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Jewish World Review August 14, 2002/ 6 Elul, 5762

Richard Z. Chesnoff

Richard Z. Chesnoff
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Europe is soft in head for Saddam |
Ever get the impression that some of our European allies are rooting for the wrong side? The same Europoliticians who've been urging we lift United Nations sanctions on Iraq are now loudly beating the drums against Washington's plans to finally topple Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

One of our supposedly biggest buddies, Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, recently launched his reelection campaign with a nasty slam at President Bush and a public declaration that his government would provide neither troops nor money for an American-led invasion.

European Union officials in Brussels whine that the U.S. should help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before moving on Baghdad. French President Jacques Chirac has been openly shaking his head in disapproval of Bush's Iraqi strategy for months. With the exception of Britain's Tony Blair, there isn't a single European leader who has voiced approval of ridding the world of its most dangerous man.

Some Europeans believe that because support is all but nil for the idea, the anti-Saddam offensive will probably never take place. Besides, argues the Norwegian paper Bergens Tidende, an attack would open a war on several Mideast fronts, and that "would pose a greater security problem to Europe" than Iraq.

Like the French, Germans, Spaniards and most of the rest of the pack, the Norwegians would settle for the reentry into Iraq of UN arms inspectors. Now there's a chump's solution if there ever was one.

European intellectuals go even further in their attacks on Washington's plans to oust Saddam. They see it as simply another example of arrogant American moral and mercantile hegemony. Some of these same cerebral hacks actually were trying to peddle the idea that we provoked Saddam into invading Kuwait in 1990 so we could send troops to the Persian Gulf to control the oil there.

They've also argued that the CIA is behind the growth of radical Islam as a diabolical American way of keeping the world in turmoil and under Washington's control. After all, argue these wackos, Islamism conforms with the needs of capitalism.

The real danger is that these are not the ideas of marginal eccentrics, nor are they new. As Rand Corp. policy analyst Laurent Murawiec points out, the idea of a diabolical U.S. plot often comes from the very core of European intellectual and political leadership. The late French President François Mitterrand was once reliably quoted as saying in private conversation, "We are at war with America."

Of course, Europe's perverse fear and loathing of America is coupled with obsessive love for our products and our cultural and scientific achievements. It springs in large measure from Europe's sense of diminished importance, not to mention outright jealousy. But it is there, and its primary lesson is that ultimately we can rely only on a few real friends like Blair - but mostly on ourselves.

JWR contributor and veteran journalist Richard Z. Chesnoff is a senior correspondent at US News And World Report, a columnist at the NY Daily News and a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Demoracies. His latest book, recently updated, is Pack of Thieves: How Hitler & Europe Plundered the Jews and Committed the Greatest Theft in History.

Richard Z. Chesnoff Archives

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