Turkey may be the West’s biggest leak on Iran sanctions, but as has unfortunately been a frequent theme of mine here at COMMENTARY, Germany is the greatest example of Europe’s cravenness and lack of resolve toward Iran’s nuclear program. Alas, it seems, despite Obama’s lofty rhetoric and his promise to rework diplomacy, the trend continues. According to Germany’s “Stop the Bomb” campaign:
The Institute of Religious Studies in Potsdam and the URD in Qom declared the beginning of cooperation in 2011. In September, a delegation of the University of Potsdam and the Goethe University Frankfurt / Main will travel to Iran… The cooperation is backed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year, in order to strengthen academic relationships with Iran. The fact that Kamran Daneshjoo, the Iranian Minister of Science, Research, and Technology at the time, was on the European Union sanctions list because of his alleged involvement in Iranian nuclear warhead design and work, was ignored.
There’s a myth out there that people-to-people dialogue is always positive. Perhaps that’s true if you’re a fan of the Dennis Rodman school of diplomacy, but it is unsupported by evidence. Rogue regimes seldom serve up ordinary people to such dialogues, but rather transform well-meaning foreign activists and academics into useful idiots. The University of Potsdam and DAAD’s willingness to work not with free Iranians, but rather respectively with a clerical propaganda center and a sanctioned official shows just how empty German resolve can be.
European Union countries—especially Germany—may talk a good game when it comes to diplomacy but, time and time again, they show that their diplomacy is pro forma and their rhetoric empty. German officials and businessmen worship at the altar of the status quo divorced completely from the human rights idealism and security responsibility for which they claim to stand. Let us hope that the United States never ceases to lead, because the European Union’s largest country is simply not up to the task.