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Jewish World Review Feb. 19, 2003 / 17 Adar I, 5763

Dick Morris

Dick Morris
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Old Europe's last hurrah


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | The objection of France and Germany to acting on the obvious necessity of disarming and dismantling Saddam Hussein's regime is not the first breath of a new age of peace but the last hurrah for fading powers seeking to throw around a weight they don't have.

It is quite like the Suez Crisis of 1956, when Britain and France felt they could go it alone and, without even informing the United States until the last minute, launched a pre-emptive attack, allied with Israel, against Egypt. Their goal was to recover the Suez Canal, which the Egyptian dictator Gamal Nasser had seized.

The two powers met initial military success - but soon found themselves isolated on the global stage as President Dwight Eisenhower, outraged, threw his lot in with the Soviet Union in demanding a cease-fire and pullback. The lesson, apparently lost on France, was that neither nation still had the clout to go it alone without U.S. backing.

The two nations experienced decades of impotence after Suez. The same will be the legacy of France's and Germany's last stand against America's Iraq policy.

The United States will invade Iraq in a matter of weeks and will win quickly. The diplomatic maneuvers of French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will be revealed as the bankrupt and powerless posturing of two has-been nations.

The world will see how little they count and how minor the United Nations really. France's veto and Germany's voice will be consigned to the irrelevancies of history.

But that's the minor point. The major point is that there will no longer be an organization within which they can or will be taken seriously.

The United Nations will not, in the future, be the relevant forum within which to make decisions about international action. Just as nobody would think of asking the U.N. General Assembly what it thinks because it is dominated by nations with no power and less legitimacy, so no one will ask the Security Council for its opinion either because it can be impeded by the veto of powerless powers.

All of these prerogatives will be pre-empted, de facto, by the decision-making entities of the United States and (because of her courage in doing what is right) Britain. If Paris or Berlin want a say, it will have to be at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, not in Brussels or in the U.N.

Morally, the French and German position - and that of our domestic peace demonstrators - will be undermined and undone by the reality of what Saddam Hussein is doing behind closed doors. If Saddam is found, posthumously, to have been wrongly accused and we find none of the horror stories about weapons of mass destruction were true, the critics will triumph.

But if our troops find the labs, bio-bomb factories, chemical-weapon stockpiles and nuclear research programs that Secretary of State Colin Powell says are there, the voices of France, Germany and the U.S. left will be stilled for a long, long time to come.

Why are the French and the Germans walking into this trap? For the same reason Britain and France did in Suez: Ego and an inability to perceive how the world had changed. Just as London and Paris in 1956 did not grasp that global politics had become bi-polar, Paris and Berlin today do not now grasp that it is uni-polar.

In both cases, the powers of the old regime reflexively acted on past assumptions before their irrelevancy was brutally brought home to them.

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JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, "Power Plays: Top 20 Winning and Losing Strategies of History's Great Political Leaders" Comment by clicking here.

Up

02/14/03: Corzine throws down gauntlet on Wall St. fraud
02/12/03: An exile deal for Saddam
02/07/03: The Dems give up the House
02/05/03: France: Saddam's ally
02/03/03: War critics will suffer
02/30/03: Even by Clinton standards, it's sheer chutzpah
01/24/03: Rebirth of the balanced budget Republican
01/22/03: Next to Bubba, Dubya's got it good
01/16/03: End racism in affirmative action
01/13/03: The new swing voter
01/10/03: Political e-mailing comes of age
01/07/03: In Dem race: Home field no advantage
12/31/02: Hey, Hillary: Want to appear like a stateswomyn? Stay silent
12/19/02: Kerry in the lead
12/19/02: Lieberman the frontrunner
12/17/02: In defense of Lott
12/02/02: An issue for Bush: Drugs
11/27/02: Women gone wobbly?
11/25/02: The U.N. over a barrel
11/15/02: Gore's suicide
11/15/02 One-party control is an illusion
11/13/02 The House of Extremes
11/08/02 I have egg on my face
11/01/02 Is Bush losing control over events?
10/25/02What is causing Bush's free fall?
10/25/02: Anybody sense a trend?
10/23/02: A deadline for Iraq
10/18/02: Only sure bet of 2002 elections is voter angst
10/16/02: Endangered incumbents
10/11/02: Why multilateralism doesn't work
10/09/02: Hey, Dems: Believe NYTimes polling at your own risk
10/03/02: Dem suicide: Let's count the ways
09/30/02: The Dems just can't stop themselves
09/26/02: The perils of polling
09/19/02: W. boxed in the U.N.
09/19/02: Welfare reform: Keep on keeping on
09/12/02: Are Dems insane on Iraq?
09/09/02: Twin shadows of Election '02
09/05/02: GOP should triangulate
08/28/02: Trust the military
08/22/02: It's not the economy, stupid
08/09/02: As America unites, Gore goes divisive
08/01/02: Bush must focus on big picture
07/23/02: Election 2002: Advantage Dems
07/19/02: Rudy for SEC tough cop
07/17/02: The investor strike
07/15/02: Door open for drug testing students --- go for it, GOP!
07/12/02: Dubya looking out for No. 1?
07/03/02: The DNA war for Bush's soul
06/21/02: Why are conservatives winning?
06/19/02: Learning to love the feds
06/14/02: Hey, journalists and Dems: Dubya is doing just fine
06/12/02: It's terrorism, stupid!
06/10/02: Sanctions are a potent weapon
06/04/02: Al Qaeda's more dangerous new front
05/31/02: Why '04 looks tough for liberal Dems
05/24/02: Democratic self-destruction
05/22/02: The Clinton failures
05/15/02: Pataki positioned to win
05/08/02: A wakeup-call for American Jewry
05/03/02: Give Bush back his focus
05/01/02: Immigration fault li(n)es
04/25/02: It's the war, stupid
04/17/02: Bush goes small bore
04/12/02: Bush must be a gentle partisan
04/10/02: In defense of polling
04/08/02: Focus on Iraq, not the Palestinians
04/01/02: Only Internet will bring real campaign finance reform
03/27/02: Where W's drawn a line in the sand
03/22/02: Enron scandal will not trigger a wave of economic populism
03/20/02: Term-limited --- by war
03/15/02: Europe doesn't have a clue
03/11/02: Bush popularity = GOP win?
03/01/02: Will America be forced to chase its tail in its war on terrorism?
02/27/02: The Arafat/Saddam equilibrium must be destroyed
02/21/02: Campaign finance reform won't hurt GOPers
02/13/02: Dodd scurries for cover
02/11/02: U.S. 'unilateralism'? The Europeans don't have a case
02/06/02: WAR: What women want
02/01/02: They all talk in the end
01/30/01: The odd couple: Chris Dodd and Arthur Andersen
01/22/01: His father's son? Bush better get an 'Act II' fast!
01/18/01: Dubya & the 'vision thing'
01/14/01: The Rumsfeld Doctrine 01/03/01: A President Gore would have been a disaster
01/03/02: Clinton's priority: Political correctness over fighting terror
12/27/01: Terror network grew out of Clinton's inaction, despite warnings
12/24/01: Call 'em back, George
12/18/01: What Bush did right
12/13/01: Libs worry too much
12/11/01: "Open Sesame": Feinstein's proposed bill allows 100,000 non-immigrant students from anti-American countries to our shores
12/07/01: The non-partisan president
12/05/01: Both parties are phony on stimulus debate
11/29/01: When terrorists can enter legally, it's time to change the laws
11/21/01: Go for the jugular!
11/16/01: You are all incumbents
11/14/01: Clinton's failure to mobilize America to confront foreign terror after the 1993 attack led directly to 9-11 disaster
11/12/01: To the generals: Don't worry about losing support
11/08/01: The death of the white liberal
11/07/01: Our leaders are being transformed in a way unprecedented in post-World War II history

© 2002, Dick Morris