Saturday, July 23, 2005

An interview, the vicar of American realism accepts that the spirit of the Europeans is broken:

"Their problem is that European countries' constituencies now won't make any sacrifice for anything, either domestically or abroad, and the leaders know what the consequences of a defeat in Iraq will be. They have been helping us, within the limits of what they can do without any domestic penalty. They're no longer trying to thwart us. But it's not a heroic face. "
Moving France from the "thwarting" to "non-heroic" category would be a significant win for the US. We are very used to a non-heroic Germany ("heroic" Germans tend to cause trouble for us!), but the troublesome French by contrast have given us much grief.

If we work with India, China, and other powers the GWOT will be long but winnable. If we would have to work against France, our victory would be less assured.

-Dan tdaxp
"heroic" Germans tend to cause trouble for us

Lol ! Never let it be said that you do not have a talent for understatement Dan.

One of my mentors, an old school, Social-Democratic historian once expounded to his grad and doctoral students, including myself, on the extensive contributions Germany had made to the creation of the modern university " That was" he concluded with emphasis " a good thing the Germans did !"

To which I replied " And perhaps the last good thing ". :o)
Spirit broken?

Come now mates, get a bit real.

Primo, it is more than a bit rich for Americans to be lecturing about sacrifice given the US Administration has been working on a "Guns and Butter" basis that is unsustainable.

Secundo, it is further rich to attribute European reluctance to pure domestic constituency issues when in fact it was US Admin incompetence in the selling of the entire poorly conceived adventure. Better initial sales or even some post "initial phase" engagement might have gone a long way to winning people over.

However, the Bush Administration dealt with one and all in a high handed manner. Spirit has little to nothing to do with the lack of European engagement in the US vision, distrust of the competence of the executors however does.

In short, "spirit broken" is navel gazing self indulgent bullshit fairy tale telling for self deception.

I leave aside entirely the issue that a war on Terror is an absurdity to begin with.
Well Col,I appear to have caught you on one of your more testy days.

Henry Kissinger is hardly a typically American voice in these observations. The man has never shed his central European worldview any more than he has his accent.

The highanded diplomatic posture of the Bush administration - and clumsy lobbying by Wolfowitz - certainly aggravated the problems with Europe but it didn't create them. A lower political transaction cost was certainly achievable rather than what we ended up with ultimately. For that matter, doing the Occupation right would have helped.

On the other hand, nothing would have moved Schroeder's position. Russia, Germany and France all had conceptions of national interest invested in Saddam's Iraq ( not least, debts owed) and France and China had geopolitical interests in play as well.

As for " spirit", continental interest in military capabilities were already in visible decline by the mid-1970's Col. Some would trace this back to the Suez crisis.

Getting the Europeans to make their projected contributions to NATO in the 1970's and 1980's proved to be generally fruitless endeavors and only a massive amount of American pressure, coupled with the collaboration of Helmut Schmidt,Mitterand,Thatcher, Kohl sustained NATO policy to counter the Soviet SS-20 deployment.

After 1991 and with the costs of German reunification and EU integration the military became still less of a budgetary priority - even for things that supposedly advanced " European counterbalance" like a rapid reaction force.

So while the conservative part of the American media does exaggerate this phenomena, there's some substance to this complaint.
Can't be warm and fuzzy all the time. Jet lag helps.

I grant readily that there is a certain underlying issue of EU European passivity in regards to emerging issues. European semi-demilitarisation is a reality, fatigue perhaps.... No matter, better that way perhaps, and nothing new. However not all capacity is tanks and the like.

That being said, the US Administration's sheer incompetence made the present bed it has to lay in. I note that Abu Bush, a man I continue to have much respect for, sold the first adventure well (although I recall I personally found the freedom rhetoric stupid knowing that the Kuwaitis were and are a bunch of corrupt and often murderous [if more polite and less gangsterish] scum themselves).

The near collapse in support for US Gov. policies even among 'rightish' Europeans speaks to the damage done by sheer incompetence.

Of course in re taking on Iraq, all countries pursued their perceived interests. I expect nothing less, above all in the context of such a poor job of salesmanship, and an even poorer display in the run up of understanding of what they were getting into. Were I a French decision maker, or a German one, I would have tried to derail the rushed cockamamie unnecessary scheme as well. Bloody rational.

If something is worth doing, it is worth doing right at the very least, and the sheer clumsiness of the entire run up looked like some ultra-left anti-globo bozo's charicature of the US - except these contemptible idiots were playing to it.
Hi Col,

One of my close friends worked as a WH aide for Bush sr. ( she also worked for Clinton, it was an apolitical posting) not policy but a job requiring some regular proximity. An exciting time to be a fly on the wall.

Even though that WH had a buttoned up, professional style Bush sr. was always seemed to her extremely much at ease with foreign leaders, ambassadors, VIP's. Natural affinity. Not so much the case in meetings with domestic politicians. Much the reverse for for his son who despite inarticulate moments has a great knack for intuitively reading his fellow American politicians. Foreign leaders no - or at least out of sight out of mind.
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