A few weeks ago when President Bush was in Europe, I observed that his charm offensive was all well-and-good, but that our alliance with the Europeans was basically dead and that we were destined to go our own way. That assessment may have been too optimistic. Frank Gaffney in the Washington Times notes that Britain, France, and Germany appear to have inveigled the administration into joining their program of concessions to Iran. The purpose of the concessions is to cause Iran to abandon the nuclear ambitions that cause us to make concessions. The predictable result, unless we stop playing along, is that Iran will exact more concessions in exchange for promises, compliance with which may be impossible to verify.
In addition, Joel Himelfarb of the Times points to the New York Times’ report that the Bush administration appears to be on the verge of acquiescing to a role for Hezbollah in the future of Lebanon, in part (again) as an accommodation to the Europeans. This report may not be so; Secretary of State Rice continues to take a hard line against Hezbollah in her public pronouncements. Himelfarb makes a strong case that no other line is consistent with President Bush’s approach to the war against Islamofascist terrorism.
UPDATE: Several readers have assured me that the administration is playing the Europeans when it comes to Iran. In other words, it is “giving peace a chance” so that if/when harsher measures become necessary, it can point out that it tried to do things the European way. It’s certainly possible that this is what’s going on, and I tried to acknowledge that possibility when I wrote “unless we stop playing along.” However, I think I would deny the utility of this ploy, if that’s what it is. We didn’t get any points for going along with the Europeans for a while in Iraq, and I don’t see us winning any this time either.
I should add that going along with the Europeans on inspections, as we did in Iraq, is less offensive than going along with them in trying to bribe Iran.
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