Palestine - Europe vs America?
g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Sun Apr 7 17:40:17 MDT 2002
Even as we watch the dreadful slaughter in Palestine, there are some things
that still need to be discussed. Fault lines are opening in the "War on
terrorism" front. Most obviously conservative Arab regimes are coming
under pressure from their citizenry seemingly principally from the educated
layers. I have written before how this current crisis will in the medium to
long term spell the ruin of the current crop of pro-American leaders. They
simply cannot solve the problems facing Arabs, and as most of them have
secretly agreed, I think, to support the war on Iraq, their failure will be
even more apparent.
The other fault which deserves slight mention only IMHO is that within the
Bush Administration. This would pit Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and Perles
against Powell and Armitage. However I am not sure that this amounts to
more than the usual 'good cop - bad cop' routine. My objection to this
that it exaggerates the differences between the sides and for liberals
makes Powell look like a "moderate". I note however that this "moderate"
is currently delaying his arrival in Palestine so that the Israeli butchers
can finish off the job.
Though I may be wrong here. It may well be that Chomsky and other are
correct and that we are now in a qualitative new phase of American foreign
policy where Wolfowitz's dream of "ending" states is being put into effect.
The other fault line which I wish to comment on briefly is that between
Europe and America. The crisis in the Middle East could push up oil
prices, (is doing so) and that could be very bad it seems for the European
economies. It is worth pointing out that here the interests of Europe and
America diverge sharply. An economic collapse in Europe is hardly likely
to worry the Americans. So I think in what is possibly an overly vulgar
Marxist way that it is this economic problem which is driving the Europeans
nervously and gutlessly to talk about beginning to talk about sanctions
Another embedded fault line within the Europe-America one is that between
UK and Europe. Blair seems to have decided to throw his lot in with the
move to make Britain as it were a proxy state of the USA. I thought
initially he was merely trying to outflank the Pro-American Tory leader
Ian Duncan Smith, but if Blair signs up for the war on Iraq, that will be a
sign that he has crossed some sort of Rubicon and is now a prisoner of his
own pro-American rhetoric. What that will mean for Britain's position in
Europe is unclear, to me at least.
In any case the performance of the European ministers has been pathetic
to behold. It is worth commenting on though the fact that it has been
left to Spain and Portugal to take the running here. Germany, possibly for
historical reasons, has remained largely silent as far as I can see.
Meanwhile the agony of the Palestinians continues while the men of power
maneuver. It is not anexaggeration though to say that if the brave
Palestinians in the West Bank ghettoes can somehow hold on, then we will
see a severe set back for the plans of the Bush regime and their British
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