Does a craven, doddering, almost senescent Old Europe have the will and the courage to defend Western Civilization?
That, rather than queries about American diplomatic plans, is the question that should be at the tip of every tongue as the armed conflicts in the Middle East continue.
Of course, just asking the question is tantamount to explaining the problem, and perhaps tantamount to answering it, too. Answering in the negative, of course.
But it ought not to be answered in the negative. Old Europe should find its soul again, not to mention its collective conscience. Old Europe -- or, I ought to say, Western Europe, because the Eastern Europe of Poland and Romania and the Czech Republic, etcetera, are oases of appreciation for freedom -- ought to find a spine. Because right now, Old Continental Western Europe is like a gaggle of old maids, fussing and clucking and mostly getting in the way.
On Tuesday, faced with the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict that was begun by the murderous terrorists of Hezbollah, the European Union played the same "moral equivalence" game that it has been playing, despicably, for years. The E.U. called for "an immediate cessation of hostilities to be followed by a sustainable cease-fire," while supporting a diplomatic initiative by the feckless French to delay sending a large multinational force to the region (quoting the Washington Post's summation) "until there is greater certainty that a sustainable peace accord can be enforced." The Post reports that France, of course, wants "a political settlement of the crisis." And the Gauls boycotted a planned United Nations meeting on Thursday in order to get their way.
At least France's soccer players, unlike its diplomats, know how to head-butt. Even the goofy violence of Monsieur Zidane, it seems, is more than the Chirac government can countenance against terrorists.
Then again, among continental European nations, only the Netherlands, Italy and Poland have had the guts to formally call Hezbollah a terrorist organization, even though France (multiple times), Spain, Greece, Denmark, Italy, and Great Britain are among the European countries that have suffered Hezbollah attacks within their own borders. If the French-led forces of flights-from-reality don't acknowledge a terrorist as a terrorist, they can continue to maintain their guise of moral superiority as supposed "peacemakers" rather than the immoral appeasers that they actually are.
Having already left to the United States, Great Britain, and Poland the dirty work of removing terrorist Saddam Hussein from power (after spending years propping him up in return for Oil-for-Food corruption and other noxious considerations), France especially now has an obligation to help make right the mess in the Middle East that honest historians will acknowledge is as much France's fault as anybody's.
Yet there was a time when Western Europe all but ruled the world. If France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Low Countries and the Scandinavian nations pooled their resources against terrorists such as Hezbollah, surely their combined weight could all but wipe that menace from the Earth.
Imagine if, instead of caterwauling about Israel's supposedly "disproportionate" response to Hezbollah's terrorism, the nations of Western Europe actually recognized Israel as the badly aggrieved party it has been for six decades, and joined the brave Israelis as their allies.
The European Union could continue to leave Iraq to the Americans and British. But the E.U., if it had fortitude to match its grandiose pretensions, ought to enter the war on the side of Israel. It should assist Israel in rooting out Hezbollah from Lebanon. It should immediately sanction both Syria and Iran for their support of Hezbollah. It ought to threaten the Syrian dictatorship with the bombing of its palaces and all its command-and-control structures if Syria does not, quite palpably, not only stop supporting Hezbollah but actually work to defang the beast.
And, once all that is accomplished, the European Union should give Iran one more chance to cease its development of nuclear technology by a clear and unalterable deadline. If that deadline isn't met, air strikes on Iranian facilities would be in order.
The inter-linked network of Islamic terrorist organizations has, for years, survived by taking advantage of the divisions in the Western world and the cowardice of much of it. But against a united and determined Western front, the terrorists would not stand a chance.
The terrorists are fighting a war against the West. The only sure way for the West to lose a war is to refuse to fight it while the terrorist enemies keep waging it no matter how many concessions are made to them. But while the Israelis fight for survival and the Americans and the Brits fight for freedom and justice, Old Western Europe just tut-tuts its way into irrelevance and, in the long run, ruination.
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