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Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Diplomatic candor.

Olivier Roy explains why Europe wouldn't join Washington's war game — and why it won't take over the reconstruction, either:

The problem is that no American official ever bothered to express the real motivation to the usual allies. One reason for this partial disclosure may have been that the consensus in Washington was built only on the lesser aspect — removing Saddam Hussein. But the broader, regional plan could at least have been privately conveyed by President Bush to his European counterparts. It was not. Mr. Bush does not like to travel and meet his peers, in contrast to his father and Ronald Reagan. No private contacts were maintained where ideas could be put forward without being couched in official statements.
The State Department consistently referred only to the restricted agenda (terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and tyranny) and systematically dismissed any idea of a broader agenda. Any European diplomat or expert who addressed American officials about the broader goals being discussed in the many think tanks close to the Pentagon — democratization, reshaping the Middle East, getting to Iran and Syria after Baghdad — were told that such debates did not reflect official views.
Would Europe have accepted the real agenda? Certainly not. But at least the debate would have been based on the relevant issue: does it make sense to reshape the Middle East through military pressure?

Library found! And the Boston Globe reports today that thousands of books and manuscripts from Baghdad's library were hidden away in a mosque, where they are safely guarded by militiamen. Update: Sorry this didn't have a link earlier: Boston.com's server was AWOL all day.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 13 May 2003 at 8:47 AM

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