Colin Powell has been making the headlines over the weekend for his seemingly more realistic appraisal of the difficulties facing current US policy in Iraq when compared to the view emmanating from other members of the Bush administration. Again Juan Cole has been offering some informed comment on the topic here.
All of which makes the current consensus view from France and Germany pretty preoccupying in its own way.
“I cannot imagine that there will be any change in our decision not to send troops, whoever becomes president,” Gert Weisskirchen, member of parliament and foreign policy expert for Germany’s ruling Social Democratic Party, said in an interview.
Michel Barnier, the French foreign minister, said last week that France, which has tense relations with interim prime minister Iyad Allawi, had no plans to send troops “either now or later”.
Source: Financial Times
Now it is not clear to me at all what possible ‘solution’ there could be to the Iraq connundrum. What is clear to me is that the future of Iraq is a matter of concern to us all, whatever our views were of the war. A drift of Iraq into anarchy – or worse – would affect all of us. I have been mentioning its potential impact on Turkey. So what I am saying is that rather than simply scoring points with the Bush administration Europe’s political leaders should be treating the problem with the importance it deserves, and actively formulating a policy agenda which is in keeping with the gravity of the situation.