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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] [Fwd: A War Based on Rumors]

On Thu, 12 Sep 2002, Gary Richmond wrote:    (01)

> Excerpts from Eli Pariser's post to MoveOn.Org  9/12/02
> Where's the beef?  Where's the evidence of clear and present danger?
> What happened to Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda?
> If our allies don't support this, are we going ahead or not?
> Who's going to pick up the pieces in Iraq?
> Why now, right before the election?
> How many lives will be lost?  How much money will be spent?
> What are the alternatives?    (02)

There was an interesting article today in De Volkskrant, a national Dutch
newspaper, by Paul Rosemoeller and Joost Lagendijk, members of Dutch and
European Parliament, respectively. It contained an intelligent proposal
for a reform of the role the EU is to play on the world stage. Some
excerpts [my translation]:    (03)

--- "Also after ousting Bin Laden and mullah Omar, the Bush administration
expressed little compassion with the Afghan people. 'We don't clean the
windows' is the contemptuous reply to critics who stress that a long-term
international involvement is necessary to prevent the country from sliding
back into civil war and becoming once again a sanctuary for terrorists.    (04)

[...] After 9/11 the difference between American and European concept of
security has developed into a painful contrast. The obsession with its own
vulnerability feeds in Washington a policy of unilateralism, intimidation
and sabre-rattling. [...] Europe, on the other hand, [...] wants not the
right of the strongest to be decisive in the resolution of international
conflicts, but rules, deliberation, and law. Strengthening international
law and spreading democratic practices, make, from a European perspective,
an essential contribution to its own security.  Europeans are prepared to
pay a price: transferring national sovereignty.  For American
neo-conservatives, however, the idea of international organizations
overruling national democratic institutions, is unacceptable.    (05)

[...] We think that, more than ever, it is time for Europe to become a
self-assured superpower. Not a military, but a civil one. The activities
which have united the EU-countries into the largest economic block in the
world - negotiating, trading, helping the weak - should also be their
external strength: diplomacy, economic trade or pressure.    (06)

[...] Also as a civil superpower the EU needs effective military
instruments. [...] Europe needs the military power of the US if conflicts
get out of hand. The US, however, need Europe to prevent conflicts from
getting out of hand. This leads to a sensible transatlantic division of
---    (07)

There are some interesting thoughts here: two subsystems, a military and a
civil one, co-dependent, working in unison to prevent, dampen, and resolve
international conflicts. Of course, this view is exaggerated, each block
needs to pay attention to both types of aspects. The very fact that Europe
was reluctant to use military force in ending the conflict in Yugoslavia
has led to much unnecessary bloodshed. On the other hand, the outright
dismissal of serious diplomatic options by the US may lead to another
senseless war in Iraq, which could have been prevented.    (08)

It may be true that a balanced transatlantic system consisting of a
specialized American military and a European diplomatic subsystem, may
make the world as a whole much safer. Intelligent and respectful
discussion and negotiation, rather than expressions of brute force and
arrogance, is essential however, for such a system to evolve.    (09)

Aldo    (010)

  ---///     e-mail: ademoor@uvt.nl
IN|F/OLAB    phone +31-13-4662914/3020, fax +31-13-4663069
  |///       home page: http://infolab.uvt.nl/people/ademoor    (011)

Dr. Aldo de Moor
Infolab, Dept. of Information Systems and Management - Tilburg University
PO Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands
==========================================================================    (012)