Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Pacifist Europeans have short memories

Mark Steyn writes an interesting piece about the odd pacifism of Europe.

I liked this paragraph:

You can't help noticing that it's the low-tech weapons that are really horrible. In Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and the Congo, millions get hacked to death by machetes. Even on the very borders of EUtopia, hundreds of thousands died in the Balkans in mostly non-state-of-the-art ways until the Americans intervened.

According to the latest estimates, the mass graves in Iraq contain the remains of at least 300,000 people, but we're still arguing about whether the war was "justified". The pacifism - or, more accurately, passivism - of Europe does not seem especially moral.


and

The EU has done a grand job of trumpeting its weakness as strength, but the fact remains that there's something hollow at the heart of European identity. You can't be a great power without great power: Slobodan Milosevic called the EU's bluff on that a decade ago.

When you say as much to Euro-grandees, they say, ah, but you wouldn't understand, here on the Continent we have seen the horrors of war close up, the slaughter of the Somme casts long shadows. I'll say. In the New Statesman last week, Philip Kerr managed to yoke All Quiet On The Western Front with Joan Baez and John Lennon, and unintentionally underlined just how obsolescent the Sixties folk-protest canon is. Where Have All The Flowers Gone? would have made a great song for the First World War, but not for Afghanistan or Iraq or anything we're likely to fight in the future.

In our time, mass slaughter occurs only in places where the West refuses to act - in the Sudan or North Korea - or acts only under the contemptible and corrupting rules of UN "peacekeeping", as at Srebrenica. In Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere, technological advantage changes the moral calculus: it makes war the least worst option, the moral choice. At the 11th hour of the 11th day, we should remember those who died in the Great War, but recognise that it could never be "the war to end all wars" and never should.

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