Germany and France keep silent
A lot of things have been said and written about the fact that the war in Iraq will ruin the system of international relations completely. Although, it seems that the discussion is not over yet. There are so many subjects to talk about. Some people say that the USA will rule the world single-handedly. Some people object that by saying that China will not allow that, others bring up Russia’s influence, or mention something about Europe. European countries have a very strong opposition against America’s actions in Iraq. The Western press keeps writing about the split, which is about to occur on the European continent. According to Western journalists’ opinion, the united Europe will split into France, Germany in one group and England, Italy and Spain in another group. The United States will play the leading role in the second group. As soon as it goes about Europe, it would be reasonable to try to find out, if the European discrepancy is really that serious.
It looks like so at first sight indeed. Until recently, France and Germany have been strongly against the war in Iraq, which resulted in a serious quarrel with Washington. That was also a quarrel with London, Rome, Madrid, Spain. However, the situation became somewhat different after the war was virtually launched.
It is hard to explain that, but neither French nor German officials released any statements after the beginning of the army operation in Iraq. It seems that the two countries decided not to ask for trouble, for they thought that the war would not last long. Did they think that it would be better not to have any other conflicts with the White House? It is not ruled out that both France and Germany decided that they set out their stand completely, so they had nothing else to add.
It goes without saying that anti-war activities are still very strong in the two countries. It is also very strong in the countries of the anti-Iraqi coalition too. However, important decisions are always made in quiet governmental offices, not somewhere outside in huge crowd of protesters. This is common for every country, for the USA, Great Britain, France and Germany. To all appearances, French and German officials decided to have a break and think everything through.
There are not any doubts that the USA will achieve its goal sooner or later (or it will pretend so, at least). That will be the time, when the States will get even with Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder. Of course, France and Germany are very influential in the European Union. However, neither London, nor Rome and Madrid like that influence. It will not be hard for them to isolate the union of France and Germany with the USA’s support. It will not be a hardship at all.
It goes without saying that such a perspective is not good either for Chirac, or for Schroeder. The French president has a long experience of Charle de Gaulle’s opposition, so Paris will most likely exercise its independence for a certain period of time. However, Gerhard Schroeder is not likely to do that. In contrast to Chirac, who enjoys the support of major political parties of France, the German leader can only boast of the leftist support. The right forces of Germany have always had a positive attitude to Washington’s plans to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s regime. For the time being, the majority of German electors support the incumbent chancellor. On the other hand, if the USA manages to finish the war quickly and victoriously, sentiments might change.
It is too early to talk about the split in the European Union. Of course, several European countries will keep on trying to play a more active role in the international politics. It is not known, what is going to happen as a result of that. Everything might change, if the war in Iraq lasts longer than it is expected. Time is not good for the American administration in this respect.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov