POLITICSnThe Gulf Grisis innEuropenby Tomislav SunicnWhatever may be the outcome ofnthe crisis in the Gulf, one thingnis already certain: European intellectualsnwill no longer be polarized alongnideological lines, but divided along geopoliticalnfault lines. For the first time thenEuropean right is marching hand-inhandnwith the European left, in commonnprotest against the U.S. involvementnin the Gulf. For the first time alsonthe conservative press in Europe isnprinting anti-war articles whose pacifistntenor could easily outdo any leftist journal.nBy contrast, many former “sixtyeighters”nwho until recently tinkerednwith instant pacifism and global ordernunder the banner of Marx, have discoverednthe glitter of the Stars and Stripes.nThat the emperor can swiftly changenhis garb is evident is France, where thenformer Marxist Regis Debray advocatesnthe return of Europe to Europeans,nwhile the former cheerleader of Maoism,nBernard Henry Levy, praises thenAmerican war machine and its unflinchingnsupport of Israel.nThe attitude of European conserva­nVITAL SIGNSntives towards American involvement innthe Gulf is complex on both geopoliticalnand philosophical counts. Before WorfdnWar II, European conservatives of allnstripes .had a low opinion of America, ancountry they felt was exporting decadence,nunwilling to give up its globalistnpreaching, and unable to reign in itsnmarauding plutocratic and anationalnelites. After the war this hostile attitudenmarkedly changed, partly because in thenface of the real Communist threat comingnfrom the East, the Hollywood culturenof the West seemed the lesser evil.nSeveral years ago, when the spirit ofnYalta came to an end in Eastern Europe,nanticommunism lost its raisonnd’etre. Its place had to be filled by thenconservative risorgimento against liberalnanomie and its major standardbearer,nthe United States of America.nUnlike their counterparts in America,nEuropean conservative militants, benthey of traditional, nationalist, or revolutionaryninclinahon, come from a poolnof articulate and witty thinkers whosenefforts are often put to the service ofnseemingly unpopular political platforms.nJean Marie Le Pen, the head ofnthe French National Front, or PinonRauti of the extreme right MovimentonSociale Italiano, their shrill nationalismnnotwithstanding, usually rely, behindnthe scenes, on the brains of those withnprestigious academic and literary credentials.nThe very independent-mindedn”New Right,” probably one of thenmost outspoken groups of intellectualsnoperating today in Europe, has madenno secret of its opposition to AmericannMideast policy. Its chief figure, Alainnde Benoist, sees in the American presencenin the Gulf the attempt of a dyingnglobal power to overextend its globalnideology to peoples who might have anradically different idea of the world. Innseveral of his recent pieces, Benoistncompares American decision-makersnto “worfd improvers,” who, as truenheirs of the biblical manifesto, endlesslynsearch for the archetypes of evil:nIndians, Germans, Communists, andnnnnow, at the end of the century, thencamel-riding, bomb-throwing, IsraelhatingnArabs. In a sense, Europeannconservative criticism of American foreignnpolicy suggests that the Americannelites are incompetent to understandnforeign traditional cultures; hence,nwhen they fail to overawe their opponentsneither with money or the ideologynof human rights, they must resortnto airborne policing. Predictably, Benoist’sncurrent writing is more reminiscentnof a paleo-leftist militant thannof somebody with impeccable conservativencredentials. Needless to say, fewnif any European conservatives believenin the U.S. pledge to uphold the rulenof law in the Gulf. Most of them, alongnwith an increasing number of leftists,nconcur that the purpose of U.S. militaryninvolvement is to drive a wedgenbetween the Arab and the Europeannworld and further slow down the creationnof grand Euro-Arab economicnalliance. Behind the veneer of Americannlegalism, Benoist sees a push fornworld supremacy by a hegemon whosenmajor objectives have always been thensame. In a piece in the December 6,n1990, issue of Le Monde, published anmonth before the air bombing started,n.he enumerated American objectives asnfollows:n— To remedy its economic problemsnand to avert a recession by escapingninto the logic of war.n— To implant itself permanently innthe Gulf in order to control oil wells.n— To destroy a regional power innthe Middle East, to the benefit of thosenwho have been demanding its annihilationnfor months.n— To take advantage of the transformationnof the Soviet Union into an”Western power,” in order to convertnthe Security Council of the UnitednNadons — already dominated by thenWesterners — into an embryonic globalngovernment and a new source ofninternational law.n— To set up a world order thatnwould: a) marginalize the countries ofnthe South; b) subordinate the politicalnMAY 1991/49n