Why We Should Hate Europe

Discussion in 'Politics' started by PoundTheRock, Apr 16, 2003.

  1. Not the Best of Intentions
    Europe’s desire to hurt America trumps its urge to help Iraq.

    By Todd J. Weiner
    April 14, 2003, 2:00 p.m

    As the war with Iraq draws to an early close, a chorus of diplomatic "experts" are getting their "multilateral" music sheets out, singing about the necessity of making the European Union a co-partner in rebuilding that nation. They are cheerfully chanting that a U.S.-European partnership on Iraq — brokered by the U.N. — will be an outstanding opportunity to heal the diplomatic wounds from the past year and repair our fractured trans-Atlantic alliance.

    At the heart of their vision is the belief that America's "unilateralism" has hurt Europe's feelings and that we have to atone for our boorish behavior by inviting the Europeans to the postwar prom. In their conception, the U.N. should be a school with Kofi Annan as world headmaster, using his authority to persuade the robust, assertive America to share his toys (in this case, Iraq) with the nervous, delicate EU. If both kids behave themselves, maybe they can go out for ice cream after class.

    Now is the time to ask: Will giving the European Union a prominent role in rebuilding Iraq (peacekeeping duties, oil contracts, etc.), breath new life into our so-called trans-Atlantic "alliance" and make French chefs, German bankers, and Dutch potheads like us again?

    The cautious answer is "no" and the definitive answer is "no chance in Hades." Regardless of American generosity in the postwar reconstruction of Iraq, the rift between the United States and Europe is real and will remain wide for many years to come. The reason has less to do with real grievances against U.S. foreign policy and more to do with European loathing of America itself.

    A nine-nation survey commissioned last month by the prestigious Pew Global Attitudes Project found a disturbing animosity toward the United State in every major European country except Great Britain. For example, people in Germany held an "unfavorable" opinion of the United States by a margin of 71-25 percent. In France, unfavorables beat favorables by a margin of 67-31 percent. In Italy it was 59-34 percent, in Spain 74-14 percent. While you don't need to have a plaque in C-SPAN2's Viewer Hall of Fame to know that anti-Americanism is resurgent in Europe, the breadth of animosity is truly astonishing.

    When looking at such data, the logical question is, "Why is there so much hatred of the United States?" If it is simply European squeamishness about the fighting in Iraq ("Guns? Ewww. We got rid of those years ago!"), then the Bush administration can take a lenient attitude toward European pettiness and invite the Brussels crowd to rebuild Iraq with us arm-in-arm.

    But Pew's polling data suggests that the estrangement is far deeper than European squeamishness about war. After Pew asked Europeans whether they favored or opposed American intervention in Iraq, they followed up with two questions concerning the war's impact on stability in the Middle East and its impact on the Iraqi people themselves. The results are revealing.

    In France, 75 percent of respondents said they opposed "the U.S. and other allies taking military action in Iraq to end Saddam Hussein's rule." Only 20 percent said they were in favor. But when asked whether or not they thought that with Hussein's removal, "the Middle East region will be more or less stable," a plurality of 46-37 percent agreed that the region would be more stable. When asked whether or not they thought "the people of Iraq will be better off or worse off" after the Allied campaign, an overwhelming majority of 73-14 percent agreed that Iraqis would be better off.

    The results are mirrored across the continent. In Germany, opponents of the war outpolled supporters by 69-27 percent but a large majority of Germans (56-32 percent) said that the Mideast region would be more stable absent Hussein and an even larger majority of Germans said that the Iraqi people would be better off (71-15 percent). In Italy, only 17 percent of respondents favored their own government's policy of supporting America in the war, but once again large numbers said the region would be more stable (46-27 percent) and the Iraqi people better off (61-18 percent).

    Pew's polling data suggests that there was little disagreement between the American government and the European people when it came to Hussein's cruelty toward his own subjects and the menace he posed to his neighbors. And yet instead of applauding the Bush administration's uncompromising stance toward evil, the European "street" is almost as anti-American as the Arab "street." The typical poll respondent — let's call him Pierre — is saying in effect, "Yes, we think the war will be good for the Iraqi people and the Arab world, but for God sakes, don't do it!" What makes this attitude even more astonishing is that it is Americans — not Europeans — who are risking their blood and treasure in the Persian Gulf, and yet Americans proudly march into battle while the Europeans snicker and heckle from the sidelines.

    The average American reader is probably wondering, "have the Europeans completely lost their minds?" While it is tempting to answer "yes," there is actually a twisted logic to their seemingly split mind over the war in Iraq. Of course, Europeans see the necessity and justness of our cause, but they strongly resent American military and economic power and wish to thwart and stymie it at every possible avenue. European opposition to the war has less to do with the merits of our policy and more to do with an insidious, reflexive anti-Americanism. Of course, Pew didn't ask Europeans, "do you oppose the war in Iraq simply because you don't like America?" The pollsters would never get an honest answer. But we can be certain that such sentiment is running rampant on the continent.

    The Europeans hate us for who we are, not because of what we are doing in Iraq. And that hate will grow stronger as TV images of Iraqis kissing American troops are beamed to the student lounges of the Sorbonne. Much to Pierre's chagrin, America is not going to stop being the world's largest military and economic power. America isn't going to stop being a beacon of freedom, eager to share her blessings with those less fortunate and to ignore those who are too frightened or too envious to assist her.

    In the coming months, many unresolved questions will need to be answered: Who will head the Iraqi transitional government and when will elections be held? How will the threat of terrorism be neutralized within Iraq's borders? How will oil contracts be divvied up? What will Iraq's relations be with its neighbors and Israel? The results from the Pew survey suggest that if Europeans are given a large role in reconstructing Iraq, their policies will be dictated not by what helps the Iraqi people, but what hurts and embarrasses America.

    It is imperative that we ignore the "drums of peace" and publicly renounce any European participation in reconstructing postwar Iraq. The stakes are too high to allow dubious "allies" to continue to poke sticks in our eyes when the best hope for freedom and democracy in the Arab world is at stake. A new American-European partnership for "peace" may go swell at a Brookings Institution seminar, but it's unlikely to go smoothly in the cities and villages of Iraq.

    Our so-called "unilateralism" has freed an enslaved people from the clutches of a mad tyrant and made the world a safer place. If we abandon our worthy mission to please a continent that polls suggest will never be pleased, then we will have only ourselves to blame.

    — Todd J. Weiner works at the American Enterprise

  2. msfe


    Rebuilding Iraq

    A plan for debt, aid and reconstruction

    Wednesday April 16, 2003

    It was conceived as a way to heal the "hunger, desperation, poverty and chaos" of the war so that America could do "whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health". That was the Marshall Plan of 1947 when the US pumped the equivalent of $100bn into lubricating Europe's postwar recovery. Churchill described it as "the most unsordid act in history". Fast forward now to Iraq as peace follows war and as the first meetings with the exiled Iraqi opposition start to plan political and economic reconstruction. The sums needed are similar to those of the Marshall Plan but the method is the opposite. First the vast bulk of reconstruction will be self financed from future oil revenues, not provided by allies. Second, the key to the Marshall Plan was that there would be no debilitating restrictions attached: the recipients of the aid should have "ownership" of the plan.

    In Iraq the initial contracts for reconstruction are going to designated US companies without any competition from other US firms, let alone the coalition partners or anyone else. The two year contract to fight oil fires - reportedly worth up to $7bn - has gone to a unit of Halliburton which Dick Cheney, US vice president, ran for five years until 2000. Other US engineering giants like Bechtel and Fluor are taking early pickings. This is bad economics because single bids will not necessarily provide the right companies and if they did the excess profits likely to be made are bound to be the subject of future Congressional inquiries. It is bad politics because it upsets not only indigenous Iraqi companies - which would have been at the core of Marshall's thinking - but international competitors as well. It is politically myopic because US companies are strong enough to win most of the contracts in open tendering rather than as hand-outs from a Bush administration with which they have had embarrassingly close ties. Reconstruction must be an international effort to be credible.

    Of the two other main pillars of reconstruction, aid and debt, aid is the more urgent. The military should hand over responsibility for humanitarian assistance to the UN and aid agencies as soon as possible, to utilise their expertise and to ensure that relief is clearly seen as an international responsibility and not associated just with the conquerors. Fortunately, many Iraqis have stockpiled supplies of food so there is no immediate danger of mass starvation. But many have not and in key urban areas urgent action is required to restore electricity supplies that have cut off water supplies, sewage systems and hospital services. The reduction of Iraq's huge external debts - estimated at between $60bn and $120bn, or as much as $5,000 per citizen - requires more generosity than would normally be given to a middle-income country because so much of the debt is the result of Saddam's excesses. This is not urgent because Iraq has not serviced its debts for a decade but a framework needs to be in place to make the rest of reconstruction work effectively.

    In this context it is imperative that the income from oil production, when it resumes, not only goes to the Iraqi people, where it belongs, but that is seen to do so. This, inevitably, is another job best done under UN auspices. Here there is another Marshall Plan lesson: Democratic President Truman willingly handed his plan over to General Marshall to improve its chances of getting through a Republican Congress. It popularised the maxim that there is no limit to what a person can achieve - as long as they are prepared to let someone else take the credit.
  3. one wonders.
    LOL. add a flag and a news ticker, and this becomes a fox news special.
  4. dbphoenix


    Why we should hate Europe?

    It's too expensive.
  5. msfe, have you outrun your supply lines or is it simply that your Cut & Paste material is much scarcer these days?
  6. US GO HOME!
    Don't have time to read the National Review, but here is something I found interesting.

    "A nine-nation survey commissioned last month by the prestigious Pew Global Attitudes Project found a disturbing animosity toward the United State in every major European country except Great Britain. "

    False. Even in Britain it seems like everybody my age is fed up with American unilateralism. The papers showed pictures of the US "collateral damages" on the front page. They show it like it is here at least. Let me tell you about something that happened to me . I was in a phone booth in a UK coastal resort ordering some very important stuff over the phone, after a few minutes a couple people started to show up to use the phone. First I told them it would take a while. One guy with his girlfriend asked how longer I was going to be, honestly. I said 20 minutes. After 15 minutes or so I was still there on the phone giving my credit card details, the girlfriend came back. I told her there was no way I could hang up. Then she said : you know it's not America here it's a public phone! I told her to try another phone close by. Her reply: "Well maybe you should go home!" People here are usually very nice, funny thing I am not even American!

    As for you simpleton, just leave that magazine where it belongs in the thrash can.
  7. Hah! What I'd like to see is a French guy in an NYC phone booth trying the same thing (if you can find one that works). Can you say, "French Toast!"
  8. a quandry - proper newspeak for "french toast" is "freedom toast" -- but, obviously one cannot use "freedom" to describe a self-hating coward frenchman... maybe "socialist toast" works here? :confused:
  9. Nah, he'd be French, he'd be tyin' up the phone and he'd be toast...
  10. msfe


    Blair's alliance with Bush is a damaging strategic error

    War has undermined Britain in both Europe and the developing world

    Robin Cook
    Thursday April 17, 2003

    The moment of triumphalism must have seemed tantalisingly brief to the hawks. Within hours, the photo-op of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue was crowded out of the bulletins by scenes of looting and lawlessness. Having won the military conflict, the Bush administration appeared curiously unprepared for what to do next in Baghdad.

    For Britain the question of what to do next must start with counting the collateral damage from the war to our international standing. Most immediately, there is the division it has put between us and our major European partners. Labour's objective on taking office in 1997 was to make Britain a partner of equal importance in a triangle with Germany and France. After the divisions over Iraq, Europe is back to a Franco-German axis, with Britain once again the odd one out.

    Then there is the damage to our standing in the developing world, where we are now widely perceived to have supported a war not of liberation but of imperialism. This is particularly true in the Islamic nations. The most difficult strategic question in international affairs is how the west can reach accommodation with the Islamic world. Britain is well placed to contribute to finding the answer because of our multicultural society and tradition of tolerance. Yet the war in Iraq limits our ability to act as an interlocutor with the Islamic and, especially, the Arab nations.

    The longer the west tries to run Iraq, the greater will be the resentment. Washington shows no grasp that its determined efforts to keep the UN on the margins are against its own best interests. Bush needs to hand over the running of Iraq to a more legitimate international authority before his army of liberation morphs into an army of occupation. He should heed the advice of Iraq's senior cleric: "You toppled Saddam, now leave."

    Nor can the west pretend, after such a dramatic demonstration of its power, that it is a passive spectator in the Middle East peace process. The war in Iraq was justified on the grounds that after a decade Washington had lost patience waiting on Saddam to fulfil his obligations under UN resolutions. Yet the Palestinians have waited three decades for Israel to fulfil its obligations under resolution 242 to withdraw from the occupied territories.

    In short, restoring the standing of Britain throughout the Islamic world depends on US withdrawal from Iraq and on Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank. The awkward position for us as the junior partner in the coalition is that the key to progress on both lies not in our hands but in those of President Bush. And here we come to the fundamental foreign policy dilemma for Britain. It is what kind of relationship we can maintain with the US while it is under neoconservative management.

    Everyone has the problem of deciding how to operate in a world dominated by a hyper power on the march. For Britain, however, US unilateralism raises particularly acute questions because of the intimacy of our relationship with Washington. Tony Blair has pursued a strategy of restoring Britain as the most reliable ally of the US. If there was a model, it was to recapture the special relationship of the Thatcher- Reagan years. The catch is that the Thatcher-Reagan relationship was possible because both shared the same perverse domestic priorities and the same malign world views. While Bill Clinton was at the White House, it was possible to recreate that special relationship of two leaders who shared broadly similar instincts. The strategic error was to attempt to roll forward the relationship with Clinton to his successor.

    The political calculation was rational enough. Blair was convinced the Tories would claim that a Labour government could not work with a Republican administration. His rapid moves to make his number with George Bush were motivated by determination to close down this domestic line of attack. The mistake was to underrate the problems of building a special relationship without shared political priorities and common values.The predictable consequence is that Blair has left himself without supporters among leaders of the left within the European Union. Instead he is dependent for allies on rightwing leaders such as Silvio Berlusconi - a curious partner for a Labour leader who shot to prominence on the commitment to be tough on crime.

    And it is hard to spot what support we have received in return for our loyalty. As a European foreign minister put it to me last year: "We are all amused that Britain gets nothing in return." The result has been a lengthening list of issues on which the Bush administration has diverged from our international perspective.

    The Kyoto protocol on global warming, the Johannesburg agenda on world development, and the formation of an international criminal court are only the more high-profile of the issues on which Bush has done his best to block priorities of British diplomacy. Bizarrely, given his preoccupation with weapons of mass destruction, Bush has even undermined our efforts to strengthen the protocol to the chemical weapons convention, because US industry would not agree to spot inspections.

    Perhaps lessons from Iraq are now being learned in No 10. Blair's swift and public refusal to join the Washington chorus of threats against Syria is all the more welcome for its contrast with our faithful echo of Bush on Iraq.

    To question the degree of Britain's complicity with a Bush administration is not to be anti-American. The US is not just the country of George Bush, it is also the country of Michael Moore, Martin Sheen and Woody Allen. Most Americans did not vote for Bush; indeed the majority of those Americans who did turn out to the polls voted for AI Gore. Nor will Bush be there for ever. In only a year's time, Blair's aides will be confronted with demands from the White House for signals of endorsement of a Bush re-election. I fear their basic instinct, if they expect Bush to win, will be to oblige. It is vital that they master those instincts: Britain's interest is in a Democratic victory.

    Tony Blair is famous for his reluctance to choose between alternatives, but always to seek a third way. But the refusal to recognise that there is a choice between making our number with Bush and maintaining our status in Europe has left us marooned in mid-Atlantic. If the prime minister wants to restore Britain's status as a major European player, he must now accept that moving closer to Europe requires, by definition, putting more distance between Britain and Bush.

    · Robin Cook MP was foreign secretary from 1997 to 2001 and leader of the House of Commons until he resigned from the government last month. This is an edited version of an article in this week's New Statesman
    #10     Apr 17, 2003