Monday, February 21, 2005

EU - Europe Makes no Difference

Mark Steyn has some harsh words for Europe.

The EU isn't the Arab League, though for much of the past three years it's been hard to tell the difference. But it, too, is out of step. The question is whether the Europeans are smart enough, like the savvier Sunnis in Iraq, to realise it. The Washington Post's Fred Hiatt compared the President's inaugural speech with Gerhard Schröder's keynote address to the Munich Conference on Security Policy last week and observed that, while both men talked about the Middle East, terrorism and 21st-century security threats, Mr Bush used the word "freedom" 27 times while Herr Schröder uttered it not once; he preferred to emphasise, as if it were still March 2003 and he were Arab League Secretary-General, "stability" – the old realpolitik fetish the Administration has explicitly disavowed. It's not just that the two sides aren't speaking the same language, but that the key phrases of Mr Bush's vocabulary don't seem to exist in Chirac's or Schröder's.

The differences between America and Europe in the 21st century are nothing to do with insensitive swaggering Texas cowboys. Indeed, they're nothing to do with Iraq, Iran, Kyoto, the International Criminal Court, or any other particular issue. They're not tactical differences, they're conceptual.

Then he gives a few examples.

By contrast, consider the Kingdom of Tonga; population 100,000. A few months back it managed to deploy 45 Royal Marines to Iraq, and without getting schmoozed by Condi or Rummy or anyone else. A proportional deployment from France would be 27,450 troops; from Germany, 37,350 troops. Even Belgium would be chipping in 5,000. Can you conceive of any circumstances in which France or Germany would ever "cooperate" to that extent? The entire "Trans atlantic Split: Chirac Aghast At Blundering Yank Moron Shock!" vs "Transatlantic Rapprochement: Rumsfeld Gives Tongue Sarnie To Schröder – See Souvenir Pictorial" narrative is wholly post-modern: either way, it makes no difference. That suits Europe; the Kyoto Treaty makes no difference to global warming, the EU negotiating troika makes no difference to Iran's nuclear programme, the threat of an ICC subpoena makes no difference to the Sudanese government's mass slaughter programme – and Washington has concluded that a Europe that makes no difference suits it just fine, too.

Ouch! I would add the UN is out of step and making very little difference.

Still, somehow we've got to work together if we want to defeat terrorism.

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