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The Grand Alliance

Zbigniew Brzezinski has an excellent editorial in today’s paper. He proposes a “Grand Alliance” between the US and Europe with the explicit mandate of helping moderate Muslims stop the spread of violent radical Islam in the Middle East.

Brzezinski says that, while Kerry hasn't yet explicitly stated a grand Middle East strategy, Bush's ham-handed methods have alienated our allies and "staying on course under Bush will remain a largely solitary American adventure." He warns,

This global solitude might make a re-elected Bush administration more vulnerable to the temptation to embrace a new anti-Islamic alliance, one reminiscent of the Holy Alliance that emerged after 1815 to prevent revolutionary upheavals in Europe. The notion of a new Holy Alliance is already being promoted by those with a special interest in entangling the United States in a prolonged conflict with Islam. The endorsement of Bush by President Vladimir Putin of Russia immediately comes to mind; it also attracts some anti-Islamic Indian leaders hoping to prevent Pakistan from dominating Afghanistan; the Likud in Israel is also understandably tempted; even China might play along [they have their own issues with Islam - AP].

If Kerry wins the election, our traditional allies - our fellow democratic nations, whose citizens share our basic values - will be more willing to listen but,

To get the Europeans to act, any new U.S. administration will have to confront them with strategic options. The Europeans need to be convinced that the United States recognizes that the best way to influence the eventual outcome of the civil war within Islam is to shape an expanding Grand Alliance (as opposed to a polarizing Holy Alliance) that embraces the Middle East by taking on the region's three most inflammatory and explosive issues: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the mess in Iraq, and the challenge of a restless and potentially dangerous Iran.

He then lays out a strategy for simultaneously tackling each of these issues and concludes,

A comprehensive initiative along these lines would force the European leaders to take a stand: Not to join would run the risk of reinforcing and legitimating American unilateralism while pushing the Middle East into a deeper crisis.

It's an interesting article for a couple reasons. First, it shows that a little imagination and creative diplomacy dispells the Bush-fan myth that no one could possibly convince Europe to participate in Iraq.

Second, Brzezinski's Middle East strategy fits easily into Thomas Barnett's grand strategy for the United States, of strengthening the core nations which share our commitment to playing by the rules, and working to bring countries that are disconnected from liberty and prosperity into our family of free and prosperous nations.

This is a future that I believe is worth fighting for, but one which President Bush and his neo-conservative advisors are either content to ignore, or incorrectly believe can be accomplished by the United States alone.

Posted by American Pundit at October 26, 2004 5:31 AM