In The tall story we Europeans now tell ourselves about Israel, Charles Moore wrote last week:
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the last Middle East crisis in which Britain acted without concerting with America. On July 26, 1956, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the president of Egypt, nationalised the Suez Canal. Britain accounted for a third of the ships passing through the canal at that time, and we feared that Nasser had put his foot on our windpipe. Eden, perhaps reeling from his good fortune in having employed the young P. Tapsell, concocted a secret plot with France and Israel to regain control of the canal by violence and bring about the fall of Nasser.There's a big difference between the Suez Canal and an atomic bomb, but Ahmadinejad is looking to take on a leadership role in the Middle East comparable to Nasser, the quintessential leader of the Arab World.
Ignoring the delicacies of a presidential election in America and a president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had publicly made it clear that his country opposed force, we went ahead and invaded Egypt on November 5. Furious at having been deceived, America immediately refused to support the pound in the markets, and we crumpled almost overnight.
The then chancellor, Harold Macmillan, who supported the attack from the first but ratted on it in November, wrote in his diary on August 18: "…if Nasser 'gets away with it', we are done for… It may well be the end of British influence and strength for ever." Well, Nasser did get away with it, and British power in the Middle East did collapse. [emphasis added]
In our current situation in the Middle East, by allowing an unstable individual like Ahmadinejad to acquire the not only the destructive power but the destabilizing influence that he is after, we risk the collapse not merely of US power or of Western influence in the region, but possibly much worse.
Will Ahmadinejad "get away with it"?