Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Paradise or the Jungle?

I just got done reading the new edition of Robert Kagan’s Of Paradise and Power, which is an intelligent and thought-provoking book (though not always right on some important matters, in my view). Kagan ends on a pessimistic note, saying that the current tension between Europe and America over Iraq is part of a larger international "tragedy": namely, that to "address today’s global threats Americans will need the legitimacy that Europe can provide" but "may well fail to provide" because Europeans are more concerned about "an American Leviathan unbound" than about the dangers of "terrorism and weapons of mass destruction" produced by tyrants. Thus, in his view, the West will drift farther and farther apart, with potentially perilous consequences for the US and Europe (and decent people everywhere).

In that light, it is worth considering this article from The New York Times on the upcoming IAEA statement on Iran’s nuclear program. The question is whether the British, French, and Germans (who all negotiated a deal a few months ago with the Iranians that the mullahs subsequently broke) will stand firm and back a tough condemnation of and warning to Iran as the Bush administration is urging, or whether they will take the opportunity afforded by a technical mistake in a previous IAEA statement to let Iran off the hook.

As we know, Iran and North Korea are the next likely international crisis points, but since the Europeans have no real historic or strategic interests in East Asia, Iran will be the test for whether they can recognize and deal seriously with a lurking international disaster (a nuclear Iran!), or whether they will end up retreating for good from what Kagan calls the "Hobbesian jungle" outside Europe into their "post-modern paradise".

Discussions - 2 Comments

A nuclear Iran, I wish this received more coverage.


You’re right - the story is underreported considering its incredible importance: really, it is a race between the mullahs getting the bomb and their regime collapsing. Last week, however, the Sunday New York Times Magazine devoted its lead article to the question: "Is Iran Going Nuclear?" You might want to check it out.

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