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The EU as a Diplomatic Actor in Recent Conflicts - Essay Example

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The EU as a Diplomatic Actor in Recent Conflicts

When America appeared to disregard even a consensus on the matter, EU came out with a view that, 'the European Union does not support a war on Iraq without the backing of the United Nations' (Reuters, 2003). A team of weapon inspectors was on a 'fact finding mission in Iraq', but America appeared to eager to strike and was in no mood to wait for their report. On the other hand the European Union together with governments from other parts of the world wanted to have a firm proof for punishing Iraq. After the 9/11 attacks, US appeared desperate to take on the terror outfits. Iraq and Afghanistan were the first in the firing line. UK, an important partner of EU, having good relations with US as well, formed the backbone of support for US policies. The official stand of European Union on the other hand was to start off the attacks after debating the issue and seeking a sanction from UN. But the moot point is, to what extent the European diplomacy was in action. The Maastricht Treaty of 1992 was instrumental in coming out with a common foreign and security policy (CFSP) for the European Union (Bruter, 1999). This implied that the 'Union' will have a unanimous opinion about an issue. But the factual position has been somewhat different. The CFSP appeared in some common declarations only and not on issues involving diplomatic rows.

It is worthwhile here to mention that the European Union and CFSP appeared to provide a semblance of unanimity on paper, but on the surface, the interests of nations forming part of the union forces them to take different stand on a range of issues. Anderson (2001) lists out factors like, lack of participation or concern by the Member States; perceived competition between the Commission and the Member States; inconsistent Member State positions; and slowness as the reasons for the EU not being able to come out with effective and unanimous stands. The Iraq war happened to be one such issue on which the EU could not come out with a strong and unanimous view. The official statement from EU on Iraq is that1, "The EU is committed to working with Iraq and international partners in order to bring about a secure, stable, unified, democratic and prosperous Iraq." But the actual implementation of this commitment is yet to be seen.

While on a visit to Greece after the war started in Iraq, the UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan also called upon the EU leaders to come out with a common stand on the issue of Iraq (Barringer and Bruni, 2003). Once the war on Iraq was declared by the US and allied forces, on the basis of 'concrete proof', it appeared irreversible. But as days went by, it was all too apparent that the 'proof' that were being used as an alibi for initiating the attacks were nowhere visible on the surface. Even the so-called 'weapons of mass-destructions' were nowhere to be seen. This resulted in protests in UK and USA against the excesses being committed in Iraq. Today, even after executing Saddam Husain and thousands of deaths the WMDs are still proving to be illusionary. On the other hand the war has become a trap for US and allied forces; now they are finding it difficult to come out of it. Realising the differences in opinions of world leaders in general, UN Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan said, "No issue has so divided the world since the end of the Cold ...Show more

Summary

Iraq and Iran have in fact been in conflict like situations for many-many decades now. While earlier it was the Iran-Iraq war which resulted in engagement of the world community in varying degree, depending upon the degree of dependence on these two warring nations…
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The EU as a Diplomatic Actor in Recent Conflicts essay example
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