europeans are responding to the growing proliferation of WMD, including biological and chemical."

Gee whiz, I still do not think they take the problem seriously. They are willing to take military action if France, China and Russia will agree on the UN Security Council to give them the okay. That sounds like a recipe for inaction. Kim Jong-il can relax over his worries about the European Union. As Officer Barbrady says on South Park "Move along folks. Nothing to see here."

The EU's idea of playing hardball with Iran is to threaten to hold off completion of negotiations of an EU-Iran trade deal if Iran does not make concessions over inspections of its nuclear weapons development facilities.

As its largest trading partner, the European Union has significant commercial leverage on Iran and is in the process of negotiating a trade deal with Tehran.

The ministers pointedly said progress toward resolving the nuclear issue was "interdependent" with progress in the trade talks.

What, the Mullahs can not get a new trade deal if they do not stop developing nuclear weapons? That is just so incredibly mildly inconvenient.

To get a sense of just how the Europeans see this bold new decisive muscular tough hardnosed doctrine it is worth hearing what the Germans and French think of it.

Gerhard Schröder, the German chancellor, embraced the doctrine because of Berlin's strong support for multilateral institutions; President Jacques Chirac of France did so because it spelt out how countries, including the US, could not act alone and expect to be effective.

The US can not expect to act alone (alone defined here as "without the consent of all the major powers in the European Union") and be effective. This doctrine is going to support multilateral institutions. It is muscular.

Barry Posen, a senior analyst with the U.S. Marshall Fund in Germany, says there is a big gap in perceptions between the Europeans and Americans over Iran.

He said, however, that the Europeans do not seem yet to have reached the conclusion that the Americans appear to have reached -- namely, that Iran has a weapons program and is thus in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Posen said the Europeans need to think through what they will do if the Iranians do not accept the tougher inspection regime. He said it's clear that for Washington, the end point is much more sharply focused -- that is, it reserves the option of taking military action if Iran continues to develop its alleged nuclear-weapons capability.

German deputy foreign secretary Klaus Scharioth seems to understand that Iran does not need nuclear power given all its cheap oil and natural gas deposits.

Mr. Scharioth said Germany also questions why Iran needs nuclear power when it is rich in oil and natural gas and why the country has medium-range missiles that could reach Europe.

Come on Klaus, you just have to put two and two together. There is one hugely obvious purpose for Iran's nuclear efforts. It is staring you in the face guy. I know you can make the leap and figure it out. I'm cheering for you. Go ahead, draw the obvious conclusion. Boldly go where most European diplomats and politicians dare not go.

Come September the rubber will meet the road on all this multilateral institution security blather when we get to see what the "international community" will do about Iran's continued development of nuclear weapons.

The US and the European Union want the IAEA to speed its investigations and present the findings by September. The US hopes this next report will definitely prove that Iran is in breach of the NPT and that the IAEA will then refer Iran to the UN Security Council for sanctions.

Will the UNSC vote for sanctions against Iran? Will Germany and France boldly step forward and ask for UNSC approval for a European Union military attack on Iran to put an end to Iranian nuclear ambitions? Stay tuned for the next episode of As the European Multilateral Institution Anti-Neoimperialistic World Turns.

Update: The latest EU security proposal seems to have as its main purpose to prevent EU member states from pursuing independent foreign policy on security matters. It appears to be designed to discourage EU member states from individually making common cause with the United States in various actions the US pursues around the world.

EU foreign ministers asked Solana to prepare the report in a bid to avoid a repetition of their damaging rift over the U.S.-led war in Iraq, which split the bloc in half, with founder members France, Germany and Belgium opposing military action.

By creating a framework for member states to define common interests and agree how to apply EU policy ranging from trade and aid to sanctions and armed force to strategic threats, the aim is to anticipate and defuse future crises.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 June 22 05:54 PM  Europe and America

Bob said at June 23, 2003 8:07 AM:

I was going to tease you and say you missed the point slightly...

Yes, the EU is threatening to participate in a UN sanctioned use of force -- but ONLY as a last resort!

... But I think your update clarifies the truth of the situation. The euroweenies want something they can use to make their sensible members toe the line of common stupidity.

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