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Europe’s inability to counter US-Israeli war policy
When the Bush government unleashed its war against Iraq three years ago, a number of European governments warned of the danger that such an enterprise could lead to a military and political disaster. In particular, leading circles in Berlin and Paris warned publicly of an uncontrollable wildfire that would spread across the Middle East.
Today, after these fears have been confirmed in the most terrible form, the former critics of such a policy in Europe have now decided to line up behind the war offensive currently being waged by the US and Israel. This is the significance of the joint statement that was issued by the G8 summit in St. Petersburg. The German government, in particular, led by Angela Merkel, played an important role. While the French president raised the demand for a ceasefire and questioned the appropriateness of the Israeli bombing raids, the German chancellor lined up unconditionally behind the American proposal made at the summit for complete and uncritical support for Jerusalem.
Two days prior to the summit, as the Israeli army began its brutal military offensive against Lebanon and in front of the eyes of the world bombed the country’s most important airport, Angela Merkel gushingly welcomed the American president when he touched down in Germany.
What lies behind this turnaround? It is insufficient to point out that it was clear three years ago that Merkel and other leading members of the union alliance of the Christian Democratic Union, (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) backed the Bush administration. Such momentous changes in political line are not decided upon by individuals, but have deep objective roots.
The fundamental problem confronting European political circles is that the Iraq war, involving terror for broad layers of the population on a daily basis—terror that is now being extended to the territory of Lebanon and Palestine, and that may soon extend to Syria and Iran—represents a historical turning point. Three years ago, the Bush administration brushed aside the United Nations and all existing international legal restraints and began its illegal war. In so doing, it made clear that it no longer felt restrained by contracts, agreements and international law, but with its highly developed military strength based itself instead on the principle of “might is right.”