Monday, March 26, 2007

Is the EU on the brink of war?

The Telegraph is claiming that the Prime Minister has warned Iran that it only has a few days to find a "diplomatic solution" in regard to the kidnapped British sailors.

Then what?

Forgive me for sounding cynical, but if a "diplomatic solution" in that time is not reached, what will Tony Blair do about it? Refer it to the UN? That's also a "diplomatic solution", though, isn't it? Perhaps the colleagues of the EU will lend their weight to demands for their immediate return? Oh, wait - they already are and that is also a diplomatic solution.

The only way I can read the Telegraph's claim is that Blair is rattling his sabre and warning Iran that they need to hand the sailors back soon or risk war with Britain. As far as I can see, that is the only alternative to a diplomatic solution.

The trouble is, such sabre rattling is not exactly going to leave Ahmadanimbad quaking in his boots. Britain, alone, is incapable of waging war on Iran. That's not a sabre Blair's rattling - it's a penknife. And a rather rusty blunt old thing at that.

But, Blair has an ace up his sleeve because, as we are all aware, any attack on any of the EU member states interests constitutes an act of aggression against the EU and Chirac appears to support this.

Britain's position received support from other European Union countries yesterday. President Jacques Chirac of France said Britain had the "complete solidarity" of all EU leaders over the sailors.

So it seems that the EU is finally going to prove it's worth.

As I write, the French have no doubt instructed the nuclear powered aircraft carrier "Charles De Gaulle" to steam(do nuclear powered ships still "steam"?) towards the Gulf.

The Germans are mobilising the Bundeswehr (are they still called that?) to dispatch a couple of panzer divisions to Iraq and ordering several front line Luftwaffe (are they still called that?) squadrons to join Britain's threadbare RAF presence in the region.

Spain has pledged 30,000 troops, Italy 40,000, Holland 12000, Belgium 5000 and Luxembourg have promised to send their elite dog handling team backed by 5000 accountants.

I wish! As if any of that is ever likely to happen. What Chirac means by complete solidarity is that they fully back Britain's efforts to find a diplomatic solution - after that, well it's up to us.

Of course, it isn't going to go that far. Blair's "few days" is deliberately vague. What he means is "as many days as is necessary for the Iran regime to milk this for all it's propaganda worth". That could be two days or 12 days - who knows? Eventually, once the Iran thugs have extracted the "confessions", paraded them on TV and generally humiliated dear old Blighty as much as they can, they'll be handed back. We'll see them in their yellow jumpsuits - blindfolded and chained together - being marched to an aircraft or ship before their return and it will all be over.

Till next time.

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