Tuesday, February 11, 2003[posted by jaed at 3:44 PM]
Just how naughty has the Axis of Weasel been?
Have Germany and France been violating the UN sanctions against Iraq? USS Clueless speculated last month and again the other day that such violations, and fear of their discovery, might explain the tenacity of these governments' willingness to maneuver against us, even at the potential cost of making the Security Council a laughingstock, making NATO a dead letter, and possible even throwing a monkey wrench into the EU.
This doesn't make much sense, and a lot of people have been agreeing with den Beste: public opinion and economic interests might well keep them out, but the degree and kind of the backstabbing they've engaged in isn't well explained by these factors. "They're hiding something" is speculation but it's gained some substance from the diplomatic behavior of these countries.
If we were to discover records and witnesses inside Iraq that indicate such violations, den Beste says,
Some will smile quietly about how they'd been shafting the Americans for years. But no one would trust them, and as a practical matter their international influence would be shattered. This would also have the effect of completing the destruction of the UN if it was shown that a veto power had been actively violating trade sanctions it had voted for.
However, there's a scenario that's much worse than that. Suppose that the governments of France and/or Germany have in fact been naughty. Perhaps they've only been a little naughty - maybe providing dual-use technology that they knew would be used for CBN weapons. Or maybe they've been naughtier - providing, say, long-range missile parts, or technical knowledge concerning chemical weapons. It's also possible, though unlikely, that someone has been very naughty indeed.
Now suppose that the discovery den Beste postulates does take place - but not in a vacuum.
Suppose the Iraqi army makes an attack with exotic weapons - shoots VX at US soldiers, perhaps, or fires a plague at Jerusalem, or even uses such weapons on Iraqi civilians.
Suppose they succeed. America is grieving and outraged, any other targets are panicked and desperate, the world - no matter how it hates America or how little it cares if our people die - is freaking out because, my God, chemical weapons! Smallpox! Sarin! The world is coming to an end!
Suppose a week or two later, while all this is still fresh, hard evidence surfaces that we have Germany and/or France to thank for this atrocity.
Even if they've been only moderately naughty, I don't think anyone will be "smiling quietly" if that happens. I suspect we'd cut off diplomatic relations with the culprit at the very least. We might not be alone in that. And if they've been very, very naughty, we might well be at war. (Not diplomatic we-no-longer-consider-you-an-ally war, not we'll-pass-"regret-and-deplore"-resolutions war, not trade war. Real war.)
There are three possibilities, if anything like this has gone on in the last twelve years. It might never come out. It might be discovered in records - which would be extremely embarrassing. Or it might be discovered the hard way, which would be disastrous. But neither France nor Germany is in control. Saddam Hussein is. And with the stakes this high, that would be enough to make anyone desperate.
Anyway. That's my Wild Speculation du Jour. I really hope it is. I started writing this feeling fairly detached, but now I've scared myself.