Monday, September 17, 2007

European Division on Iran

It looks like Sarkozy and Kouchner have dramatically re-oriented French foreign policy on Iran. For the first time, the U.S. is getting rhetorical support from Europe in its attempts to ratchet up the pressure on the Iranian regime. The Germans, on the other hand, have been far more reluctant to endorse calls for more aggressive economic sanctions lately - in part, because as one of Iran's biggest trading partners, they have the most to lose.

In light of all this, I continue to be amazed by what passes for analysis at the Süddeutsche Zeitung. While the commentator acknowledges that German "skepticism" is based on economic interests, there is no attempt to explain Kouchner's logic or French interests in the matter. Instead, we get a vague mixture of a morality that sees all threats of military force as taboo and the condescension at which the German center-left excels: "Klug war es nicht" ([Kouchner's statement] was not very clever).

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