The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, May 21, 2007
UPDATED Our Pathological European "Allies"
UPDATED: Victor Davis Hanson, in another post today (i.e. other than the one Glenn linked), thinks that all hope is not lost for the Euros, but that they need to Cut America Some Slack. Read it all:
For five years we have been lectured that George Bush ruined the trans-Atlantic relationship. But now we see pro-American governments in both France and Germany, and a radical change in attitudes from Denmark to Holland to Italy. The truth is that the Europeans neither hated nor loved Bill Clinton, whom they on occasion privately seethed at for not exercising leadership, or George Bush who swaggered and talked tough to them during the lead-up to Iraq and seemed to them to be rudely unilateral. Instead, after getting their teen-age anger out, they are starting to see that the United States did not fabricate Islamic radicalism nor order them to let in and then not assimilate millions of now angry Muslims.
For all the cheap shots, the European public is worried about importing half their natural gas from Vladimir Putin, who now bullies Eastern Europeans, former Soviet republics, and dissidents well beyond his borders on the premise that his oil wealth and nukes ensure Europe can’t and won’t do anything.
Europeans know they won’t or can’t stop the Iranians from getting a nuke, but hope someone—that is, the United States—will. And from the Spanish flight from Iraq after the Madrid bombing, the spectacle of the British naval personnel in Iranian hands, and the continental paralysis after the Danish cartoons and other serial Islamic affronts to free expression, Europe knows that radical Islam is both dangerous and has little respect for either European moral authority or force of arms.
So it is they, not us, that are returning to sobriety in matters of the trans-Atlantic relationship, and they are doing this not because of affection for George Bush, but despite their anxiety about him. And that is good news, since it suggests the warming exists apart from personalities, and reminds us that if the so-called and much deprecated “West” were ever to act in unison (the former British commonwealth, Japan, the US, and continental Europe), then radical Islam would simply have no chance against 8-900 million of the planet’s most productive, ingenious and democratic peoples.
At some point, European statesmen are going to bump into a great truth: that they spend almost nothing on defense, but intrinsically have access to the United States military, both by shared values, or at least the memory of shared values, and the allegiance of the American people to this now ridiculed, now archaic notion known as the “West.” All they have do is to occasionally show some warmth to the United States, and we crazy American people whether in World War I, II, the Cold War, or the war on terror, give our all to them—at no cost. We sense that Merkle and Sarkozy and the majorities that elected them, finally fear that they were reaching the point of American exasperation at which the old ties were broken for good, adn Europe was truly to be on its own, and thus pulled back—in time?