The Spectacle Blog

Guns or Butter?

By on 1.30.06 | 5:43PM

That should read, "Nukes or Butter?" If you compare the EUnuchs' reactions to a Saudi boycott of Danish products to their continued dithering on Iran, you should conclude that the nations of shopkeepers of Europe are following in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers. Their fathers appeased Hitler. Their grandfathers, the Kaiser. Now they're appeasing Ahmadinejad.

Unfair comparisons are one fuel of politics. And it’s hard to be fair to Europe/> when it’s in one of its moods. Which is practically all the time.

First, we have the prospect of Saudi Arabia/>/> organizing a boycott of Danish goods because a Danish newspaper published a bunch of cartoons that featured Mohammed, the prophet founder of Islam. Publishing images of Mohammed is, apparently, verboten under Muslim law. So despite apologies and various prostrations, the Saudis are (unofficially, of course) boycotting Danish goods. There are no reports that exports of butter and cookies have noticeably suffered, though the boycott is apparently spreading to other countries (and the cartoons to Norwegian newspapers. Can somebody tell us how many cans of sardines do the Saudis eat every year?)

But the Saudi action was enough to earn it a chastisement from the EU. A senior EU official today threatened to report Saudi Arabia/>/> to the WTO for trade sanctions if the boycott continued. Which is a lot more than the EUnuchs are willing to do with Iran/>/>.

Having again tried, and again failed, to get Iran to budge on its nuclear weapons program, the EU-3 are now doing what they do best: dithering. On one hand, they're determined to talk Russia and China out of blocking referral of Iran to the UN Security Council in Thursday’s IAEA meeting. But, natch, they're undecided on whether anyone should be doing anything at all about Iran.

The worst signal on Iran/>/> today came from India/>/>. They are saying -- possibly in response to Chinese pressure -- that they will not agree to referring Iran/>/> to the Security Council. Why would India/>/> choose this time and issue to put a sharp stick in America/>/>’s eye? Stay tuned.

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