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July 06, 2009

Oops...

So much for the idea that establishing a dialogue with our enemies would restore America's moral legitimacy in the eyes of the world:

Before Iran's recent election and subsequent crackdown on protesters, European leaders often displayed a kind, gentle attitude toward the country - especially when compared to the more bellicose United States.

But after suspicions of electoral fraud, repression of postelection protests and accusations thrown at the British Embassy, it's Europe that's spitting out the toughest talk.

Now many are wondering whether the Europeans will follow their words with concrete actions to distance themselves from Iran.

"All the major European powers have taken a much firmer stand than the United States," said Patrick Keller, coordinator of foreign and security policy at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin.

The European Union's foreign-policy directors planned to discuss the removal of the bloc's 27 ambassadors from Iran at a two-day meeting that started Thursday in Stockholm, a significant step that's part of a mounting diplomatic squabble.

At the same time, the Obama administration has been expressing hopes for a new dialogue with Iran and even after the disputed election remains open to the idea of talking with Iran about its nuclear ambitions.

"It does sometimes seem as if a role reversal has taken place between the Europeans and the U.S., with the Europeans preaching Wilsonian principles and the U.S. stressing diplomacy and piecemeal reform in relations with undemocratic states," said Jytte Klausen, professor of politics at Brandeis University in Boston.

"There has been a gradual shift in Europe toward a new consensus involving both the left and the right in Europe that moral issues - free elections and civil liberty - should in some measure inform the conduct of relations with countries known to violate basic standards in those regards," she said.

Mr. Keller said it's more obvious now than ever before that Iran is not a democracy or even a theocracy, but a common dictatorship.

Obvious to everyone but the current occupant of the Oval Office, that is. Maybe he'll have better luck winning over the Taliban:

It seems to me that the best strategy for the enemy to take advantage of this new weakness is to move back into urban areas and surround themselves with civilian shields. Now, I’m no expert, but then neither are the Taliban. It also seems to me that it will cause more civilian deaths because the Taliban can use photos of civilians they themselves killed and blame it on Americans.

Not to worry though. Now that we finally have a "smart" President in the White House, surely he won't stubbornly refuse to listen to the experts.

Posted by Cassandra at July 6, 2009 08:28 AM

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Comments

It also seems to me that it will cause more civilian deaths because the Taliban can use photos of civilians they themselves killed and blame it on Americans.

They *already* do that.

Posted by: BillT at July 6, 2009 12:35 PM

Not to worry though. Now that we finally have a "smart" President in the White House, surely he won't stubbornly refuse to listen to the experts.

Ummm...yeah, right. :-(

Posted by: camojack at July 7, 2009 01:23 AM

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