The Almighty Euro beats the Royal Navy

Today Britain is being raked over the coals by the nasty old Barbary Pirates, in the shape of the Madcap Mullahs of Qom. All the United Kingdom needs is a little help from its old friends France and Germany, the twin pillars of the European Union.

But so far the EU is remarkably reticent about the whole affair. Why? Well, it's the Almighty euro. Nobody wants to lose a single blessed euro to rescue the British captives. Laissez les Anglo-Saxons aller à l'enfer!

David Frum and Newt Gingrich have each provided the obvious answer. If you don't want to use gunboat diplomacy, what about squeezing the billionaire mullahs on the little matter of their shameless wealth and their decades of false promises to improve the lives of the poor in Iran? All those billions in oil money is now going for nukes, a fanatical Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and a notoriously corrupt theocracy. Well, we know that  Americans are just materialistic, blood-for-oil types, who only worship the Mighty Dollar, while Europe is deeply humane and peace-loving. So --- if it's only a matter of money to help Britain save the lives of its sailors and Royal Marines, surely the EU would be willing to help with its euros?

Fat chance.

We can forget a civilized dialogue with Tehran. Tehran is in the hands of barbarian throwbacks, and its seventy million people will continue to live in fear until the theocracy is overthrown, just like the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

But Europe has a lot of economic clout in mullah land. David Frum lists the following:   
  • 1. An international embargo on (the forty percent of gasoline imports to Iran) would inflict severe distress. ...
  • 2. Iran's rusting industries, many of them state owned, depend heavily on parts and equipment imported from Germany. ... As of 2005, Germany had extended some US$6.2-billion worth of credit to Iran.
  • 3. The United States has maintained sanctions against Iranian oil and natural gas since 1979. The European Union, however, has continued to invest in Iran. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that foreign companies, mostly European, have invested US$30-billion in Iran since 1996. Without this investment, Iran's oil and gas output would have faltered long ago.
  • 4. Malaysia's Petronas and Russia's Gazprom both play major roles. ... It's time now to impose a secondary boycott, and to force firms like Petronas to decide: Either you do business with Iran or you do business with the rest of the planet. You choose.
Any economic boycott would quickly translate into social pressure on the mullahs, as their 12 to 20 percent unemployment rate escalates. What could be more humane than driving the dangerous mullahs from power for their corruption and misrule of the Iranian economy?
Newt Gingrich has an even simpler idea, following Ronald Reagan's approach in weakening the USSR. Since Iran has only one oil refinery, why not throw some sand into the works? A modest amount of sabotage would squeeze the mullahs with "deniability."

These are not friendly acts, but they would save lives. And if the  mullahs can be squeezed enough to stop their mad rush to nukes, it might save many thousands of lives and infinite trouble down the road. All the Sunni Arab nations would heave a sigh of relief, because they are first in line for the neo-Persian Empire.

All it takes is a resolute, unified and morally serious Europe to do the right thing.

Just a few weeks ago the EU celebrated its Fiftieth Anniversary, headlined by the BBC and Guardian with a flood of gaudy hype about the unity and successes of Europe. Europe, it appears, has "kept the peace for fifty years," all by itself. But that brave record doesn't extend to supporting Britain against a flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions by the lolly-gagging fascisti in Iran. Could it be that France and Germany are more worried about their 14 billion euros of trade with the mullahs?

Well, the real EU is a Potemkin Village, all jolly peasants and no bricks. It is held together by a grand bargain:  Germany pays for French farm supports, and France fronts for Germany's return to international standing and power. Britain came in only as an afterthought, to sustain the grand illusion. But today we see what that really means when the chips are down.

The French and the international Left keep trying to split the Atlantic Alliance, by drawing the UK away from a century of security cooperation with America. London's Parliamentary sovereignty has therefore been turned over to the EU to an astonishing extent. The British military are being decimated to make room for a new European Army. The Royal Navy has been told that promotions will be frozen for five years. Chances are that promising young officers will only see career openings in the Franco-German-Spanish-Belgian Army, so that the British armed forces will quickly bleed into the new Euro Rapid Reaction Force. Even British foreign policy will soon be controlled by Brussels, with a heavily French bureaucracy, run by French-style centralized control under a tiny power elite, largely shaped by ... Paris and Berlin.

So British sovereignty has been kidnapped as surely as those sailors were in the Shatt-al-Arab. But for what? The real test of Europe is not farm subsidies, nor the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child, nor the bankrupt-as-usual National Health Service. The real test is the survival of democratic government on earth, as Abraham Lincoln said in his  Gettysburg Address --- that is, can a truly democratic Europe protect its member states? Will it stand up for its proclaimed citizens? Does it have a spine in the face of totalitarian aggression?

Or can "Europe" only thrive on the childish pretence that peace and security will happily go on forever and ever, like a fairytale? Because at some point the American cop is going to get mighty tired of waiting for those 450 million people to grow up.

Mullahs to Europe: This is a test!

It won't be the last.

James Lewis is a fequent contributor. He blogs at