GEORGE BUSH WORLD TOURDave Schuyler
at The Glittering Eye has an excellent post up on the motivations for George Bush's fence-mending tour
( note the Chirac-Bush lovefest
) to Old Europe."...So why has Bush gone to Europe? I think there are three reasons. First, half a loaf is better than none. Anything that Europe can bring to the party will be gratefully received. Second, when the French and Germans stiff him (as they undoubtedly will), they will look churlish. This won't go un-noted in New Europe. For New (or Old) Europeans who aren't predisposed to despise anything American this may be a very important trip particularly if, as some have predicted, the European Union collapses within 15 years.But Bush is a politician and the third and, in my opinion, most significant reason for Mr. Bush's Grand Tour must certainly be for domestic political consumption. What might the domestic political considerations for this trip be? He may be trying to demonstrate that he's doing his utmost on the diplomatic front. This should strengthen his hand for whatever actions are required as future events unfold. And there's a lot of unfolding going on. "
My expectations bar for the Germans and French is a low one. Paris and Berlin will pursue their own perceived national interests, much of which involves acting as a self-appointed, soft-power, balance to American primacy. However, there still remain fairly large areas for cooperation in mutual interest ( getting the Syrians out of the Bekaa for one) and trips such as these smooth the path. As irritating as French Gaullist and German leftist politicians can be, so long as their envy and anti-Americanism continues to be expressed selectively, we can count on them to help us when it is in their selfish interests to do so.
I also recommend checking out the American Future
for Marc Shulman's
coverage of the Bush trip.