iran - usa - nato

  1. dub
    30,557 Posts.
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    A US unilateral military move concerning Iran will break NATO in pieces


    This is the topic for ‘real guys’ for more than 4 years now. I remember coming back from some meetings in Washington DC, 4 years ago, and telling my European friends: ‘some people over there are really serious about attacking Iraq, but what they really want is to go after Iran’. At that time in Europe almost nobody was believing that the US will indeed invade Iraq. Now most Europeans mixed feelings about the Iran scenario: on the one hand, they think that it would be such a mistake regarding the current disaster with Iraq (I remind my US readers that within Europe this is the overall assessment of the US invasion of Iraq as for today); but on the other hand, they feel that the current US administration could be driven into such a messy action because it is driven by ideological motives and therefore denies reality a right to affect their decisions.

    At least indeed, for the Europeans, one thing is certain: any US unilateral military action against Iran will trigger a major world crisis compare to which the Iraq crisis would be looking like a drill. Iran is a powerful country with far more consistency and resilience than Iraq. It occupies a strategic position which can allow it to just cut the ‘oil corridor’ from the Gulf; and its close connections with other world powers such as China for instance would trigger an unpredictable chain reaction. Iran is not the world’s paria that Saddam’s Iraq was.

    Another element of certainty regarding a possible US unilateral military action in Iran is that the Europeans are and will stay united on this issue. They already anticipated the attempt by Washington to corner them into a one-way out situation: the ‘you are with me or you against me’ vision of the world of G. W. Bush. So they started out this European initiative (led by France, Germany and UK) in order to bring Iran into an acceptable path for the international community. And as far as it is now, though imperfect the process may be, it is satisfactory for the Europeans. And when they do have hesitations because of its imperfections, they just have to open their TV set and look at what kind of ‘imperfections’ the US method is delivering in Iraq, to be convinced that their attempt goes into the right direction.

    Washington should not expect to divide the Europeans on that issue. Leaders commitment and populations’ concern are too strong and converging here, throughout the whole of Europe, to expect any significant change in coming months or years. Therefore if Washington wants to move unilaterally anyhow (or leave Sharon do so, which in Europeans eyes will be the same), it would have to do it really alone (or only with Israel). The current US administration may believe that it can afford to do so, that Europeans anyhow do not matter. This is a choice which indeed has to be its own.

    But they must have recognition of one very crucial fact: NATO will break down at the occasion of such an Iran crisis. The already very tiny margin by which the Alliance is preserving its legitimacy in Europe will vanish immediately should such a crisis be triggered by the US. In a matter of 2/3 years at most, European defense would become the only rationale for defense and security issues of the Europeans; and NATO would become something like a ‘Council of Europe’ of Transatlantic security. When one looks at NATO’s concrete outcomes regarding Iraq, it seems that it has already started to enter such a direction. An attack on Iran would just push it more down this road.

    It maybe very possible that in today’s Washington nobody really cares about such a side-effect. But I always think that one should weight all costs before entering any adventurous journey.

    Franck Biancheri

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