WHEN people took to the streets of Tunis, France offered to help President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s security forces. When they filled the squares of Cairo, Italy praised Hosni Mubarak as the wisest of men. And when they were slaughtered in Tripoli, the Czech Republic said catastrophe would follow the fall of Muammar Qaddafi, Malta defended Libya’s sovereignty and Italy predicted that the protests would lead to an Islamic emirate.
With every new Arab uprising, some European country has placed itself on the wrong side of history. So it is no surprise that the European Union has been slow to tell regimes to listen to demands for democracy and to condemn violent suppression.
When it comes to action the EU has fared even worse.