Thursday, February 22, 2007

Diplomacy's Motives

Writing in The Weekly Standard, Daniel Johnson examines the European approach to Iran:

The leaders of Europe can no longer pretend that they don't know what Iran is up to. A leaked internal document prepared for the European Union's foreign ministers warns that it is probably too late to prevent the Iranian government from acquiring nuclear weapons. "At some stage we must expect that Iran will acquire the capacity to enrich uranium on the scale required for a weapons programme." The document also admits that efforts to impede the Iranian nuclear program have failed. "In practice . . . the Iranians have pursued their programme at their own pace, the limiting factor being technical difficulties rather than resolutions by the U.N. or the [International Atomic Energy Agency]." Nor do the limited sanctions announced by the U.N. Security Council hold out any hope: "The problems with Iran will not be resolved through economic sanctions alone."

So now they know. Years of diplomacy have made virtually no difference. Carrots and sticks have been tried and failed. The regime in Tehran is determined to become a nuclear power--the first nuclear power with a yearning for martyrdom. Europe's strategy has hitherto been merely to play for time--but time is on Tehran's side.


Now that the threat of a second Holocaust is staring Europe in the face, however, its leaders are in denial. Worse: They seem insouciant. Why is the E.U., which makes so much of its humanitarian credentials, which sees itself as a creature of the Enlightenment, so seemingly indifferent? The answer, I fear, lies in the process that has deprived Israel of legitimacy and branded Zionism as a relic of European imperialism. That process has been grinding away for decades, but only now is it becoming plain that Europe's vast superstructure of collective atonement for the Holocaust has been hollowed out from within. The calumny that Israel--the most liberal and egalitarian country in the Middle East--is an "apartheid state" has hardened into a conviction. The mud has stuck.

Michael Ledeen has another take.

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