On the Record

Allies and Iraq

Ivo H. Daalder

France, Germany and Belgium blocked NATO efforts to begin planning for possible Iraqi attacks against Turkey. Their move underscores disagreements within Europe over how to disarm Iraq. Host Melinda Penkava talks with Ian Black, European Editor of The Guardian Newspaper, and Ivo Daalder, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, about how the Iraq crisis is forcing new thinking about alliances and war.

HOST: As the U.S. gears up for war with Iraq, it is facing resistance from some European countries it had counted on as allies. France and Germany, which oppose a U.S.-led war in Iraq are pushing instead to give UN weapons inspectors more time. Russian President Vladimir Putin joined their call for toughened inspections today after he had a meeting in Paris. And Belgium today joined with France and Germany to veto a NATO plan to bolster Turkey?s defenses to protect it from possible Iraqi attacks. The three countries said they didn?t have a quarrel with helping Turkey, but to build up its defenses now was tantamount to accepting there would be a war.

In the past week, 16 other members of NATO signed on as supporting the U.S. position on Iraq. The U.S. ambassador to NATO, Nicholas Burns, says that NATO is now facing a crisis of credibility. So the question becomes how is that transatlantic alliance shifting? Is the future of NATO on the line? Who?s with the U.S. and who?s against the U.S. as the military buildup in the Gulf continues. And practically speaking, what will it mean for the U.S. during the war and after one?

Complete interview available at www.npr.org (Real Player)

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