Streetwise Professor

April 4, 2007

European AutoDeguello

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 10:34 am

The word “Deguello” means “throat slashing” in Spanish. It is the name of a battle tune dating from the Reconquista in Spain. Playing of the song signified no quarter: Santa Anna’s army played the Deguello before the final assault on the Alamo.

Nowadays, Europe seems bent on slitting its own throat. One can almost hear the strains of the Deguello playing as the soundtrack to Europe’s most recent We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us moments.

Example One. European energy policy, especially vis-a-vis Russia. Echoing an earlier SWP theme, Keith Smith provides depressing detail on the short sighted insistence of numerous European nations on making bilateral energy deals with Russia, and this at a time when a unified approach is essential. It is particularly galling (not to say Gaul-ing) to hear the constant prattle about the New Europe and then to watch how they behave in very Old European ways.

Example Two. The UK-Iran hostage standoff. This is incredibly depressing. Indeed, the craven, cringing, pusillanimity of the British response in this case is beyond depressing. Britain’s fetal position-don’t-hit-me-again posture will only spur the Iranians to more outrageous actions. And the response of the UN (under whose “aegis” the British sailors were operating), the EU (of which the UK is a member), and NATO (ditto) are beyond disgusting. (I put “aegis” in quotes because the word means “shield” and the UN has done nothing whatsoever to shield its minions.)

Two things in particular stick in my craw. First, the Europeans have been so tiresome in their hectoring lecturing of the US about the Geneva Conventions, yet here Iran has committed one flagrant violation of the GC (the display of POWs on TV) and threatened another (the trial for espionage of military personnel captured in uniform) and nary a peep is heard from Our Moral Bettors. Just further proof that the Europeans feel safe in criticizing us knowing we’ll shrug it off, but they wet themselves at the prospect of standing up to somebody who will fight. (Perhaps a realistic attitude from a continent that has been free riding on the US military for decades and has let its military capabilities atrophy to such a degree that they could not, as Patton so eloquently put it, “fight their way out of a piss-soaked paper bag.”)

Second, the EU’s utter silence in the face of this outrageous provocation is largely driven by the commercial interests of large European corporations who engage in substantial trade with Iran–trade that arguably is the difference between the survival of the mullahs and the economic collapse that would spell their doom. Again, from people/governments who never tire of criticizing the hypercapitalist, materialist US.

Spare me.

And of course the US is to blame. Isn’t it always? You see, we “botched” an attempt to strike at Iranian agents actively engaged in efforts to destabilize Iraq and kill Americans, so of course the Iranians are perfectly justified in taking Britons prisoners.


Like the old adage says, be careful what you wish for–you might get it. Many Europeans are itching for the US to withdraw from the world and bow to European “leadership.” (I know, I know–but it’s not polite to laugh at the delusional.) If that happens, the Deguello will sound for Europe long before it echoes in the US. Unfortunately, whereas there was a Churchill to sound warnings in Europe in the 1930s, there is no such clarion voice today. When the clash comes–and it will–who will step into the breach? Tragically, the most realistic answer is: No One.

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