Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review August 2, 2002 / 24 Menachem-Av, 5762

Michael Ledeen

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Propping Up the Terror Masters: Europe's Solana on tour | Don Javier Solana, Europe's very own foreign minister, is on a foreign tour, and he stopped off in Tehran to show the flag of continental appeasement. The Europeans just don't see why they should cut themselves off from lucrative oil contracts - even if they have to pay outrageous commissions to the ruling ayatollahs and their bagmen - just because the regime oppresses its subjects, trains, funds, and arms the world's most dangerous terrorists, and hails the slaughter of Jews by suicide terrorists. In the Brussels view of things, that's somebody else's problem, certainly not theirs.

The Europeans have gladly discarded their feelings of responsibility for the destruction of the European Jews, so they feel no moral obligation to sacrifice their slightest chance for gain merely because it involves dealing with monsters like Khamenei and Rafsanjani. Moreover, it gives them the chance to tweak our nose, which Solana did at his press conference in Iran, when he smugly observed that Europe and America had different approaches to countries like the Islamic Republic. The Americans go for confrontation while we prefer engagement and dialogue, he lectured.

At the event, he got nothing. Even he was forced to point out to the Iranians that it would be better if they were less aggressive in their support for the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah, and if they eased up a bit on crushing the Iranian people. The result was a torrent of insult from Khamenei's newspaper, and French television declared the meeting a failure.

The Europeans are in grave danger of being hoisted on their own selfish and shortsighted petards in the Middle East; that is likely to follow our defeat of the terror masters in Tehran, Baghdad, and Damascus. European oil companies - most notably the British, French, and Italians - have multibillion-dollar contracts that make Enron and WorldCom accounting look like the model of transparency. Big commissions and kickbacks go to the tyrants? European bank accounts, and the leaders of the newly freed countries will assuredly not forget that British Petroleum, Elf, and Eni are big backers of the evil regimes. If the Europeans were as clever as they think they are, they would be taking out insurance today by giving support to the opposition forces instead of sending their appeasers on a hopeless mission to achieve some sort of détente.

This is not idle speculation. Over the weekend I spent many hours on an Internet telephone chat room, talking with Iranians all over the world, including many inside the country. And one of their most frequent questions was whether the United States would consider the current oil contracts to be legitimate once the regime is overthrown. Their inclination is clearly to declare them void.

Perhaps this was in the back of Solana's mind when he insisted on meeting with a "reformist" parliamentarian who faces trial and prison in the near future. If so, it was a feeble gesture. At a minimum, he should have called for the release of the scores of students, journalists, and intellectuals who have recently been sent into the depths of the country's prisons and torture chambers. Had he wanted to take a real stand for freedom, he would have echoed President Bush's words: The regime is illegitimate and the "reformers" are either frauds or impotent. The future belongs to the Iranian people.

Such a step would have been a real triumph of Realpolitik. It would have driven home the pariah status of the mullahs, encouraged them to get out before the situation becomes even more violent, and built up credit with the successor governments.

But the Europeans are not up to this kind of statecraft. They seemed doomed to lose their standing with the peoples of the Middle East at the same time they unnecessarily prolong those peoples' agony by reinorcing the tyrants' illusion that they still have powerful friends in the civilized world.

Like this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Tocqueville on American Character . Comment by clicking here.


07/16/02: Bush vs. the Mullahs: Getting on the side of the Iranian freedom fighters
07/12/02: The State Department Goes Mute: It's official: State has no message
07/09/02: History being made, but the West appears clueless
06/05/02: Is George Tenet endangering peace in Israel?
06/03/02: Ridiculous, even for a journalist
05/20/02: So how come nobody's been fired yet?
05/14/02: Open doors for thugs
04/20/02: Iran on the Brink … and the U.S. does nothing
04/16/02: It’s the war, stupid … someone remind Colin Powell
04/08/02: Gulled: In the Middle East, Arafat doesn't matter
04/02/02: Faster, Please: The war falters
03/26/02: The Revolution Continues: What's brewing in Iran
03/18/02: Iran simmers still: Where's the press?
03/05/02: We can't lose any more ground in Iran
02/14/02: The Great Iranian Hoax
02/12/02: Unnoticed Bombshell: Key information in a new book
01/31/02: The truth behind the Powell play
01/29/02: My past with "Johnny Jihad's" lawyer
01/21/02: It's Munich, all over again
01/08/02: What's the Holdup?: It's time for the next battles in the war against terrorism
12/11/01: We must be imperious, ruthless, and relentless
12/06/01: Remembering my family friend, Walt Disney
11/28/01: The Barbara Olson Bomb: Understanding the war
11/13/01: How We're Doing: The Angleton Files, IV
11/06/01: A great revolutionary war is coming
10/25/01: How to talk to a terrorist
10/23/01: Creative Reporting: Learning to appreciate press briefings
10/19/01: Not the Emmys: A Beltway award presentation
10/15/01: Rediscovering American character
10/11/01: Somehow, I've missed Arafat's praise of the first stage of our war on terrorism
10/04/01: What do we not know?
09/28/01: Machiavelli On Our War: Some advice for our leaders
09/25/01: No Room for the U.N.: Keeping Annan & co. out of the picture
09/21/01: Creative destruction
09/14/01: Who Killed Barbara Olson?
08/22/01: How Israel will win this war
08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen