Rice to Face European Heat

As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice begins a five-day European trip, she and her hosts must confront a wave of commentary in the Euro-media about reports of secret CIA prisons and plane fights.

In recent weeks, newspapers in virtually every European country have carried stories documenting the arrival and departure of CIA planes at local airports. Many governments launched their own investigations, notes Radio Netherlands.

The coverage has forced government officials to confront an issue they preferred to avoid, notes Deutsche Welle, the German radio network.

"It took almost a month for EU countries to wake up and begin questioning what has been in the papers and in the minds of the public for weeks," said one German official involved in foreign relations. "But people didn't want to antagonize the Americans. Now it looks like we might have to."

Rice plans to reply forcefully, according to Dermot Ahern, the Irish foreign minister. Ahern told DW that Rice would make it "quite clear that as far as Americans are concerned, they have not infringed any international human rights laws in relation to this." In fact, she did just that today before departing for Europe, saying the U.S. had not violated international law or infringed on any EU nation's sovereignty.

The European public response is not likely to be receptive, say commentators from Lisbon to Prague. (These excerpts come from translations done by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, an office of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.)

The secret prisons are "... the opposite of what we are used to seeing and admiring in the U.S. example," wrote columnist Amilcar Correira in the Portuguese daily Publico.

"With the measures to combat terrorism, the aim is to neutralize possible terrorists and to prevent new attacks. In all wars there is transgression and torture, namely in the countries which today criticize Bush's acts. But the moral legitimacy of someone who speaks about democracy in the morning and tortures in the afternoon collapses."

"The European Union cannot put up with the existence of secret prisons in Europe . . .  or the use by the USA's secret services of military bases or civilian airports for the transport of prisoners," he concludes.

Hospodarske Noviny, an influential daily in Prague, said "Bush now faces the risk that the relations with European allies, damaged by the dispute prior to the Iraqi campaign, will be further harmed by the debate on secret CIA prisons, where people suspected of connection with international terrorism may be detained and very cruelly interrogated."

"Politicians know that, in an open or hidden war with terrorism, it is hard to determine the rules and limits as to who can use violence, where, when, and to what extent. But, now the public is not asking what all is allowed to prevent September 2001 in New York, March 2004 in Madrid, and July 2005 in London."

In neighboring Slovakia, the editors of Pravda, a popular daily, said "the least that the United States can do if it is really interested in alliances is to name clearly what has already come to light. If Europe as a whole does not wish the presence of prisons on its territory, the United States should respect this."

By Jefferson Morley |  December 5, 2005; 8:50 AM ET  | Category:  Europe
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

At no time in my life - and I'm over 50 - have I ever been so ashamed of my countries leaders and the disrepute they bring upon America. The days cannot pass fast enough 'til it will finally be the end of the Bushco Terrorist Regime.

I can only pray the world recognizes Bush for the anomaly he is - and that he in no way speaks for or represents America's truest and finest ideals.

The. Worst. President. Ever. I hope he is someday tried for the war criminal he is.

Posted by: Bill Arnett | December 5, 2005 10:10 AM

We have clearly walked into a quagmire. Unfortunately, extremely bad decisions such as the reckless and unjustified invasion of Iraq have greatly weakened our international image. Now, virtually any criticism of the U.S. is deemed to be valid, whether it is true or not.

However, we still have to deal with a real threat of terrorism. I welcome limits on American behavior, the McCain bill is a step in the right direction. Some of the critics go overboard when they imply anything unpleasant qualifies as "torture". I'm all for positive inducements first but negative inducements, short of physical harm, will be necessary for some captives. Anyone who believes otherwise is being naive.

Posted by: RC | December 5, 2005 11:29 AM

I wish somebody would ask Rice this:

If what's being done is right and legal, why are we doing it in secret, and why are we using third countries?

If it's right and legal, it can be done publicly and in the USA.

Posted by: just john | December 5, 2005 11:40 AM

Any country that discovers the U.S. has violated international law on its territory should cut off diplomatic relations with Washington and send your thug-diplomats home.
For those who say this criminal, Bush, does not represent the U.S., I'm very sorry but you re-elected him.
His crimes are your crimes. You Americans are torturers.
Now please clean up your own act before you preach to others about human rights. And please spare us the rhetoric about the "war on terrorism." It's your government that diverted the world's attention from al-Qaeda by invading Iraq instead of reinforcing the war effort in Afghanistan, your government that strengthened al-Qaeda by its bumbling in Iraq, and your government that perpetuates acts of terror (so far with impunity) the world over, with its illegal abductions and torture centres scattered throughout the world and its openly pro-torture vice-president.
The main force for terror in the world today is the United States of America. So take your "war on terror" and shove it. You are the terrorists.

Posted by: Jurgen Haas, Berlin | December 5, 2005 12:10 PM

Jurgen Haas, I'm sorry you feel that way but it doesn't sound like you are open to dialog, so there isn't much point responding to your comments.

If others object to the U.S. actions, I'm genuinely interested in ideas on combating terrorism. If an intelligence or law enforcement agency gets information that a terrorist cell is functioning, what should they do? Wait until they have enough evidence to win a trial in court? Look at Mohammad Sidique Khan, one of the perpetrators of the London train bombing. Had there been a tip on him, I don't know if he could have been held under the guidelines some are advocating, given that he appeared to be an otherwise upstanding citizen.

Posted by: RC | December 5, 2005 12:27 PM

RC, there are many options available to you under such a scenario (including intensive surveillance and preventive detention) without the need to illegally abduct the suspects, illicitly transport them to secret detention centers in foreign countries and torture them.
But you macho Americans don't like to use your brains; it's so much easier just to beat people up. And so you self-righteously stand idly by as your government "waterboards" people it *suspects* might have something to do with terrorism.
And so, for every "terrorism suspect" you abduct, abuse and torture, you create a dozen more terrorists -- real ones, with very legitimate grievances against your outlaw nation.
Like I said, take your tired rhetoric about the "war on terror" and shove it. You Americans are the real terrorists.

Posted by: Jurgen | December 5, 2005 12:45 PM

Well said Jurgen....the Bush Goebellian propanda is being exposed for what it is.I am an American and it is sad to note that the "Bushists" are adept at exploiting the average Americans lack of knowledge about world affairs.

Posted by: moe | December 5, 2005 01:15 PM

I can see why there are so many different views as to why so many Americans does not see Bush and co. for what they are really about

1. Whenever Republicans get in office - it seems to bring out the ugly prejudice in people. - companies no longer abide by diversity but rather, adversity - take a look at the hiring policies - the workforce consist of majority whites (jobs whites use to shun and give to blacks are been filled by whites - unemployment rate is well above 5% yet no ones complaint - well no whites are complainting)

2. Now listen to all the bad news and the economy and you being a white person - you're end up saying "Well I am grateful for my job" and you tune out the rest.

3. This is why there is not yet an uproar of what Bush policies is doing to this country, white people don't have to endure the shame and humiliation that other minorities have to endure.

4. However, I don't know why but I feel a boiling point a race riot is going to happen in this country real soon, I pray that it doesn't however, when people feel oppressed all the time they explode.

5. Just because it ain't happening to you now doen't mean it won't happen to you in the future.

Posted by: Darlene | December 5, 2005 01:36 PM

I genuinely feel for Condoleeza Rice. Remember how the former Secretary of State Colin Powell laid out the case before the UN for invading Iraq and looked foolish thereafter? Well, Ms Rice's task is no less foolish in defending the Bush doctrine of CIA torture abroad.

Posted by: Mark | December 5, 2005 02:15 PM

What I'm waiting patiently to see is some journalist actually parsing [in public print, obviously] some of Bush's public utterances.

Listening to that 'victory' speech, the deceptions are so dense that it's impossible to parse them in real-time. And of course, my issues with what I conclude he really means -- or isn't saying -- are so grave I then have to spend more time wondering if I am just paranoid, or would a reasonable American agree with me? I could use some help here.

That's one of the reasons we buy newspapers, hello --

Looks to me like the tide has well turned. Why not put the WashPost in the forefront of exposing this bozo that you have enabled for all these years now.

Thanks for your attention. I read the WP first thing every morning.

Posted by: BB-at-AOL | December 5, 2005 02:18 PM

What I'm waiting patiently to see is some journalist actually parsing [in public print, obviously] some of Bush's public utterances.

Listening to that 'victory' speech, the deceptions are so dense that it's impossible to parse them in real-time. And of course, my issues with what I conclude he really means -- or isn't saying -- are so grave I then have to spend more time wondering if I am just paranoid, or would a reasonable American agree with me? I could use some help here.

That's one of the reasons we buy newspapers, hello --

Looks to me like the tide has well turned. Why not put the WashPost in the forefront of exposing this bozo that you have enabled for all these years now.

Thanks for your attention. I read the WP first thing every morning.

Posted by: BB-at-AOL | December 5, 2005 02:19 PM

I have long thought that GW Bush was a peerless lightweight. While I know people who have had dealings with Ms. Rice and swear that she is far smarter than her public persona appears, I have found her consistently disappointing. Now we know why Bush enjoys her company: she is just as lightweight as her boss.

This latest episode confirms that once again. Her argument regarding the secret prisons and unlawful abductions boils down to: trust us, we are the good guys and wouldn't do any of that bad stuff because we are the good guys.

It is a good thing that Americans appear at last to be catching up with the rest of the world in seeing that this kind of line can't cut it anymore. Bush's people are not even smart or competent or have a secret agenda: they are as dumb and inept as they appear. Period.

Posted by: robcrawford | December 5, 2005 02:48 PM

Hey! You can't be right ALL the time, people!

Posted by: Harry X. Hardwicke | December 5, 2005 04:55 PM

While it may be too early to gauge results, I believe Condi Rice compares very favorably to whomever the lady was during the Clinton period. The critics are tiring me out. Besides, what, if anything, would they do?

Posted by: Maarten Boorman | December 5, 2005 05:38 PM

I say the next time Condi Rice comes to Europe, we should seize and torture her, to find out why the hell they REALLY invaded Iraq.

Posted by: Alun_M | December 5, 2005 05:51 PM

To all those Americans that think anything goes to avoid a suspected terrorist act, let me put your "fears" of terrorism in context:

The US has faced one, repeat ONE, attack on its soil by foreign terrorists. That one tragically (and I was living in DC at the time and saw the attack and its terrible consequences first-hand) took the lives of nearly 3000 people (not all Americans).

DAILY, several tens of thousands of children die of preventable diseases with known cures in the West available, of hunger and malnutrition, and of acts of violence perpetrated in anarchic environments (so-called "failed states").

This is the key dichotomy that is never posed in the American vision of the world. Most Americans (not just neo-conservatives) believe that the US is inherently good, and so any attack against it must be by "bad" people, who deserve the utmost punishment available, preferably death/execution.

How tragic that this zeal is limited to people with a certain passport, for the implicit racism and double-standards towards human beings without an American passport can be seen in the proportionality of the responses to the above predicaments.

3000 deaths in a unique event warrant 2 wars, torture, lying to the public about policies, making a mockery of international law, allies and non-Americans.

Millions of people dying around the world DAILY, warrants the lowest GDP-giving rate of all OECD countries, the choice to protect pharmaceutical patents over the possibility of freeing medications to poorer people, and the cynicism to subject these countries to the failed policies of the Washington Consensus.

The 3000 people dying in the attacks in 2001 are a tragedy. But they are 3000 people, no more and no less. There are 3000 people dying every minute in just as tragic circumstances, and we in the West can stop that rate and choose not to. There is nary a head-line about that? Are those 3000 people better than the other millions we have on our conscience? Or do we prefer to not talk about those other people except when we wear wrist-bands and go to free concerts?

A world where 5 billion people are living in abject poverty or just getting by is no world where there will be peace. The fact we are surprised by that is astounding.

Posted by: Roland | December 5, 2005 07:16 PM

I'd like to know what Dr. Rice's critics would do. By far, she's the best Secretary of State we have.

Posted by: Henry C. Allenby | December 5, 2005 09:05 PM

Not only is she the best Secretary of State we have, she's the best we've had since Colin Powell. Ha ha.

Posted by: Buddy | December 5, 2005 09:28 PM

If she wants to have some credibility here in Europe, Rice should offer a full and frank acknowledgement of the crimes her nation has committed on EU soil, and then offer an apology and reparations.
But we do not expect that. No, we expect the same lies we've heard for so long from Bush and his yes-men/women.
Condeleeza "Mushroom Cloud" Rice has about as much credibility here as Colin "We Have First-hand Descriptions" Powell -- which is none.

Posted by: Silvia Schiavi | December 6, 2005 01:20 AM

In reply to Silvia's request for "reparations" to Europe: John Mearsheimer of the U. of Chicago calculated that between 1945 and 1990 the U.S. spent $12 trillion dollars (in 1990 dollars) defending Western liberal democracy during the Cold War. He further calculated that roughly half of that sum was spent specifically protecting Europe. Though it's clear that the US has made mistakes (and will, undoubtedly, continue to do so), overall I'd say it's done a pretty good job (witness the proliferation of democracies between 1945 and 1990). I'd be more amenable to constant criticism of the U.S. by some Europeans if the EU first wrote out a $6 trillion check paid to Uncle Sam. They'd then be in a better position to talk about their sovereignty and to ask for "reparations" for imagined harms.

Posted by: LWP | December 6, 2005 03:13 AM

The weasel worded statements from the Bush administration go on and on. In Europe, Ms Rice said the US complies with the Convention Against Torture which prohibits cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. But omits to mention that it does not apply to non-US citizens held outside the US. Hence the rendition flights and the unknown fate of many. Then to cap it all she intimates that if Europeans disagree then they are being soft on terrorists. The same old Bush line " If your not with us your against us"
GW Bush went to war in Iraq, not to defeat terrorists but for $OIL$ and to ensure his buddies and backers can make huge fortunes. paid for by the tax dollars of the poor suckers he conned into voting him into office. The cost to you the US tax payers is going to be huge. Bush is building up the biggest budget deficit ever. Of course by the time the crash comes when China owns 90% of the real estate in the US, Bush will be gone and living off the vast profits his family has made out his policies.
The thing that really sticks in the craw is to see a smiling GW claim that everything he does is in the name of spreading freedom. Bush has made Americans and the people of other countries less free. He says that the 2000 + US soldiers who have died in Iraq " Died for freedom" . Whose freedom? The freedom of G W Bush to do what the hell he wants!
Wake up America see this guy for what he is - the Hitler of the 21st Century- heck Nixon was a saint compared to Bush. Expose him and impeach him for the harm he has done to the reputation of all decent Americans

Posted by: Rick in Sweden | December 6, 2005 06:10 AM

I saw Condoleeza on the television, denying, denying, then bullying Europe. Bush put Colin Powell out front and center, to deny the lie of WMD and now his career will always be tainted. Now it is Condoleeza's turn to be left with the lie. Is this the role of blacks in Bushs' administration. Take the flack for the lies.Does anything change.
I see a lot of anger internationally at Americans for their naivete. I feel anger too, and wonder why so many citizens from other countries figured Bush out before he was elected? Yet Americans voted him in. We watched the propaganda, which gave us flashbacks to the old Soviet Union. People fell for it, even though the man did not appear very bright and seemed capable of speaking only in cliches. Then the propaganda flags came out, Americans name calling each other for demanding democracy. It is hard to stomach when you just want to yell, Wake up people you are being lied to. Engage your brain.
Then I have to remember you have a Corporate media, that does not answer to the people. It's purpose appears to manipulate. In Canada we have the CBC which exists for the people, with the express purpose of questioning government.
You have to wait for information to come from outside the government controlled media. I watch U.S. and Canadian, also British news. On a regular basis I see news in Canada about the U.S. that never makes it to U.S. television. Important stories, that are not covered to make room for fluff journalism. Until you have a real media you will go from one Bush to another, never getting the real story.
" A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." This only works if you have access to the truth.
"It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion."
Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister
I can see how the American government wholeheartetly believes this quote. America is becoming a propaganda machine for special Corporate interests, and is following a path of fascism. This spills over to the rest of the world where the Bush government is breaking treaties and agreements with other nations as if they could care less about us, than even their own people. We are all furious. The fact that Americans have taken so long to wake up out of drowsy propaganda world is also angering. May Bush fall so hard all will learn to never allow fascist leaders again.

Posted by: Gael | December 6, 2005 09:15 AM

Americans are greedy bullies. Only when their soldiers start dying, and when it hurts them in their pocketbooks, will they start realizing that there are very real consequences to violating international law. The insurgency is taking care of the first issue. Now the rest of us in the international community must take care of the second. America thumbed its nose at us and went into Iraq despite our best warnings and advice, and in violation of international law. Now it's time to make America pay for that pig-headed decision. We must drive their economy into the ground so they can be made to understand that, in future, such bullying and contempt for international law will hurt them. If they are not made to pay in blood, lost jobs and higher taxes, those morons will keep behaving this way and this world will be a much less safe place. Make America pay.

Posted by: Sven Isacsson | December 6, 2005 10:04 AM

It's simply amazing how under-informed some people are.
In reply to Rick from Sweden: Yes, Bush is a bit of a problem. And, yes, he has (with Congress) allowed a large deficit to accrue in nominal dollars. But, as a percentage of GDP, it is not very large. In fact, it is about the same as that of France and Germany.
In reply to Gael: Yes, the US has made mistakes in its response to 9/11. But, the comparison to Nazi Germany is absurd. There is plenty of dissent and discussion in this country. And, if this were Nazi Germany, we'd likey treat Canada (your country) the way they did Poland.
In reply to Sven: You must "drive the American economy into the ground" to make us pay for our contempt for international law? Interesting. In case you hadn't noticed, America's GDP numbers have consistently been better than Europe's, despite 9/11 and despite the costs of the Iraq war. Also, before you "make America pay," perhaps you wouldn't mind compensating America for the $6 trillion the US spent (see my post above) protecting Europe during the Cold War.

Posted by: LWP | December 6, 2005 11:46 AM

The American economy will never be the same with a president who has never created a business that didn't fail. He has a long list of bankruptcies. As a businessman he is a failure. He has to have others manage for him, because he is a spend, spend, spend president. The price America pays is a bankrupt superpower with the protection for workers eroded. The Social safety net has been eroded to the point of almost non existance. I would not want to be American right now, the future looks pretty hopeless as long as Bush is spending your future.
America is the only country in the industrialized world without public health care. It is beyond my comprehension why this battle was not fought and won a long time ago, it just makes Americans even more vulnerable to the recession their government is bringing them. No one in this day and age should lose their home because they are sick. A friend just finished cancer treatment which was excellent, and my govenment provided her with $40, 000.00 worth of medication. She got better, didn't lose her home, life went on.This did not cost her a penny, as it should be.
We have American lobbyists all the time in Canada trying to convince us to allow guns, so we can upfront experience the carnage America experiences on a daily basis. They want us to turn against our Health plan. They also expect a bunch of nodding heads to everything they present and seem suprised that Canadians ask hard questions. You cannot pull the wool over our eyes, like can be done with Americans. This gullibility puts Americans right in the line of fire. From their government and from other nations for their irresponsibility in electing such an incompetant.
Europe will not put up with Condaleeza telling them what to do. Shaming them, or threatening them, will get her nowhere. She knows how to talk to Americans because they believe the cliches, if anyone has a look of doubt on their face just wave the flag. The threats and propoganda do not work outside the border. Try truth or nothing.

Posted by: Gael | December 6, 2005 11:57 AM

In reply to Gael: Much of what you say is valid. But, once again you over-state your case. America is not on the verge of bankruptcy. As I noted above, our GDP numbers are consitently much better than Europe's and Canada's. And, your continued suggestion that Americans are uneducated buffoons is ridiculous. Check out The Economist's education survey in September which stated the obvious: 17 of the top 20 universities in the world are American. No Canadian universities on the list (though I believe U. of Toronto and McGill are fine schools).

Posted by: LWP | December 6, 2005 12:16 PM

I would love to see responses from the international community about the quality of American education. It is obvious speaking to Americans generally as I travel the country, that they have no clue beyond their borders, and operate on assumptions of others, as to what the rest of the world is like. I do not see this in my travels through Europe, the quality of education is obvious as you can see the intelligent dialogue of the people. What I see here is not the average American. When I travel it is common for other countries natives to joke about how dumb Americans are. Loud, arrogant and obnoxious.
A friend of mine is a talented economist, and he said the American economy is in trouble. He said the government uses smoke and mirrors to distract from the huge debt that is crippling the economy. You cannot spend the kind of money your president is spending and expect the status quo.
Less than 10% of Americans have a passport, not a good sign of a cosmopolitan and thinking country.

Posted by: Gael | December 6, 2005 01:04 PM

I checked into this American passport thing and found that about 20% of them have one, far more than ten years ago. The reason for the increase is not more Americans travelling though. It's Mexicans etc who want documentary proof of citizenship. The proportion of Americans who have passports for travel is probably still nearer 10%.

Posted by: OD | December 6, 2005 01:53 PM

LWP, The fact that millions of foreigners go (or went) to US universities certainly speaks volumes about the US economy and its ability to concentrate talent.

But consider the populations of the US, Britain and Germany and read this:
"During 2002, the most recent year for which comparable figures are available, some 586,000 foreign students were enrolled in United States universities, compared with about 270,000 in Britain, the world's second-largest higher education destination, and 227,000 in Germany, the third-largest. Foreign enrollments increased by 15 percent that year in Britain, and in Germany by 10 percent..."

"...Foreign applications to American graduate schools declined 28 percent this year. Actual foreign graduate student enrollments dropped 6 percent. Enrollments of all foreign students, in undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral programs, fell for the first time in three decades in an annual census released this fall. Meanwhile, university enrollments have been surging in England, Germany and other countries."

Germany's share is amazing when you consider they don't have a popular language to draw students.

Anyway, this conversation was about the education of the American voter. Each foreigner earning a degree in the US presumably means roughly one less American.
The meaningful statistics are surely the OECD comparisons that the newspapers report on every few years. They compare actual math and literacy tests among children of the same age in different countries.

"While top-flight American students are among the most literate in the world, the average reading ability of 15-year-olds in the United States hovers around 17th (of 30 OECD countries) say the report's authors, citing a 2000 literacy study. That average position has not budged for most of a decade."

Actually that's better than I would have expected. But I worry that they're much better at English than they are at history.

Posted by: OD | December 6, 2005 01:56 PM

To Gael: I acknowledged that you made some valid points. I'll also acknowledge that there are some problems with the US educational system--in particular, the K-12 system. And, I'll further acknowledge that Bush has likely created more problems than he's solved. But, the fact that you continue to grossly over-state your case makes me suspect that you (like many others) are so overcome with emotional anti-Americanism that you've lost any semblance of objectivity. I mean, really, the idea that Harvard professors are idiots is just silly.
The question is: Why are you (and so many others) so emotionally anti-American? Certainly, there are reasons to be critical of American foreign policy, but there are also very good reasons for the other liberal democracies (and their citizens) to make those criticisms respectfully and objectively, rather than giving into to emotional, anti-intellectual, anti-Americanism. The primary reason those criticims should be made respectfully and objectively is that, despite America's failings, it has objectively, empirically (see my first post above) shouldered the heaviest burden since WWII for protecting the liberal democracies. And, it met that task in a largely successful way. Canada and the western European countries were able to develop wealthy social democracies in large part because they acted under the umbrella of American protection.

Posted by: LWP | December 6, 2005 02:58 PM

LWP, you are clearly an educated person, but you too seem to buy into American versions of history with its moral implications of American=good, who is against us=bad.

The US did not sustain the Western bloc during the Cold War out of any benevolence. It was pure self-interest. Rather than have the US be able to bomb American soil, a bulwark was built on the European and Asian continents to stage the battle there. I am German, and we all grew up knowing that we the battle-scape should it ever come to a military show-down. Same goes for South Korea. The best example of this blatant self-interest can be evidenced in US foreign policy towards Latin America, the third front in the Cold War. The US supported death squads, military dictators and terrorists to support regimes that would cow-tow to US interests - usually for economic pay-offs, and the assurance that the US would support their undemocratic regimes. The US cared less about what values the regimes stood for it supported. It funded everyone from German chancellors to Bin Laden and his Afghan warlords, Saudi princes and Latin American dictators.

Have you read the transcripts of the Nixon White House for example?

Finally, to further undermine this argument of American benevolence and support of democratic values, let me remind you that the rise of Jeanne Kirkpatrick and the neo-cons in the late 70s was a normative response to the realism of Kissinger and the majority of foreign policy experts in both parties at the time. The neo-cons argued that the US should be a force for democracy (at all costs, so thus re-establishing the defense of American hegemony and self-interest and leading the moral implications ad absurdum), and should cut ties to all non-democratic regimes, AND ramp up military spending and challenge the Soviet Union, giving up the diplomacy that led to SALT and START, which Kirkpatrick et al felt was a betrayal of American values.

I am always amazed at the revisionism of Americans of even recent history. I did my under-grad at a top American school, and remember sitting in a class with 20 people, who were not able to answer who the Viet Cong was. I, the German, eventually embarrassingly answered the question. The Vietnam War ended just 30 years ago...

Posted by: Roland | December 6, 2005 05:28 PM

Roland: No, I do not buy into some romanticized view of history in which America is always the "good guy." Rather, I see lots of shades of gray. From a broad perspective, though, I generally think the US has been on the right side of history. The former issue--all of the gray--results largely from the fact that any state will pursue a foreign policy designed to protect and promote its own interest (Kissinger's realpolitik, as borrowed from Bismark). In the US's case, though, there is a unique tension created because, as Niall Ferguson point out (and Kissinger), America has often aligned its interests with the general promotion of democracy, yet has decided to compromise that ideal in specific situations (many that you noted above).
My overall point, though, is that whatever America's motives, Europe has been a (if not THE) primary beneficiary of America's efforts--efforts which came at a tremendous cost to America (see my first post). Therefore, I don't think it's too much to ask that criticism of US foreign policy coming from Europe should be both respectful and objective, even if vigorous. Yet, what I find on internet sites like this, and in my travels (my fiance is Austrian, so we spend a fair amount of time in Europe), is a tremendous amount of, as I noted above, unthinking (though it's not exclusively unthinking) and visceral anti-Americanism among the general European population. I find it both disappointing (unless the criticim is thoughtful and fair) and psychologically fascinating. Perhaps one of the UK papers summed it up best: "Europeans often exhibit a psychotic desire to bite the hand that freed them."

Posted by: LWP | December 6, 2005 09:34 PM

LWP, . The type of narrow American attitude that you display, is exactly why you find Europeans and others around the world react in a similar global anti-American fashion.

Europeans are fed up of being told that we should kiss the feet of Americans who single handed saved Europe in two world wars. This American concept, is the result of years of home grown propaganda, glorifying the American way as being the only way. The attitude of US personnel in Europe during the cold war period, drew the response " There are two things wrong with Americans, overpaid and over here." The perpetuation of the old attitude "If you disagree with us then you are a bad assed commie" which under G W Bush has become "If you disagree with me then you are a terrorist" is what gives rise to the current wave of anti-Americanism.

If you look deeper into the facts, you will see that the foreign policy of successive US administrations have always taken self interest into account in anything that is embarked on outside of US territory. Spending billions in Europe during the cold war, was done for reasons of self interest. Preparing to fight any war away from the US. kept the homeland safe. ,At the same time US corporations, especially arms industry made huge profits.

US Aid to third world countries (which is the lowest % of GDP of any major industrialised country) is always tied. The beneficiary countries only receive the aid to spend on goods and services originating in the US.

You say "that criticism of US foreign policy coming from Europe should be both respectful and objective". Europeans are generally much more objective than our counterparts in the USA. We have much more access to unbiased news reporting, In the USA you are spoon fed a diet of carefully filtered news fed to you by the Murdoch group. How objective is Fox News ?. As far as respect is concerned, is that the respect that the serfs of Europe where forced to show their masters in the middle ages?. How can we show respect to an administration that puts itself above the law and shows no respect for the rights of others.

On Tuesday, in Europe, the case of a German citizen who was abducted by the CIA came up. This man was abducted while on vacation in Macedonia, flown to Afghanistan, interrogated and held without trial for 5 months, then when the CIA found that they had the wrong guy he was dumped in Albania without any apology or recompense . He flew to the US, intending to sue the CIA, but was refused entry and turned back to Germany. Funny thing that although it was the lead story in the media across Europe (including Murdock's Sky News), There was not a single mention on the Tuesday CBS Evening News which I watched. I and millions of other Europeans will never show respect for any Country, that treats citizens of another sovereign country in such a way.

Posted by: Rick in Sweden | December 7, 2005 01:58 AM

Rick: Though you accuse me of being just another narrow-minded American, when I look back through the posts on this page I'm struck by this fact: In my posts I several times acknowledged American mistakes, acknowledged that America (like all other nations) often acts in its own interests, and that there are several bases for objective criticisms of America. In contrast, when I look at the posts of the American-skeptics (to use a polite term), I see nothing but angry, angry rants. I see no acknowledgment of America having made significant contributions to the world, and of America having valid foreign policy concerns that lead to actions that are sometimes good, sometimes bad. So, who are the truly narrowly-minded?
As I noted above, the psychology of anti-Americanism is fascinating. That's particularly true for Europeans, who have benefitted the most from America's actions--whether those American actions were primarily motivated by self-interest or not.

Posted by: LWP | December 7, 2005 02:57 AM

It's clear enough what you're insinuating, LWP. The old line that Europeans are secretly just jealous.
Please explain to me then why anti-American sentiment has rocketed during the tenure of GW Bush. Has American life become so much more enviable in the past five years?
I've already lived in the States, in fact my dad was an officer in your Navy. I have no desire to live there again.
I'll tell you what motivates my anti-Americanism. When the Cold War ended, Europeans expected both sides to pull back and stand down. And the Russians seemed willing to play along.
But the Americans reacted to the end of the Cold War in an unpredicted manner. They kept arming. By the mid-1990s their armed forces were growing again. And they started advancing into central Asia. They built bases inside the former Soviet Union itself. They are continually trying to provoke China into an arms race. They appear to belief that the Gulf belongs to them.
By 2000 the gap in arms between the US and rest of the world was huge for the simple reason that America had rejected the peace dividend.
They then apparently decided that they were above the law, and worse, were going to use force to dominate the new century.

We have signed confessions to this effect from the entire Republican leadership, on their PNAC website. Those papers are full of choice tidbits like: "We must discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role." (Libby and Wolfowitz)

We've seen the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States. It announces an intention to seize sole armed control of outer space, which apparently belongs to America. It also declares a willingness to attack non-nuclear states with nuclear weapons.

To me it's ironic that you suggest the history of the Cold War gives America the right to regard European sovereignty as less than complete. You believe we owe you for protecting us from a militaristic power determined to spread its ideology by force. We believe YOU ARE a militaristic power determined to spread its ideology by force...because that is what Bush says you are.

America is an aggressive expansionist power on course to destabilise the world. Why are there US troops in places like Mongolia and Kazakhstan? Show me the Russian military advisors in Honduras, the Chinese carrier fleet off San Diego. The map says it all.

I don't actually fear that the US is going to take over the world. In fact I'm certain it will fail - it's already failing. In the long run, the US can't hope to compete with the alliances it will stir up against itself. But I fear that in trying, they will bring us to World War Three, wiping out my family in the process. That is why I'm "viscerally" anti-American. It has nothing whatsoever to do with wanting to live in your house, believe me.

Posted by: OD | December 7, 2005 04:30 AM

OD, you hit the point exactly. with the end of the cold war, US arms manufacturers could see the loss of huge profits. If there is not a conflict starting by itself somewhere where they think they can make an indecent buck, they have and will start one. GW Bush is just the latest front guy for these crooks.
I am not Anti-American, I am anti- Bush and his ilk. I have worked for US aerospace companies and have found that the majority of Americans hold the same values as myself. What I can not stand is the arrogance of a small proportion of Americans that can dupe the majority into supporting their evil Intent.

I was born in the second world War, have seen what war does and never want to see it happen again. especially for the sake of our future generations

Posted by: Rick in Sweden | December 7, 2005 06:24 AM

LWP, you make a fair comment on anti-Americanism. I do think Europe has made lots of mistakes. I wish we would out-grow our Cold War passivity in foreign policy and be more pro-active on the world stage. It is too easy to criticize Bush right now, so unfortunately a lot Euro "statesmanship" stays negative. Why are there no forceful speeches on sending Euro troops to Darfur, e.g.? Kyoto and the Iran negotiations point to steps in being more positive and forceful, and hopefully will burgeon into more such actions and policies.

However, I do disagree with you that America has been right. Opposition to Hitler and to the USSR rarely were ideological, and largely pragmatic. There was no outrage per se about the Holocaust or gulags, just a realist assessment that WWII and then the Soviet Union were causing damage to American interest.

Unfortunately, this hegemonic foreign policy is expressed by most Americans in moral terms. In that, Americans are no different than other imperialist powers of course, who saw themselves as civilized and others as barbarians. But given our knowledge of history and access to information, I guess my criticism is that Americans fail to see the historical connections between their policies and other empires. Persians, Romans, Mongolians, Brits had little to no access to history books and information. That doesn't make their racism and civilizational social Darwinisim any better, but it does explain the ignorant response of most citizens. But Americans living today have no such excuse.

Many of us outside the US are frustrated that pat arguments about with us or against us are not deconstructed in any critical sense, and that childish notions of waving a flag are enough to win elections. We have the information to know better. Rove's tactics of framing policies and opponents are largely similar to Goebbels' tactics all the way to the police state mechanisms employed by Secret Service agents. Rove has merely altered them to fit our times. There is no difference in being arrested at a Bush rally for wearing a Kerry sticker, and Communists being marched off by the Gestapo, except in the qualitative outcome, though the US too has concentration camps. The scale is different, and the explicitness. Though again, most of the Bush violations of civil and human rights are known.

It is these historical comparisons that are apt and you never hear Americans drawing them, largely because they lack historical consciousness. Have you ever heard Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib referred to as concentration camps in the US? Why not? If they are not that, what are they? If having rallies for supporters only are not similar to clearing dissent in the 30s in Germany, what are they? Are Euros always critical and self-reflecting? No, but the historical connections are made to a much larger extent, and that is what is lacking in the US discourse. Simply because one says democracy and freedom in every second sentence does mean the US is democratic or free.

There is a great Kinky Friedman joke:

"What did the guy with 5 US flags on his pick-up say to the guy with 4 flags on his?

"Why don't you go back to Afghanistan, you commie m-f-er!"

I think it's really funny, but my Euro friends never really get the joke. Reflecting on why they might not, while most Americans get it, point to some of the frustrations expressed here.

Posted by: Roland | December 7, 2005 07:05 AM

This is a very interesting discussion. With three people directing comments at me, though, I confess I do not have the time to respond to every point--however valid a particular point might be. I will note this: The idea that the US is a militarily hegemonic empire in the same sense as the Romans or the British is problematic, at best. There were definitely times in the last 60 plus years (even now) that the power differential between the US and other countries (even our allies) was such that the US could have colonized much of the world. It did not. You may say that it is more of an "impire" than an "empire," but the difference is important. Also, after the fall of the Soviet Union, America did "stand down." There was in fact a significant decline in defense spending in the States throughout the 90s. In nominal dollar terms, it was only slight. But, as a percentage of GDP, it was significant. In fact, even though nominal dollar defense spending has increased significantly since 9/11, it is still MUCH smaller as a percentage of GDP than it was during the height of the Reagan years. Therefore, the implicit assumption in many of the arguments above (that America's foreign policy is built as a vehicle to promote the interests of defense manufacturers) doesn't quite hold up. Sorry that I do not have time to respond to every point made--many of which are valid. The Friedman joke is particularly funny.

Posted by: LWP | December 7, 2005 10:55 AM

Well, actually I do have one more comment. No, I do not think European anti-Americanism is generated by envy in the sense that Europeans want to live in America, or live an American life-style. Quite frankly, I wouldn't want to live in most places in America. But, I do think anti-Americanism is substantially motivated by envy in the sense that many Europeans (elites in particular) believe that America (culturally inferior America) has usurped Europe's historical role. I'm reminded of a speech Disraeli made to Parliament when justifying certain aggressive foreign policy decisions. In essence, he said: We build a British Empire so that our sons will be not just the envy of their countrymen, but the envy of the world. The desire is still there.

Posted by: LWP | December 7, 2005 11:29 AM

Thanks for your comments LWP. Really interesting reading your thoughts, and thank you for your tone and reflection throughout. While we have some disagreements, it's something I do want to point out at the end. Most message-board posters one encounters - including myself, LOL - tend to be, um ferocious, for lack of a better word :) . Let's hope we finally discover some statesmen (or better -women, and I ain't talking Merkel or Rice) in our countries. We have rarely needed some more than now.

Posted by: Roland | December 7, 2005 11:43 AM

" If fascism ever came to the United States, it would be wrapped in an American flag." Huey Long
It does feel when you are speaking to Americans generally, that first you have to get past their governments propaganda. If the truth is not available propaganda will do.

Posted by: G | December 7, 2005 12:32 PM

LWP, please spare us the tired-out claim that you Americans are better-off than us Europeans. You might have a higher per capita GDP than in some European countries, but the typical European enjoys a far higher (material and human) standard of living than the typical American. You Americans concentrate all your wealth in the hands of the elite; we Europeans spread it out much better throughout our societies. And we're far healthier and better educated and enjoy longer life expectancies. I've given up on using logic to appeal to American sensibilities over their self-proclaimed divine right to wage war wherever they feel so inclined. Americans are too ignorant, too macho and ill-informed for such appeals to logic to work.
So it's time for another more muscular solution. Yes, it is time to drive your economy further into the ground -- to make you pay for the crimes your government has committed against international law. We warned you Iraq would turn out this way if you invaded unilaterally. You ignored us and your thick-headed president actually thumbed his nose at us. So now it's time for you to pay, and pay dearly. America the bully needs to be taught a lesson: ignore international law by launching unilateral "pre-emptive" wars and you will pay in blood and jobs.

Posted by: Sven | December 7, 2005 04:27 PM

Roland: Thanks for the compliment. I do appreciate exchanges with people who are well-informed and thoughtful, even if (perhaps especially if) their position challenges my constructed world view. The problem with the posts on this page, though, is that I really don't know how to respond to many of the assertions when people are so sloppy with the facts and impervious to reason. Are Americans less well educated than they should be? Typically, yes. Are Europeans generally more well informed than Americans? Typically, yes. But, as someone who has been to Europe many times--the first time 13 years ago when I was an undergraduate--I'm also shocked at how marginally well-informed the general European population is. Yet, it's obvious by my discussions with many such Europeans--including Germans I studied with, Austrians in my fiance's family, and the people posting messages here--that many Europeans really believe they are MUCH more well informed and self-critical than Americans. I mean, really, other than being slightly amused, how do I respond rationally to so much of the angry, non-sensical, completely non-self-critical, and downright silly venom that's been asserted on the posts above? For example: Gael claiming (in a post on another page) that Harvard professors are uninformed idiots; Rick asserting that China will soon own 90% of US real estate (Fact: Though China has more than 4X the US population, China's economy--while growing quickly--is, at most, 1/7 the size of the States'. Even if China invested every penny of its GDP--impossible, of course--into buying real estate in the States, it would take decades to accumulate anything close to 90%). Sven asserting that someone (I'm not sure who, exactly) will drive America's economy into the ground to make us pay for violating international law (Sven: Does this mean that you plan to stop using all American made products, and all products developed with American licensed technology? I guess we'll never see you on this site again since you won't be using the internet. Enjoy the 19th century.)
It seems to me that these people are all guilty (to varying degrees) of the same thing they accuse Americans of--being under-informed, and drawing unthoughtful, emotionally charged (and angry) conclusions. I believe it was Plato who said that anger is inimical to reason. Hopefully, reason will eventually prevail. My experiences to date, though, make me less than optimistic. Best of luck.

Posted by: LWP | December 7, 2005 07:45 PM

LWP, like I mentioned, it has gotten to easy for Euros to hide behind the argument that "well, at least we're not as bad as the US." It's a great argument because it eliminates all need for self-criticism and pro-activeness: because the bar is set low and contentment is easy to reach. Hey, we have no Guantanamo, we're doing really well!!!

As I mentioned before, a lot of this has to do with the current generation of Euro politicians, who are basically a disaster (with the notable exception of Joschka Fischer). Reactive, complacent and no sense of creativity and forward-looking.

I hope to God that we (re-) discover true visionaries and statesmen that will push Europe in the right direction. Not looking back at the US in complacency, but looking forward towards all the issues to be tackled: let's get Kyoto strengthened in a big way (with or without the US); let's get pro-active on Darfur, and other human rights violations; let's clean up our dirty arms business that operates very actively on gray and black markets; let's make the EU a meaningful institution again and eliminate the petty politicking; let's also add a whole new set of democratic accountability mechanisms to the EU.

Just some things we desperately need to work on.

And regarding education/being informed. I would say the American intellectual elite is top, but the average European is probably more informed/educated than the average American. That does not mean that either average is on a high level. It also doesn't mean that the gap is enormous, but let me put it this way: most Euros know there is an ocean between the old and new world. My experience with some Americans, um, has not borne this out entirely!!!

Finally, I hope we CAN all agree that the torture employed by the US is unacceptable. Period. No Dershowitz ticking-bomb please. I can't believe we have the VP of a democracy vetoing bills because they FORBID torture. Agreed?

Posted by: Roland | December 7, 2005 09:05 PM

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do boycott American goods and will continue to do so as long as Bush is in office and the U.S. is in Iraq. Many I know do likewise. In addition, I have friends who had planned to take vacations in America who have chosen other destinations instead -- and who intend on continuing to do so, for precisely the same reasons. So, yes, I'm doing my little bit, where possible, to stand up against U.S. contempt for international law. I encourage everyone to do likewise.
And you, LWP, what are YOU doing about Bush administration crimes, other than changing the subject and scoffing and snearing at those of us who feel righteous indignation at the torture, abuduction, unilateral pre-emptive war and other crimes being committed in your nation's name?
Harold Pinter's speech at the Nobel Prize awards today got it exactly right and expresses the views of many millions of us: the U.S. is a leading force for terror and its president should be put on trial for crimes against humanity.
Failing that, those of us in the rest of the world can at least do our best to punish America economically for the contempt it has shown for international law.

Posted by: Sven | December 7, 2005 11:29 PM

Roland: Agreed on Kyoto. Agreed on torture. And, yes, I also think Fischer is a very interesting guy.

Sven: Your opinion as to whether the US has committed crimes against humanity is what it is. What I find so interesting, though, is the venom in your (and others') reaction. Did you have the same reaction when the (former) USSR invaded Afghanistan? When Iraq invaded Iran (and Kuwait)? When China ruthlessly oppressed (and continues to do so) the people of Tibet? When China compromised democracy in Hong Kong, and threatens to do so in Taiwan? Did you become as viscerally upset about those matters? Do you boycott Chinese goods (which are often made by people doing forced labor)? Did you object when Schroeder and Chirac wanted to lift the arms embargo against China? If the answer is "no," isn't it fair to ask yourself why? WHY so much venom just for the United States? It's the same question Harold Pinter should be asking himself. It brings us full circle to the issue I raised well above: The fascinating psychology of anti-Americanism.
What have I done to stop Bush? Well, I'm quite certain you and I would disagree as to whether Bush is guilty of crimes against humanity. But, I did vote against him twice, and encouraged others to do the same. In fact, it may surprise you (and others) to know that, despite America's alleged spiraling descent into lock-step fascism, 49% of American voters voted against Bush. And, his domestic strength is at an all-time low.

Rick: I still think you are vastly over-stating your case with respect to America's economic problems. Large budget deficits and lots of debt? Yes. But, America also has a $14 trillion dollar economy with pretty consistently strong growth. As a percentage of GDP, America's overall federal debt is large, but not terribly large--in fact, it's lower than many European countries, and much lower than Japan's (which had to borrow heavily during its decade-long recession). Also, the annual budget deficit is forecast to come in at about 3% of GDP this year, which is pretty typical for 1st World economies. The bigger problem is the trade deficit. That's a problem for everyone, though, because Americans are hooked on spending too much, and Asians and Europeans are hooked on selling too much to Americans.

Posted by: LWP | December 8, 2005 02:54 AM

The footage is out there for you to watch,"Talking to Americans" and the interview outside Harvard with the two professors. I think the CBC sells it. It is not a story I made up or an opinion I came to. It was a very funny episode of,"Talking to Americans" I can't make this stuff up, it is funny and insightful stuff. Last night I saw "Talking to Americans" in Washington. Rick Mercer was interviewing Canada's ambassador Frank McKenna.
McKenna spoke about the heavy handidness of America's politicians and America as "dysfunctional." That is an understatement. Ex Prime Minister Jean Chretien calls America " the headless giant" Very true.
LWP I am not claiming that Harvard professors are uninformed idiots, I told you about a funny interview of two Professors. The ignorance they exhibited is not unusual. It is up to you to find this information, it is out there.I am not going to spoon feed you and provide it for you.
There was another episode of " Talking to Americans" where Rick Mercer caught up with Bush on the campaign trail and asked him about the Canadian Prime Minister and gave a completely made up name which Bush never caught. He said to say hello to (made up name). We all laughed at him, as we did at the average Americans interviewed who had no clue. They were as informed as their President. As Americans in general.
How many Americans have shown up in the middle of summer crossing the border with skis and skidoos assuming that Canada is a land of perpetual winter. You can't make this stuff up.

Posted by: Gael | December 8, 2005 09:50 AM

LWP, there has no doubt been a great deal of evil practised by the likes of China, Iraq under Saddam and others, but at least these nations have not set themselves up as "the world's policeman," a "shining beacon for democracy" the way your United States does, even as it commits crimes that are every bit as evil and represent a far greater danger to humanity than anything these less powerful nations could do or have done.
When was the last time China thumbed its nose at the international community and ignored experts' and allies' advice to wage a "pre-emptive war" on false pretenses that ended up creating a huge breeding ground for terrorists and destabilizing an entire region of the world?
And look at the long sorry list of vicious, murderous rightwing dictatorships all around the world put in power by your United States.
Get your priorities straight: the United States, especially under Bush and Dick 'Torture' Cheney, represents the single greatest force for evil in the world today.
Harold Pinter, the Nobel winning playwright, got it bang on in his acceptance speech this week.
The U.S. believe they are somehow above international law. We must therefore teach them the hard way that they are every bit as subject to international law as any other nation and will pay a high price in blood, jobs and wealth each and every time they violate international law. If the bully America is to ever learn, it must first be made to pay dearly for its crimes.

Posted by: Sven | December 8, 2005 10:44 AM

I still see little effort at balanced or critical self-reflection among the American-skeptics (with a few notable exceptions). When did China last thumb its nose at the international community? Well, at the very least, when it openly murdered thousands of its own citizens at Tianamen Square, despite desperate requests by the outside world to respect the students' right to protest. There are several other such incidents involving China since then (though not as dramatic and not on that scale). Yet, I'm quite sure the houses of Gael, Rick, and Sven are filled with Chinese goods with nary a concern (other than a concern that it cost a lost job in your home country). Focusing all of your venom on just the United States because in your view it is the most "evil" and "ignorant" (take your pick) nation on the planet is fascinating.

Posted by: LWP | December 8, 2005 12:04 PM

LWP is partly right here. Don't get into the position of defending the Chinese government's domestic behaviour.

But he's also partly wrong. There really are American deeds as black as almost anything these states have done.

One of the worst cases in my opinion is Angola, where the US supported the psychotic guerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi in a war that killed two million people. The only reason they supported him was their objection to Angola's use of Cuban troops to fight illegal South African incursions.

He was a paid CIA asset, and in 1986 when Reagan welcomed Savimbi to the White House he talked of Unita winning "a victory that electrifies the world and brings great sympathy and assistance from other nations to those struggling for freedom" - though being a captive satellite of apartheid South Africa strikes me as an odd definition of national freedom.

Because no US troops were involved, most Americans had no idea they were even in this war. That is par for the course. Most Americans also had no idea why the Iranians were so mad at them in 1979.

"Focusing all of your venom on just the United States because in your view it is the most "evil" and "ignorant" (take your pick) nation on the planet is fascinating."

LWP, if this were the aftermath of Grozny I'd be criticising the Russians. If it were the aftermath of Tiananmen I'd be criticising the Chinese - as the world did.

But this is 2005 and the most egregious great-power behaviour is coming from the States.

"I do think anti-Americanism is substantially motivated by envy in the sense that many Europeans (elites in particular) believe that America (culturally inferior America) has usurped Europe's historical role."

In other words our main objection to Iraq is that we aren't doing it ourselves. I think you fundamentally misunderstand Europeans. The real truth is that World Wars One and Two knocked all the militarism out of Europe's people.

When they see the invasion of Iraq, they're reminded of Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia, which broke the League of Nations. They believe the invasion of Iraq was a similar attempt by a militaristic power to shatter international law. The 2003 invasion was, first and foremost, a deliberate attack on the United Nations and the articles banning aggressive war.

We know this because the war's architects have admitted it.
"Saddam Hussein...will go quickly, but not alone: in a parting irony, he will take the UN down with him. Well, not the whole UN. The 'good works' part will survive, the low-risk peacekeeping bureaucracies will remain, the chatterbox on the Hudson will continue to bleat. What will die is the fantasy of the UN as the foundation of a new world order. As we sift the debris, it will be important to preserve, the better to understand, the intellectual wreckage of the liberal conceit of safety through international law administered by international institutions...."

Richard Perle, Asst Sec'y Defense 1981-87
Chairman Defense Policy Review Board 2003
Leading Iraq warplanner
March 2003, Spectator Magazine (British)

I notice you didn't respond to my points about US expansionism in Asia and their odd reaction to the end of the Cold War. Nothing to say on that?

Posted by: OD | December 8, 2005 01:05 PM

By the way, Gael is mostly right about Mercer. He got candidate Bush to welcome an endorsement from "Prime Minister Jean Poutine" of Canada.

Proving that Bush not only doesn't know the names of neighbouring leaders, but he is also stupid enough to believe that (a) Canada's PM would take sides in a US election, and (b) a Canadian liberal would support a Republican.

And it's not just Bush, Gov. John Engler of Michigan, a border state with Canada, also fell for the Poutine gag.

In Arkansas, Mercer got Gov. Mike Huckabee to congratulate Canadians on their efforts to preserve their "national igloo," which Mercer had told him was melting because of global warming.

And he got American university professors to sign a petition urging and end to the "Toronto polar bear hunt." Toronto is a city of about three million people, and it's further south than Minneapolis or Portland, Oregon.

Posted by: OD | December 8, 2005 01:14 PM

personally, I would like to see europe fend for itself for once. I don't see why the US tax payer must foot the bill the defend european borders and their way of life. If the europeans see Americans as so monstrous and vile, then please tell use to leave your countries for good. Let's se how long your "free" health care lasts when you have to build up your own militaries for your own defense.

Posted by: Mario Sanchez | May 3, 2006 07:54 PM

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