President Trump will be unable to launch a war against Iran if European allies continue to oppose the move, Franco Frattini told RT. Нowever, Europe’s influence is waning due to internal divisions, the Italian diplomat added.
A united European Union could serve as a bulwark against US attempts to seek regime change in Iran, believes Frattini, a former Italian foreign minister, now the president of the Italian Society for International Organizations.
I think America cannot do it [while] having [a stance] against the whole of European Union and, I would add, NATO would be strongly against [it, as well],” he told RT’s Eunan O’Neill on Wednesday.
Frattini has direct experience as a member of an EU government during the time of another US-led foreign military intervention – against Iraq. In 2003, when a US coalition invaded that country, he was serving his first term as a foreign minister in the government of Silvio Berlusconi.
Berlusconi supported the invasion at the time. His support put him at odds with fellow EU members and NATO allies such as France and Germany who called for diplomacy instead of military intervention. The UK government of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, however, gave Washington unconditional support, lending partial European endorsement to Bush’s so-called “coalition of the willing.”
Frattini conceded that the European Union is currently not ideally placed to resist US saber-rattling in the Middle East. “Europe has been losing its important political leverage … this outgoing European commission is very weak. Member states are divided while addressing the issue of Iran,” he said.
He also castigated EU member state leaders for opting for a sanctions bypass rather than pushing for political negotiations. “It was a mistake … Because if you choose a mechanism to bypass it means that you couldn’t agree with the best option. The best option is a political negotiation,” he said.
But nonetheless, he made it clear that the US is significantly constrained by European reluctance to unconditionally support Washington’s foreign policy.
“The United States needs Europe because Europe has a long-standing tradition of political presence in the broader Middle East … the presence of the European Union and European member states have been seen always in a better way than America – exporting democracy, invading Iraq and so on and so forth,” he said.
“In more general terms, the European tradition of soft power, helping the United States, is being downgraded,” he added.
He concluded that another attempt to attack Iran would ultimately end with Trump backing down, as he did last week when scheduled air strikes were canceled just 10 minutes before their planned launch. “The president of the United States, in the end, will do what he did days ago when he stopped, minutes away, [and decided] against the strike in Iran,” he said.