"No wonder, then, that America's ability to organize a coalition has also suffered. Participation in the Iraq war cost Tony Blair his reputation and the Spanish government an election. After an initial swell of support, the Iraqi occupation proved unpopular even in countries where America is popular, such as Italy and Poland. Almost no country that has participated in the coalition derived any economic or diplomatic benefits from doing so." Anne Applebaum writes this in an article on washingtonpost.com.
My question would be whether or not the Iraq debacle is rather a symptom than a cause? After 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe said good bye mentally to America. They did not view terrorism as the same type of threat as Americans. They began reasoning that they would not need expensive troops to fight wars on foreign soil but rather use other means for their local security. France and Germany were never in on Iraq. Thus there were problems before Iraq.
I don't agree that this is a good idea. However, what became of communism divides Europe today as well a makes Western Europe significantly different from the US and have resulted in a notion among Europeans that they do not want to share foreign policy with the US according to the Eurobarometer poll. We can see this today in a milder form also in the US. The American Tea Party Movement that calls Obama a socialist.
The Iraq War definitely demonstrated the strength of the US military. Iran knows that the US cold strike them out, if they would be willing to spend the money and lives it would take. It also demonstrated in the aftermath that Saddam Hussein must have used an absolute iron fist to govern the powder keg of a nation he sat on. I don't want to think of what methods he used to do this.
Today this means that Europe is not going to forcefully participate in foreign adventures and that the US might consider going isolationist or continue alone. Furthermore, the financial crisis was a greater blow to US and European understanding that the Iraq War. I wonder if it is that old Continental need to do something other that following the philosophical leader of Anglo-America. Historically we have a poor outcome of a divergent tactics. I'd much rather see a strong trans-Atlantic relation. But Germany and America are on different paths again.
The EU seems to fall apart and the countries do their own things. The current chairmanship is held by Belgium a country that currently does not even have a functioning government. There is hardly a word in the Swedish election about foreign matters, except the Afghanistan War where the traditional unity of cause between the two political blocks just broke in two.
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