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Not recognising this is their first sin. A second major sin against a clever vision of Iraq’s future is to believe that they will be able to build a new Iraq, not only alone but in their own image. In today’s Iraq, the occupying American troops think American, work American and fly the American banner every instant. From the creation of a 7000-strong civilian troop to the implementation of a police academy – a school for judges or teachers – America feels at home in Iraq. Western free market-style economic rules are being introduced, an Iraq trade bank being shaped, supply contracts being provided by a company called Halliburton whose quarterly results were never so good for years – all facts that, logically, should have a negative impact on those who do not share the same vision.

Especially if one succeeds in creating a friendly environment as a first step towards mutual confidence-building. “Abbas should remember that until he produces real results on the ground, he only commands international favour because he is not Arafat,” writes the Wall Street Journal about Abu Mazen, “a relatively weak man who has a tendency to escape the problems”, according to the US Ambassador in Tel Aviv, Dan Kurtzer. With such friends, who needs enemies? However, one should not waste time watching the Anglo-Saxon camp settle its internal conflicts, and attention is better focused on what is of most important essence – for instance, a recent statement by Gerald Steinberg, Director of the Programme on Conflict Management and Negotiation at the Bar Ilan University: [46] 579 A Safer World 1 Part 1 6/12/06 9:25 AM Page 47 2003: A YEAR OF LIES The public has little faith in unfulfilled promises; it wants an immediate divorce, based on the unilateral construction of the reparation fence … When complete, the combination of a concrete wall, trenches, electronic sensors and patrol roads is expected seriously to impede terrorist access to Israelis cities.

A last obvious mistake is to provoke additional tension and unrest in regions that are already unstable. The same targets could probably have been achieved by means other than war. But how can this be proposed to those who wants war at any price? To conclude, it is true to say that the direction followed by France, Germany and Russia needs to be backed by a newly strengthened Europe rather than one that limits to follow-up what others think is good for them. If British Prime Minister Tony Blair appears to some observers as the one who could help heal the war wounds between America and Europe, that does not make him “a true European”.

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