London Times columnist Anatole Kaletsky is a guru to the kind of people who are gullible enough to be impressed by a smattering of economics. His columns typically skate over the arguments, while always hinting at a vast body of evidence to back up his wilder assertions.
Now Kaletsky has launched a pre-emptive strike against those in the United States who believe that Iran must be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons at all costs, and specifically Norman Podhoretz in COMMENTARY. (Kaletsky’s article can be read here.)
Kaletsky makes no attempt to answer Podhoretz’s arguments, which are detailed and cogent. True to form, he prefers to dismiss the Iranian nuclear threat in favor of ad hominem abuse. Echoing the U.N. nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei, who slanders those who advocate a tough line with Iran as “crazies,” Kaletsky makes some crazy claims himself: “There is now strong evidence,” he writes, “that President Bush didn’t even know the difference between Shia and Sunni Muslims when he decided to attack Iraq.” Kaletsky produces no such evidence, for the simple reason that the claim is demonstrably untrue.
Kalestsky has been trying to persuade Gordon Brown to break with Tony Blair’s policies for some time. Now Kaletsky urges Brown to choose what he calls the “genuinely courageous option”:
This is to positively forestall further disasters by breaking publicly with the Bush Administration and trying to develop a genuine European alternative to the suicidal American-led policies, not only in Iraq, but also in Israel, Palestine and Iran.
We shall soon see if Brown is foolish enough to listen to such voices. On an unannounced visit to Iraq a few days ago, Brown sought to reassure Iraqi officials that he has no intention of ordering a precipitous withdrawal of British forces. It is unlikely that Brown would have done this if he were on the point of breaking with the Bush Administration—or even with his predecessor’s foreign policy.
It would be fatal for a new British prime minister to try to exploit anti-Americanism just as Nicolas Sarkozy in France and Angela Merkel in Germany are both mending fences with Washington, while central and eastern Europeans are falling back on NATO in the face of bullying by Putin’s Russia.
If Brown were to distance his government from the United States or Israel, he would quickly discover exactly why Blair values these alliances so much. For when the war on Islamist terror widens into a direct confrontation with Iran, as it is very likely to do during the remainder of Bush’s and Brown’s terms of office, those European states that have failed the Iraqis so badly will suddenly require American protection against missile attack. They will also need American intelligence. If the Iranians were to carry out their threat to activate terrorist cells, possibly armed with WMD, in Europe, then U.S. assistance—logistical, medical, and military—could be needed on a large scale.
The “crazies” are not those who are now urging Americans to start behaving as if they were at war. America is at war. So is Europe. Thanks to the likes of Kaletsky, Europeans just don’t know it yet.