By Susenjit Guha
A strong EU super-power will isolate US from West Asia and admission of Russia will render US leverage redundant. No US president can be comfortable with an independent of US European Union having the same GDP but a relatively humane, social capitalism, not a sprung up ready- to- bolt sort of free market
It was anybody’s guess that George W Bush would try to stave off ‘union’ in the EU during his last NATO summit as president of the US. And with no takers of Bushism in the US anymore, he looked for succor in a Europe, divided, with several weaker nations ever ready to jump on his bandwagon.
Being nascent democracies, the smaller nations were only too eager to fill up NATO forces with their troops and dig in for the long haul in Iraq. Invitation to Croatia and Albania to join the EU military alliance was aimed at taking the heat off US forces in Iraq.
Trying to welcome on board Ukraine and Georgia for the same reason was rebuffed by other alliance partners, at least for now.
More or less convinced that his White House exit in less than a year would be the most looked forward to ever not only by several Americans but by freedom loving peoples the world over, he tried to play the similar fear mongering card of WMD’s lobbed by rogue states like Iran in the future.
Missile defense systems had gripped his imagination even before 9/11. Bush carried an updated Reagan’s Star Wars obsession with him when he began his first term as president. On the way out, he wanted radar systems in the Czech Republic and rockets in Poland.
Naturally, Putin was against such a move of using members of the former communist bloc and even questioned NATO’s relevance in a post Cold War Europe. And the Black Sea resort of Sochi where he hosted Bush - both of them will fade into history soon, but Putin, due to step down in May this year, had already handpicked his successor Dmitri Medvedev, brought the differences of former arch rivals out in the open.
Reluctantly, Bush had to put missile defenses on hold. It was left to the future US president and Medvedev, whose soul could not be searched by Bush who in his characteristic fashion thought him to be a ‘straightforward fella’ nevertheless to work out a solution.
If Iran lobs WMD’s after they put together their nuclear bombs (figment of Bushisms and like-minded imagination of his Neocon ilk) on unsuspecting and ill-quipped European nations, the missile defense system will thwart their designs.
So instead of reflecting why the groundswell of world support after 9/11 slithered into morbid anti-Americanism and his widespread revilement, Bush, revved up again.
Hadn’t Europe looked up to the US all along to take care of their security? So what if the Cold War was over? Iran is being hyped up as Iraq was after 9/11. Ahmadinejad’s Iraq visit was a snub to the US terror hype which could have been transformed into incremental diplomatic breakthroughs. But spending billions of dollars on missile defense is an easier, less challenging option, than hedging money on time consuming, but lasting diplomatic solutions through dialogue.
And where the systems could be put up? In the former communist countries who are now eating out of US’ hands. When more and more such nations along with those severed from the former USSR swell the ranks, stumbling blocks like Germany and France will be marginalized.
Sarkozy may have promised more troops for Afghanistan against French public opinion but that did not stop him from trying to influence Great Britain during his recent trip by harking back on her pioneering democratic institutions. Germany took the lead under Gerhardt Schroeder who refused to tow the US in Iraq. He had taken an initiative with Tony Blair for a greater engagement with Russia even leaving the option open for admission into the EU in future. Russia supplies 40% of Germany’s energy requirements.
Great Britain can always be counted upon to ally with US’ security concerns in the capacity of a double agent despite being part of EU.
Even Greece could not be arm twisted by US into accepting Macedonia into the alliance. Greeks refused to trade off its northern province by that name famous for Alexander’s birthplace.
European landmass is hemmed on one side by US’ energy hub. Any interventionist foreign policy by US can directly affect Europe. A strong EU super-power will isolate US from West Asia and admission of Russia will render US leverage redundant. No US president can be comfortable with an independent of US European Union having the same GDP but a relatively humane, social capitalism, not a sprung up ready- to- bolt sort of free market.
New, weaker nations were the best bets for the US. Bush again could not manage to have the last laugh.