European Union bureaucrats love to speak of “European values,” and their media allies on both sides of the Atlantic take it for granted that the EU stands for all that is good and just on the international scene. For a certain type of journalist or NGO worker, if the EU does or says something, that act or statement must be admirable by dint of the fact that it originated in Brussels. Yet too often, the EU stands for diplomacy for its own sake, process for its own sake, bureaucracy for its own sake–even when insisting on diplomacy, process, and bureaucracy for their own sake ends up empowering murderous enemies of European values.
Nowhere is this dynamic more visible than in the bloc’s hysteric response to President Trump’s decisions to withdraw Washington from the flawed Iran deal and move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. In a statement posted to her blog, EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini made it clear that she views America and Israel as the Middle East’s real troublemakers. The blog post was notable for the cold tone Mogherini took with Washington. Meanwhile, the Iranian regime and Hamas, those unshakable friends of European values, came out unscathed.
Here’s Mogherini on her efforts to save the Iran deal:
On Tuesday I gathered in Brussels the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom – the three European countries that negotiated the deal together with the US, Russia and China. We decided to start working on a package of measures to protect the deal, to make sure that Iranian citizens can enjoy the benefits of it, and to safeguard our economic interests. Our goal is to maintain and deepen our economic ties–including with new projects, starting with energy and transport–while defending and incentivising small and medium enterprises investing in Iran . . . There is a metaphor [sic] that came up several times over the last few days: the deal is like a patient in intensive care, and our shared goal is to restore it to health as soon as possible.
As for the Jerusalem move and the other crises in the region, Mogherini said:
Once again the European Union is the reliable partner, and it is indispensable in such a moment of instability for the Middle East. We continue to go through dramatic events: from the clashes on the border between Israel and Syria, to the unspeakable suffering of the Yemeni people, to tens of deaths in Gaza after the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem . . . As the European Union, we won’t stop working to find a political solution to all these crises: there is no other way to reach a just and lasting peace.
From the mullahs’ nuclear-weapons program to Hamas’s calculated campaign to rush the barrier fence with Israel to the Iranian-led insurgency in Yemen, Mogherini and the EU see only diplomatic challenges to overcome. And the answer is always, always to convene a gabfest in Basel, Lausanne, Vienna or some other plush Continental city, where civilizational clashes and historic animosities and sharp moral contrasts can be dissolved in technical solutions.
Never mind that the Iranian nuclear deal on its own terms puts Tehran on the glide path to the bomb, and never mind that it fails to address the mullahs’ missile program, regional aggression, and human-rights violations. “We had a process,” say the Brussels mandarins, “and that process must be preserved at all costs.” Never mind that Hamas is constitutionally committed to the destruction of world Jewry and has been staging terror attacks and bloody stunts for decades. “We had a process,” say the mandarins, “and Trump’s embassy move disrupts the process.” In this worldview, the likes of Iran and the Palestinians can appear as friends and good guys, because they cynically embrace European process games. All the while, the U.S. and Israel are cast as the bad guys since they don’t play geopolitics the European way.
Along with Mogherini, Barack Obama and Angela Merkel epitomized this bankrupt mindset. One of the three, Obama, has already exited the world stage. The tectonic electoral shifts underway in Europe mean the other two are likely to fade sooner than later.