What's With Europe?

Just for fairness’s sake, I should mention that I spent those three years in Europe living hidden in Space Mountain at EuroDisney, occasionally flashing underage French chicks and dodging security guards who chased me, trying to hit me with baguettes.

You know, speaking of sovreignity and all, what about the Swedish citizen locked up in Guantanamo. The Swedish government demanded that he should be charged with a crime and be given the chance to defend himself, or be released. That was a month ago, no answer yet from the US state department. What gives the USA the right to arbitrarily detain foreign nationals, in a foreign country no less, for an indefinite amount of time, without giving them any legal defense and imprisoning them in what could best be described as cattle pens?

I have heard several reports on radio programs that France and Germany both are profiting greatly through trade with Iraq. Selling to Saddam at inflated prices since many other countries are still participating in the embargo. Saddam pays because money is one thing he is not in short supply of.

Having said this. There is little to no mention of it on network news outlets and I cannot understand why, if these reports are accurate, are people not screaming about it from the rooftops. Of course Chirac and Schroeder are against war, they are making a fortune.

Protest has truly become a post-modern art. Affluent white New Yorkers hoist posters of Malcolm X and chant “No to Bush’s Racist War.”

It’s almost as if they’re mounting a Warholian pastiche of every protest movement since 1960, all rolled up into one massive parody of a protest movement.

You aren’t by any chance using a black and white monitor?

Are you on good terms with your in-laws? They might have been talking about you.

Hah! Exactly right. You certainly don’t need to know what you’re talking about to be a marcher. Check out these precious moments from this weekend’s protests:

LOL! The “Peace in Our Time” protest poster is true genius.

Agreed- very funny subversion. Makes me wish I did it.

I don’t get the joke.

That’s what Chamberlain said he had achieved by appeasing Hitler up to 1939.

Is that photo for real, or a Photoshop job?

Perhaps, but…

It’s mostly differences over a) the use of morality in statecraft and b) not trusting Bush’s intentions.

…This is an absurdly simplistic interpretation. And I’m not saying that you are simplistic, since you tend to make intelligent arguments. But I think this statement was a bit too off-the-cuff. Bush didn’t invent anti-Americanism in Europe, and there is clearly more to the current sentiment that Europe’s collective opinion of Bush. I’d agree with Guest that an ever-increasing dependency on the US throughout the 20th century is probably the root cause. I think that the Marshall Plan, in particular, was the turning point for American popularity in Western Europe. Many Europeans saw it as a form of capitalistic imperialism, even though many countries owe their very existence to the billions of dollars that we gave them so that they could rebuild after the war.

I’m not saying that the US is a rosy paragon of goodness and that all Europeans are ungrateful louts. But I don’t think we should be so hasty to beat ourselves up because some European countries don’t like us, either.

Why do we care what the hell France thinks about invading Iraq, for instance? France has about as much military relevance in today’s world as Jamaica, and they hardly have cause to claim the moral high ground. Isn’t this the same country that has yet to shoulder the blame for atrocities comitted under the Vichy government? At least Germany faced its demons; France swept theirs under the rug. Perhaps a little more morality in statecraft is what’s called for.

Okay, I have a fair bit of criticism towards Europe too, but this is about the US.
Fundamentalism. Self-doubt seems to be completely lacking in most corners of the US, which I think can be lethal in the long-term. There is never a constant right.

Right now, the president of the United States seem to be very negative towards the concept of bureaucracy and “politicking”. I get suspicious when people are against those.

The image I get of the US is a country that takes the moral high ground all the freaking time. “World’s Greatest Democracy!” “Home of the Brave/the Free/Liberty” and so on, while their foreign policy has, just like almost every other country been self-serving. I think though, that a lot of countries (I’m talking Rich Countries, aka Western countries) have recognized that a general development for peace in the world and so on is for the better (if this is because it’s easier to exploit nations in a way that’s not immediately noticeable is more profitable remains unsaid), while at least the current administration of the US sees war as a viable solution. Europe has a history of constant warfare, I think it’s likely a lot of people are disillusioned with that concept.

This might fall into the category of jealousy, but I think it’s a shame and quite disgusting that the state of basic worker’s rights in the US is so deplorable. I mean, yeah sure, we can go back to Manchester liberalism, but I don’t quite see the point of it.

The current path the Western world is on will, from where I’m standing, end in total war. The US is the most powerful nation and the leader of the Western world, no wonder it gets mentioned a lot. Does people really think we can own so fucking much of the world and not get terrorists?

After hearing from a female friend how she was treated when she lived in the US, I’m rather annoyed about that too.

But the worst, absolutely most jarring thing about the US is that it could be so great, and are still defined by such terms as conservatism, isolationism and anti-intellectualism. Such a waste.


Oh, this isn’t quite correct. It’s more like a monorail foreign policy/attitude (mostly attitude) which we perceive.

One other thing. The US “saved” Europe in WW1? Uh. What?

It’s almost as if they’re mounting a Warholian pastiche of every protest movement since 1960, all rolled up into one massive parody of a protest movement.

I’ve been saying that for months, just not quite so elegantly. What we’ve got is a lot of people with a romanticized notion of the 60s peace movement who are trying to recreate it. It is a complete joke. There were lots of really good reasons to oppose the Vietnam war, but the best they seem to be able to come up with this time is War=Bad. Yeah, well, sometimes No War=Worse. If these people want something to protest why don’t they march against Saddam’s continued human rights violations? Or call for him to go into exile so real disarmament can be assured? But no, they’re protesting US Action. War could be avoid and peace manintained, but it’s not completely up to the US, Saddam’s role in this has been completely ignored. Then again, it’s pretty stupid to protest a brutal dictator like Hussein. Just what kind of change can be expected of him simply because a million Frogs got together in Paris with signs. After all, Saddam’s been dicking around the UN for 12 years, like some protesters thousands of miles away will have better luck.

Jimminy Christmas, what are you? A Commie? Americans have a negative attitude towards those things because we generally percieve them as being inefficient and more concerned with self preservation than genuine, quality service for the populace.

One other thing. The US “saved” Europe in WW1? Uh. What?

Well, what do you expect from the US educational system, when 11% of American high school students can’t even pick out their own country on an unmarked map of the world, according to an international geography survey by National Geographic? Nearly a third of US high school students couldn’t even locate the Pacific Ocean.

Coincidentally, I’m sure you’ll be interested to hear that Swedish students performed the highest on that survey. ;)

I have to admit, I’m not impressed with the American demonstrators and the freakish organizers of the anti-war movement. I’ve got no real idea what it’s like overseas but here, yeah, it’s a joke. It’s not even a subtle joke - I’ve seen mockery made of this failure to communicate a rational position on everything from the Daily Show to Saturday Night Live - and from lots of political cartoonists on every side of the issue.

That said, you can’t entirely dismiss the largest organized global protest in human history as ‘wanting to relive the 60’s.’ I think there’s a deep mistrust of America out there (and of this administration in particular here as well). That the Bush Administration -seems- to be flying fast and loose with facts and rationalizations for their war, one which many people on this team were lobbying for long before 9/11, nobody is convinced it’s just about weapons of mass destruction. So they have to invent their own answers for what the real motive is. Given the perception of the neo-imperial Bush Doctrine and the adminstration’s open disdain for the concerns of other nations about global issues in the past- they’re going to assume the absolute worst most of the time.

Sure, weak countries that need us for support - their leaders will back us. Idealogues will back us. Still the feeling on the street, and not just from protesters but scientific polls, is that no country’s population (outside of Israel and the US) is convinced that this is a necessary war. Some numbers in our best allies are borderline convinced they’d put up with a war if we get a specific U.N. resolution. But I tell you what, those leaders in Italy, Spain, Australia and England are getting a bit worried about the next elections as they well should be.

If an American administration hadn’t gotten into the habit of carrying like strident, self-righteous, unilateral jackasses that administration might have a better chance with the ‘trust us - we know this is a good thing even if we can’t prove it’ move even if it could trigger off a powderkeg of a cultural war right in the middle of the global gas station. As it is we’re reaping what we’ve sowed and we don’t have much room to grouse about it.

On another note: I happened to see the Christian Coalition’s meeting on C-Span and they were pretty pleased with how this wonderful administration and legislature were handling this Iraq business and how they were getting such wonderful access (they talked about an upcoming fundraiser and dropped some names of congressmen). This was squeezed in between wide-eyed ranting about how natural disasters wrack this country every time we ask Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians (from, I kid you not, a White House correspondant from an independant ‘Christian’ news service) or how Islam is a religion of hate from a think-tank gentleman whose talking head I’ve seen on MSNBC’s Hardball among other places - saying far more palatable things for the broader audience there.

Then we’ve got this adminstration’s easily demonstrated oil ties, the personal history of many that revolves around the last war in Iraq and regrets about not finishing business, and the pressures of a strong pro-Israel lobby (on both parties).

Is it at all surprising that folks outside the States might not ‘get it’ and might suspect some really zany things? All they have to do, even if they’re entertaining believing Bush’s declared motives, is look to our ‘friends’ like Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, or even Syria and Iran whom we’re cooperating with on some levels, to wonder if there’s more to it than a repressive regime and weapons of mass destruction. If that’s the case, what ever happened to North Korea? Aren’t they getting ready to mass produce fissable material? Don’t they export weapons technology? Haven’t they threatened a preemptive strike and negating the cease fire? Sure, it could be all bluster. Sure. But…Iraq’s a bigger problem?

I think it’s time to take the blinders off. Maybe there are really good reasons to go into Iraq. Maybe we can bribe and strongarm a coalition of the weakwilled into backing this attack. The cost in America’s stature with the people of the world will be immeasureable and long lasting in the best scenarios I can imagine. At the worst, we’ll see how democracy works when leaders that supported this attack, with evidence that at the best is sketchy and no domestic political cover, will get replaced in office by politicians as wary of, or hostile to, the Bush administration as their people demonstrably are.

Worth it?[/i]

Sound like America’s usual anti-European propaganda to me… I’m not aware that France or Germany are trading with Iraq outside of what is allowed by the UN. And where should Saddam get the money he’s supposedly paying? The Iraqi currency should be pretty much worthless these days. Last time I checked business with Iraq was restricted to swapping oil for food and medical drugs.

That’s a good question. By all rights Saddam should be striken with poverty. But he always seems to have money for this week’s new palace, or the largest mosque in the world. He’s probably an Alpaqua farmer on the side or something.