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The other night, I walked back to my car from class at UCLA,
down Westwood Blvd. Half of the street was closed to traffic; over a
thousand demonstrators were marching. From afar, I assumed that this was
some sort of ignorant protest against war in Iraq -- after all, Westwood is
a college town. But as I drew closer, I could see some of the signs: "THE EU
SUPPORTS TERROR," "WE SUPPORT PRESIDENT BUSH'S WAR ON TERROR," "FIGHT THE
TERRORIST THEOCRACY." What was going on?
The demonstrators marched on. As they approached, I realized
that they were protesting the Islamic regime in Iran. I have to admit that
until I saw those Iranians chanting for democracy, I doubted the
oft-expressed sentiment that Iran was a country ripe for democratic rule.
But the sight of Iranians seeking freedom convinced me that President Bush's
mission to bring democracy to the Middle East could be successful.
If Western Europe has its way, this will never happen. France,
Germany and their other accommodation-minded cohorts are in the palms of
Middle Eastern Islamic dictatorships. For these countries that never
experienced the tyranny of Communist rule during the Cold War, the idea of
evil is anathema. Middle Eastern terrorist regimes aren't evil, they think;
they deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. The "Axis of Weasel," as
the conservative press has taken to calling the Western European appeasers,
has maintained ties with Iraq, Iran, Syria and the Palestinian Authority,
All European scorn is reserved for Middle Eastern democracies,
because the only democracies in the Middle East have close ties to the
United States. European jealousy of American power and hatred of America's
un-chic "cowboy diplomacy" means that anyone even remotely allied with the
United States becomes an enemy. Israel is enemy No. 1, of course, because
latent anti-Semitism combines with anti-Americanism. But the most obvious
current example is Turkey.
Turkey is a country that the Iranian protesters wish to emulate.
Separation between church and state is rigidly enforced, for fear of
Islamist infiltration. Turkey is friendly with the United States and is the
only Muslim country openly friendly to Israel. Its economy is geared toward
westernization, and its military cooperates closely with Israel and the
United States. Turkey is a member of NATO and aspires to be a member of the
European Union. Turkish bases will be used in any U.S.-led war with Iraq.
As a member of NATO, Turkey (with U.S. backing) wants NATO to
place Patriot air defense missiles and early warning aircraft in Turkey to
protect against any attack by Iraq in the event of a war. Prime Minister
Abdullah Gul correctly claims that Turkey was a Cold War battleground in
protecting Western Europe, and now, Western Europe should reciprocate. But
the Thrombotic Three -- France, Germany and Belgium -- are utilizing the
only power they have, their NATO veto power, to prevent any protection of
Turkey. By doing so, they risk creating a fatal split in the very fabric of
NATO. They hope that other countries will back their pacifism and refuse aid
to Turkey. This kind of highhandedness is aimed at alienating the Middle
East's only predominantly Muslim democracy from America, turning it into the
kind of Islamist loose cannon with which the Europeans love to deal.
The EU also shuns Turkey, despite Turkey's eminent
qualifications for entry. This is hardly surprising, since the EU has long
spurned countries it perceives as "U.S. puppets." In 1963, French Prime
Minister Charles De Gaulle blocked Britain's ascension to the European
Economic Community (which would later become the EU) because the United
Kingdom was closely allied with the United States. The same feeling applies
to Eastern European EU applicants aligned with the United States.
This Western European scorn for U.S. allies should prompt
America to turn away from countries like France and Germany. A new
American-led alliance -- composed of formerly Communist Eastern European
countries, and principled democracies like the UK, Italy, Israel, India and
Turkey -- is the last, best hope for a network of Middle Eastern
democracies. Millions like the Iranian demonstrators hope and pray for
democracy and freedom in the Middle East. America must not abandon them.