Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 30, 2002
WAR: The International Rule Book
My running comments on an article from the front page of today's Washington Post (I'm excerpting here):
"The mixture of containment and establishing an international rule book by
ISN'T IT JUST POSSIBLE THAT THE "INTERNATIONAL RULE BOOK" DOESN'T WORK WITH PEOPLE WHO DON'T ACCEPT IT?
Rallies by tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrators in London and Rome on Saturday were reminiscent of the protests of the early 1980s in favor of
YES, AND THOSE ENDED NATO AND DESTROYED THE UN, RIGHT? IN FACT, REAGAN DID JUST WHAT HE WANTED, AND NOW NATO HAS A BUNCH OF NEW DEMOCRACIES ASKING TO JOIN. EVEN RUSSIA WANTS IN.
But here in Brussels, opposition to what is seen as the administration's emerging unilateralism comes not just from the left but from across the board, and includes the highest levels of the EU.
ARE WE TO BELIEVE THAT "THE LEFT" AND "THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF THE EU" ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS?
Officials concede that one of their problems is that they do not speak with
"We have no influence because we have no common European approach."
Although the European Union is a baroque collection of institutions,
SOUNDS LIKE THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS TO ME
feelings still count -- and European feelings have been badly bruised in recent months
NEW YORK'S FEELINGS WERE HURT TOO
The Europeans say the administration views them as "Euro wimps" who don't pull their weight militarily, and who prefer prevarication to plain-speaking and appeasement to action.
NOTE THAT NOBODY OFFERS ANY EVIDENCE TO CONTRADICT THIS
WHO DON'T HAVE THE STONES TO GO ON THE RECORD
regret that Schroeder took his stance, which helped him win a
Europeans also resent U.S. predictions that they will inevitably go along
IN OTHER WORDS, NOBODY IS DISAGREEING THAT THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WILL HAPPEN
(At this point, the usual whining about Kyoto and the International Criminal Court . . . I don't even have the heart to go after those canards, but they also cite U.S. support for Sharon's policies in Israel, without explaining how this could possibly injure the Europeans)
The terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon momentarily overshadowed those disputes and created a wave of sympathy and support for the United States. "We're All Americans Now," declared the front page of Le Monde, the left-of-center Paris daily that usually takes pleasure in America-bashing.
But that sentiment quickly faded. European officials now concede that they
THE AMERICANS MEAN IT WHEN THEY SAY "WAR"! WE THOUGHT THEY'D JUST BUILD SOME MORE GIANT MULTINATIONAL BUREAUCRACIES AND GO HOME!
Europeans, who have experienced terrorism in such places as Northern Ireland and the Basque region of Spain
NOTE "EXPERIENCED" NOT "SUCCESSFULLY ERADICATED"
resent being dictated to
AREN'T THEY GLAD, THEN, THAT AMERICAN TROOPS KEEP GETTING RID OF THEIR DICTATORS?
Many people contend that the Americans have put too much emphasis on a military approach to attacking terrorism
AH, THAT JOURNALIST'S FRIEND, "MANY PEOPLE"
and not enough on dealing with what they identify as root causes, such as poverty and lack of freedoms.
SO, THE SOLUTION TO "LACK OF FREEDOMS" IS TO LEAVE SADDAM, THE IRANIAN MULLAHS, ETC. IN PLACE AS THEY ARE? AND TO BE NEUTRAL BETWEEN ARAFAT AND ISRAEL?
"None of this in any way justifies or explains what happened on September 11th," Patten said, "but perhaps it means we have a slightly more nuanced idea of how you deal with terrorism."
I.E., DON'T ROCK THE BOAT AND HOPE THEY GO AFTER SOMEBODY ELSE
Worse, many believe that Washington has adopted a militarized foreign policy
THAT WOULD BE KNOWN, IN AMERICAN CIRCLES, AS A "WAR"
that divides the world too simply into friends and enemies. Bush's "Axis of
WE'VE BEEN TRYING THAT SINCE THE REAGAN YEARS, AND LOOK WHERE IT GOT US
The conflict over Iraq has crystallized many European fears. After the
WHICH WOULD BE THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO "DISARM IRAQ OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION," NO?
While they welcomed Bush's decision to seek a new U.N. Security Council resolution on weapons inspections -- and give Britain's Blair credit for helping guide Bush in that direction -- they fear that the administration is only using the council as justification for military action, and will go ahead even without U.N. assent.
"It was wholly legitimate for President Bush to go to the United Nations and
DID I MISS SOMETHING? HAVE WE STOPPED WORK ON THE RESOLUTION?
Bush's new strategic doctrine formalizes some of the trends Europeans find
NOW WHO'S BEING SIMPLISTIC? IT'S NOT ABOUT FEAR OF "CAPABILITIES" - HECK, AT THE BEGINNING OF THE ARTICLE THEY WERE COMPLAINING ABOUT US TELLING EUROPE TO GET MORE OF THOSE. IT'S NOT ENGLAND OR EVEN INDIA WE'RE ATTACKING HERE FOR WANTING THE BOMB
Another official said the doctrine set a bad precedent -- if it is all right for the United States to attack another country preemptively for supporting terrorism, he asked, then what is to prevent India from dropping a nuclear
THAT WOULD BE "PAKISTAN'S NUCLEAR ARSENAL," THANK YOU
European officials search for signs that the American public is less hard-line than the administration. Every one of a half-dozen officials interviewed last week cited the recent opinion survey sponsored by the U.S. German Marshall Fund and Chicago Council of Foreign Relations indicating a convergence in views on security issues between Americans and Europeans and a solid American majority in favor of obtaining Security Council support for any attack on Iraq. Most cited with approval former vice president Al Gore's attack on administration policy last week, although one official added, "If we'd said that here, we'd be immediately branded as anti-American."
AND GORE . . . ?
U.S. diplomats contend European fears are overwrought. "Part of it [their fear] is European old-think -- the old balance of power instincts," said a senior U.S. diplomat, referring to the Cold War model in which strong nations balanced each other and effectively maintained world stability. "And I think part of it is that the Europeans see lots of reasons to interpret America's terrorism war as America trying to bend Europe to its own will."
Some Europeans agree that officials need to calm themselves and remember what they have in common with the United States. "There are so many areas where we have joint interests and so many similarities between us," said Pascal Lamy, the EU's trade commissioner. "Any good negotiator will tell you that Lesson One is having a clear view of each side's starting positions.
UNLESS THE TERRORISTS KILL US, THAT IS. BUT DON'T WORRY, THE AMERICANS ARE TAKING CARE OF THAT