(E) Dr. Ivo Sanader's article in The Wall Street Journal
Dr. Sanader in Wall StreetJounal
Wall Street Journal Europe
FRIDAY/SATURDAY/SUNDAY, MARCH 14 - 16, 2003
East of the Oder/ By lvo Sanader
The Europeans Who Recognize Evil in Iraq
The question of whether to use force against Saddam Hussein has divided Europe like no other issue in recent history. Tensions are running so high between the United States and some of its closest European allies that the trans-Atlantic partnership itself may be jeopardized.
The European publics, elites and media are following Iraq-related news with a level of intensity bordering on obsession. Not surprisingly, there are extensive public discussions under way in Croatia regarding this issue. Indeed, countries like Croatia that aspire to the EU and NATO membership, and yet vividly recall the unique historic American contribution to the cause of European freedom, debate Iraq-related issues with particular vigor.
Given its own experience, Croatia also appreciates, better than most European countries, that evil is not a metaphysical abstraction but that its writ runs through the affairs of men—and that use of force, while invariably a horrible enterprise, is sometimes the only answer to the challenge posed by evil regimes.
Ironically, while not all European countries appear to appreciate equally the gravity of the threat posed by the Saddam Hussein's regime, it is also the case that the differences-both intra-European and trans-Atlantic-are less about ends than means. Everyone wants Iraq to comply with the United Nation Security Council resolutions requiring its disarmament. American, British and European leaders who support the U.S. position argue that immediate action must be taken against Iraq if it fails to comply. Some European governments, as well as much of European public opinion, believe that more time should be allowed for the U.N. inspections to work. The divisions are about strategy rather than values-but they are real nonetheless.
In public discourse, the policy favored by the opponents of immediate military action is often called "appeasement." Strictly speaking, this is incorrect. This concept of appeasement refers to the approach for dealing with Hitler that was prevalent in Europe during the 1930s. At the time, appeasement was driven by a desperate fear of a second world war (by men who had lived through the first). These sentiments prompted many European leaders to adopt an accommodating stance toward Hitler. Of course, the appeasers misjudged the circumstances, the moral imperatives and Hitler. The result was a disaster for everyone.