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An Open Letter to Victor Davis Hanson

by Alexander G Rubio Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 04:11:11 AM EST

from the diaries. -- Jérôme

The historian, and influential thinker in US administration circles, Victor Davis Hanson has written "A Letter to the Europeans", in which, not for the first time, he takes Europe to task for not standing shoulder to shoulder with The United States in its War on Terror. His field of expertise is the history of warfare, in particular as regards ancient Greece. His most recent book is "A War Like No Other : How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War".

Though the letter is in many ways a plea, an outstretched hand and a love letter to the European heritage, there's no lack of scorn for what Mr Hanson perceives as modern day Europe's deficient backbone.

Although we Americans think the European Union is a flawed notion and will not survive to fulfill its present aspirations, we hope in some strange way that it does — for both our sakes of having a proud partner in a more dangerous world to come rather than an angry and envious inferior, nursing past glories while blaming others for self-inflicted wounds of the present.

Even in this era of crisis, we cling to the notion that in the eleventh hour you, Europe, will yet reawake, rediscover your heritage, and join with us in defending the idea of the West from this latest illiberal scourge of Islamic fascism. For just once, if only for the purpose of theatrics, we would like to urge calm and restraint to a Europe angry, volatile, and threatening, in the face of blackmail and taunts from a third-rate theocracy in Tehran — or a two-bit fascist thug fomenting hate and violence from a state-subsidized mosque in a European suburb.
(...)
On the home front, a single, though bloody, attack in Madrid changed an entire Spanish election, and prompted the withdrawal of troops from Iraq — although the terrorists nevertheless continued, despite their promises to the contrary, to plant bombs and plan assassinations of Spanish judicial officials. Cry the beloved continent.
(...)


Abroad you face even worse challenges. In the post-Cold War you dismantled your armed forces, and chose to enhance entitlements at the expense of military readiness. I fear you counted only on a tried and simple principle: That the United States would continue to subsidize European defense while ignoring your growing secular religion of anti-Americanism.
(...)
The world is becoming a more dangerous place, despite your new protocols of childlessness, pacifism, socialism, and hedonism. Islamic radicalism, an ascendant Communist China, a growing new collectivism in Latin America, perhaps a neo-czarist Russia as well, in addition to the famine and savagery in Africa, all that and more threaten the promise of the West.

So criticize us for our sins; lend us your advice; impart to America the wealth of your greater experience — but as a partner and an equal in a war, not as an inferior or envious neutral on the sidelines. History is unforgiving. None of us receives exemption simply by reason of the fumes of past glory.

Either your economy will reform, your populace multiply, and your citizenry defend itself, or not. And if not, then Europe as we have known it will pass away — to the great joy of the Islamists but to the terrible sorrow of America.


It goes without saying that I feel Mr Hanson is mistaken, on a number of counts. So I've written him a small letter to, not so much argue with his stance, as to try to explain my own attitude, and that of, I think, many Europeans, which I think Mr Hanson hasn't really grasped.

How do you do, Mr Hanson?

Being a European, with a perhaps greater than average regard for Western culture and civilisation stretching back to the ancient Greeks, it was with considerable interest I read your recent article, "A Letter to the Europeans (Cry the beloved continent)". There are, unsurprisingly, a point or two on which our views differ.

I'll not venture to refute the somewhat childish American chest-thumping on the superior performance of the US economy etc., other than to question whether the slow, but steady growth of the European economies, improving the quality of life for broad sections of the population, and based on a prudent fiscal policy, as opposed to the growth of the US economy, built on ever more precarious financial bubbles, a mountain of debt and the pawning off of the family silver, won't turn out to be the most resilient in the end.

But that to one side. It is the so called war on terror, and its incarnation in Iraq, that lies at the heart of this matter.

Yes, Islamist fundamentalism is a very real danger and utterly anathema to Western values. And the time may well come when it will become necessary to defend those values by force of arms, and if that time comes, I think you will find that we effete Europeans have lost none of our flair for fighting, or our ability to beat our plowshares into swords, when need compels.

But the thing is that many, perhaps most of us, do not see this present US venture as a conflict between a defender of Western secular ideals against the forces of religious fundamentalism, but rather as a conflict, for a number of various motives, between two parties, spurred on by twin religious fervours, neither of which carries the torch for the values of the West. And to that is added the small point of victory.

The premier rule of war, which The United States may still be too young, and too little bloodied by history, to have fully internalised, is, avoid the ones you're likely to lose.

What The United States saw as spite and lack of fibre on the part of the nations of Europe in the run-up to this war, was the almost instant realisation on the part of most Europeans that the strategy proposed by The US was almost certain to lead to little gain, or even be counter-productive, as indeed has been the case. Even those who originally defended this war, and still defend the reasons for which it was fought, can hardly avoid the realisation that the practical results have been less than stellar.

We saw the same claims of European perfidy and cowardice levelled at us when the nations of Europe declined to join The United States in its war in Vietnam. But, Mr Hanson, with the benefit of hindsight, do you feel that they would have been wise to participate in that war? France had learned that there was no way, short of utter barbarity, to win such a conflict, and little profit in doing so. In addition France, and many other European powers who had experienced similar late colonial conflicts, was also never deluded into thinking they were fighting internationalist communism, but rather good old fashioned nationalism.

Again what the US is fighting here, today, is not Islamism bent on conquest, but Iraqi nationalism and tribalism. It is a fight that will not be won in any meaningful way, unless fought with utter barbarity. And even then, it would gain Western civilisation little.

Yes, Europe will fight for its ideals when threatened, but not under this banner, and not in this battle.

All the best.

Alexander G. Rubio



This article is also available at Bitsofnews.com.

Display:
That guy isn't mistaken: he's either a liar or a fool, but not mistaken.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 04:18:20 AM EST
LOL! I was trying to be polite and diplomatic... yes, it's a novel idea for me, and sure to pass ;)

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Alexander G Rubio (alexander.rubio@gmail.com) on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 04:30:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent work Rubio.

I read your "Greek stuff".... and I suggest to ALL that they read it too.

Your take on the Iliad was brilliant.

by Euroliberal on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 01:17:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what do you mean, colman?

self-convinced?

great letter, alexander.

i for one do not welcome our new global overlords.

 ironically, if the 60's social revolution had not been corrupted and mostly decimated, leaving us with 50's types like rummy calling the shots, i well might have.

a benign lone superpower might morph into a wise new world order, but i'm hoping the present ship-of-fools captains are a giant toxic crap about to be ejected from the colon of the body politic, leaving a mae west cleanliness....pun intended.

the swiftest, surest way to defang the mullah-whipped tsunami of religious frenzy against the west would be an attack of generosity that would show the arab peoples that our intentions really are noble.

if every time we'd dropped a cluster bomb, or irradiated unborn children into deformation with depleted uranium, instead we had offered solar panels and 12 volt well tech, hospitals, schools and infrastructure improvement, we would not have to be crowing about democracy to them as they rue the loss of basic services they enjoyed under their 2 bit tinpot throwback saddam.

they would be in a big hurry to exchange their oil so we could plane down gently into sustainability, for the tools to ensure quality of life after their own oil runs out.

and likewise they would reject shari'a law as the medieval atrocity it is, and try something better.

best of all would be if we really embodied successful democracies ourselves, instead of the present rule of corporations, whose shareholders cannot see the real world effects of their worship of bloodless numbers, and the hell it is marching the world towards.

now i'm going to bake some bread and play the baby grand, which got delivered yesterday (almost taking down the pergola on its way in!)

have a loving sunday y'all!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 05:55:28 AM EST
Just damn. You beat me to it!

The world's northernmost desert wind.
by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 05:58:08 AM EST
Sorry 'bout that!

Next time Mr Hanson has some advice for us (and you know it's in the mail), you can set him straight ;)

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Alexander G Rubio (alexander.rubio@gmail.com) on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 06:08:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great letter, nothing to add!
by das monde on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 12:11:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not as a letter back, but a running commentary:


It is not just that as Westerners you have withstood -- often later at our side -- all prior challenges to the shared liberal civilization you created, whether the specter of an Ottoman global suzerainty, Bonapartism, Prussian militarism, Nazism, fascism, Japanese militarism, or Soviet Communism.

I can't help being reminded, yet again, of Thatcher's quote ("in this century, all the problems of the world have come from the continent and all the solutions from the English-speaking world"). This is a slightly wider view than this century, as it includes Napoleon, the Prussians, the Ottomans and the Japanese, but it's in the same vein. Napoleon (or the Prussians, for that matter) as a threat to "liberal civilisation" is a somewhat partial view, but no matter. Maybe what's more interesting is what's missing in that list, things like colonialism, the massacres of indigenous people, and, inside our countries, reactionary forces...


In the multiracial society of the United States, an American black, Asian, or Latino finds natural affinity in London and Brussels in a way not true in Lagos, Ho Chi Min City, or Lima. For millions of Americans "Eurocentric" is no slur -- for it is an appellation of shared values and ideas not of race.

Even in this debased era of multiculturalism that misleads our youth into thinking no culture can be worse than the West, we all know in our hearts the truth that we live by and the lie that we profess -- that the critic of the West would rather have his heart repaired in Berlin than in Guatemala or be a Muslim in Paris rather than a Christian in Riyadh, or a woman or homosexual in Amsterdam than in Iran, or run a newspaper in Stockholm rather than in Havana, or drink the water in Luxembourg rather than in Uganda, or object to his government in Italy rather than in China or North Korea. Radical Muslims damn Europe and praise Allah -- but whenever possible from Europe rather than inside Libya, Syria, or Iran.

Yes, we're still (barely) prosperous democracies. Thanks...


Although we Americans think the European Union is a flawed notion and will not survive to fulfill its present aspirations, we hope in some strange way that it does -- for both our sakes of having a proud partner in a more dangerous world to come rather than an angry and envious inferior, nursing past glories while blaming others for self-inflicted wounds of the present.

"Hey, kid, it's nice to want to grow up, but you're still too young, and you wil lalways be. Don't try to behavelike an adult because it's ridiculous."

Yeah, if anybody that criticises you is - sadly, of course - dismissed as an "angry and envious inferior", it's easy to say that you favor democracy and debate. Only words of agreement will be deemed to come from "proud partners"...


Even in this era of crisis, we cling to the notion that in the eleventh hour you, Europe, will yet reawake, rediscover your heritage, and join with us in defending the idea of the West from this latest illiberal scourge of Islamic fascism.

As you say, it's just the latest illiberal scourge. Why throw all our values overboard to fight this one? Or is the goal something else?


For just once, if only for the purpose of theatrics, we would like to urge calm and restraint to a Europe angry, volatile, and threatening, in the face of blackmail and taunts from a third-rate theocracy in Tehran -- or a two-bit fascist thug fomenting hate and violence from a state-subsidized mosque in a European suburb.

Why exactly should we get angry and threatening about a "third rate" theocracy, or "thugs"? That's what diplomats and the police are for, you know - functions invented even before our common ancestors you are so proud of, and that have passed the test of history and, guess what, are still around...


Alas, recently, Europeans have been taken hostage on the West Bank, Yemen, and Iraq. All have been released. There are two constants in the stories: Some sort of blackmail was no doubt involved (either cash payments or the release of terrorist killers in European jails?), and the captives often seem to praise the moderation of their captors. Is this an aberration or indicative of a deeper continental malady? Few, in either a private or public fashion, suggested that such bribery only perpetuates the kidnapping of innocents and provides cash infusions to terrorists to further their mayhem.

Yes, let's mix up totally unrelated cases (except for the fact that they are Muslim). Why no mention of Colombia then? Or of Abu Ghraib? And what "terrorist killers" have been released from European jails outside of normal judicial procedures?


On the home front, a single, though bloody, attack in Madrid changed an entire Spanish election, and prompted the withdrawal of troops from Iraq -- although the terrorists nevertheless continued, despite their promises to the contrary, to plant bombs and plan assassinations of Spanish judicial officials. Cry the beloved continent.

Yeah, right, cling to your version that the election was about the terrorist threat, and not about the lies of the Aznar government.


 Indeed, so far has global culture devolved in caving to Islamism that we fear that only two places in the world are now safe for a Jew to live in safety -- and Europe, the graveyard of 20th-century Jewry, is tragically not among them. Cry the beloved continent.

Again, the casual accusation of anti-semitism, en passant.


Your idealistic approach to health care, transportation, global warming, and entitlements have won over much of coastal and blue America, who, if given their way, would replicate here what you have there. Yet the worry grows that none of this vision of your anointed is sustainable -- given an aging and shrinking population, growing and unassimilated minority populations, flat growth rates, increasing statism, and high unemployment.

Just to note your ignorance of math: China also has a "flat" growth rate (i.e. constant). You probably meant to say "flat GDP" for Europe? Which is by the way false, as the eurozone (which is what I presume you mean when you say the "continent"?) has had similar growth per capita, and higher jobs growth than the US since 1995. (And unemployment has been going down)


If America, the former British commonwealth, India, and China, embraced globalization, while the Arab Middle East rejected it, you sought a third way of insulating yourselves from it -- and now are beginning to pay for trying to legislate and control what is well beyond your ability to do either.

Yep, the UK and the British Commonwealth are definitely not part of what you call Europe.


Worse, in the meantime you lost the goodwill of the United States, which you demonized, I think, on the understanding that there would never be real repercussions to your flamboyant venom.

Who demonised who, exactly?


The Balkan massacres proved that a mass murderer like Slobodan Milosevic could operate with impunity in Europe until removed by the intervention of the United States. And yet from that gruesome lesson, in retrospect we over here have learned only two things: The Holocaust would have gone on unabated hours from Paris and Berlin without the leadership of United States, and in this era of the Chirac/Schroeder ingratitude the American public would never sanction such help to you again.

The Holocaust DID go on unabated until the very end, despite the USA being fully aware of what was going on.


We wish you well in your faith that war has become obsolete and that outlaw nations will comply with international jurisprudence that was born and is nurtured in Europe.

And we do not wish you well in your faith that war is necessary and that the international jurisprudence that was born and is nurtured thanks to the inspired and at times selfless leadership of the USA is now worthless.


Old Europe has neither the will nor the power to protect the ascending democracies of Eastern Europe, much less the republics of the former Soviet Union from present Russian bullying -- and perhaps worse to come.

So we've switched to "Old Europe" now... I won't comment on "Russian bullying", but the EU is certainly playing as big a role as NATO in whatever conflict there are (actually, I'd be genuinely interested to know haw this is seen from Russia)


You will, of course, answer that in your postwar wisdom you have transcended the internecine killing of the earlier 20th century when nationalism and militarism ruined your continent -- and that you have lent your insight to the world at large that should follow your therapeutic creed rather than the tragic vision of the United States.

Heh. Thanks for putting it so well.


A European Union that facilitates trade, finance, and commerce can enrich and ennoble your continent, but it need not suppress the unique language, character, and customs of European nationhood itself, much less abdicate a heritage that once not merely moralized about, but took action to end, evil.

Free trade = good. Political union = bad.

Where have I heard this before. But you want us as a "proud partner", don't you? How can we be a partner if we don't speak with one voice?


The world is becoming a more dangerous place, despite your new protocols of childlessness, pacifism, socialism, and hedonism.

You find beautifully turned phrases, I have to grant you that.


So criticize us for our sins; lend us your advice; impart to America the wealth of your greater experience -- but as a partner and an equal in a war, not as an inferior or envious neutral on the sidelines. History is unforgiving. None of us receives exemption simply by reason of the fumes of past glory.

You should listen to your own advice a little bit more. We HAVE "lent you our advice" and "imparted the wealth of our greater experience", and YOU have chosen to dismiss it as coming from an "envious inferior". And just as you say, you will not receive an exemption by reason of past glory: just because you were mostly the "good guys" (and then again, not the only ones) during WWII does not mean that you still are them today.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 07:31:27 AM EST
All I can say about Victor Hanson is here.

Pax

Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

by soj on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 09:25:02 AM EST
the European Union is a flawed notion and will not survive to fulfill its present aspirations [but] we hope in some strange way that it does

Yes, it is kind of strange that you should wish us to fulfill our aspirations.

by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 09:27:52 AM EST
Great letter. Some stuff I'd add or say differently:

the growth of the US economy, built on ever more precarious financial bubbles, a mountain of debt and the pawning off of the family silver,

Add.: ...and the massaging of statistics and resulting comparisons of apples and oranges,...

But the thing is that many, perhaps most of us, do not see this present US venture as a conflict between a defender of Western secular ideals against the forces of religious fundamentalism, but rather as a conflict, for a number of various motives, between two parties, spurred on by twin religious fervours, neither of which carries the torch for the values of the West.

Alt.: ...but rather a conflict, for a number of various motives, between multiple parties, spurred on by religious fervours and nationalisms, neither of which carries the torch for the values of the West - indeed your side let allies take power who fight for the very religious fundamentalism you claim the fight is against.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 10:30:36 AM EST
.
NUTS
An advisor to this White House?
Hanson must be placed in the category of crazy Pat Robertson.

    In the multiracial society of the United States, an American black, Asian, or Latino finds natural affinity in London and Brussels in a way not true in Lagos, Ho Chi Min City, or Lima. For millions of Americans "Eurocentric" is no slur -- for it is an appellation of shared values and ideas not of race.

Treatment of Minorities in NOLA Katrina Disaster
Dream on Mr. Hanson, you are as historian not aware of what is happening in your own kitchen today.

    Indeed, so far has global culture devolved in caving to Islamism that we fear that only two places in the world are now safe for a Jew to live in safety -- and Europe, the graveyard of 20th-century Jewry, is tragically not among them.  Cry the beloved continent.

Ariel Sharon encouraged French Jews to escape the "wildest anti-Semitism ...
Simply untrue and Israeli Zionist talking points as seen in Likud press releases.  

    On the home front, a single, though bloody, attack in Madrid changed an entire Spanish election, and prompted the withdrawal of troops from Iraq -- although the terrorists nevertheless continued, despite their promises to the contrary, to plant bombs and plan assassinations of Spanish judicial officials. Cry the beloved continent.

WTC 9/11 Verdicts in Spain Today
Complete false statement , as the lies of Aznar caught up with him in the attack's aftermath and putting blame on Basque terror. The Spanish citizens knew better and elected socialist party leader Zapatero who had promised an Iraq pull back in the election campaign.  

    The entire legal system of the Netherlands is under review due to the gruesome murder of Theo van Gogh and politicians there who speak out about the fascistic tendencies of radical Islam often either face threats or go into hiding. Cry the beloved continent.

Fascist tendencies - meet Geert Wilders
Complete false statement, the neglect of immigration policy and social integration came to light after 911 attacks and the positioning of Pim Fortuyn in Dutch politics.

    But in the last 15 years, and especially after 9/11, heaven did not come to earth, that instead became a more dangerous place than ever before. Worse, in the meantime you lost the goodwill of the United States, which you demonized, I think, on the understanding that there would never be real repercussions to your flamboyant venom.

Iraq War Blowback  Islam Terror in Europe
Complete in line with Hanson's lack of understanding the issues. Many European countries participate in both Iraq and under NATO and ISAF in Afghanistan.

    The Holocaust would have gone on unabated hours from Paris and Berlin without the leadership of United States, and in this era of the Chirac/Schroeder ingratitude the American public would never sanction such help to you again. If you believe that an American-led NATO should not serve larger Western interests outside of Europe, we concede that it cannot even do that inside it.

Don't abuse the Holocaust Mr. Hanson
Chirac/Schroeder ingratitude as the American people have been fed Freedom fries since the failure to get a second UN Security Council resolution to commit the world community to an Iraq invasion based on the lies and deceit of the Bush cabal.

    The European strategy of selling weapons to Arab autocracies, triangulating against the United States for oil and influence, and providing cash to dubious terrorists like Hamas has backfired. Polls in the West Bank suggest Palestinians hate you, the generous and accommodating, as much as they do us, the staunch ally of Israel.

EU-Israel Association Agreement
Complete bs all around.

Taliban administered Afghanistan was recognized by three states: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE)  and Pakistan.

U.S. ally Israel and China deal

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."
 

▼▼▼ READ MY DIARY

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 12:57:50 PM EST
Of course there are people who do a poor job of expressing themselves, even as administration advisors or eurotrib commentators.

What is not captured here is the broad exasperation with Europe that seems to be the general mood in America today. Most Americans have their cultural roots in Europe and want to see Europe in a positive light. And most Americans are not happy with the situation in Iraq, and how we got to where we are.

But I do not think that there would be much complaining at all here if we were to close down our European military bases, withdraw from NATO, not worry about Iran or Palestine or Turkey, and just hunker down over on our side of the pond. There is a strong isolationist tendency in America; the same one that caused us to not ratify the Treaty of Versailles, nor join the League of Nations or the International Court of Justice after the first world war, and that kept us out of the second world war for four years. It's not completely disappeared.

It sure would be nice if we could all manage to elect cooperative leadership.

by asdf on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 01:34:17 PM EST
The exasperation with Europe is that of the administration, which was then to a compliant - and hysterical, at that time - media.

Blame Europe all you want, but it says volumes that neither Mexico or Chile (nor Canada, beyond the SC), countries more usually associated with the US sphere of influence than the European one, would not support George's splendid adventure in Iraq. In fact, the only countries that, out of misplaced loyalty, supported the USA in that crazy war were Europeans (the UK, Spain Bulgaria - and I am talking aobut the governments, not the people, and only about the Security Council vote)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 01:51:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think asdf didn't just meant Iraq (and possibly meant ex-Yugoslavia more, tho' I would disagree with him on that still being a point for the majority of US isolationists), and was more describing US public opinion (see my reply to Colman) than his own.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 02:05:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You think this guy is doing a poor job of expressing himself?  

As for exasperation with Europe and dissatisfaction with Iraq, we damn well told the US so, the US decided it knew better, and look what happened. What do you want? We should have followed the US into a criminal clusterfuck? There should be Irish troops dying in IED explosions because Bush wanted rid of Saddam? What are you talking about?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 01:53:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He was more talking about US public opinion vs US government opinion. What he is trying to suggest is that it is more the bipartisan US political elite that is high on imperialism, while the population is isolationist - whether for the right (leave the world alone, let Europe solve Europe's problems) or wrong (fucking Europeans didn't help us in Iraq) reasons is not his point.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 02:02:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The U.S. population may be largely isolationist but it is even to a greater degree deeply addicted to the consumer bonanza imperialism offers them. I may be mistaken but I thought the U.S. got rich in WW I by lending money to France, effectively transforming the US from a debtor country to a creditor one. I read that somewhere but I haven't checked the statement's veracity. Get involved abroad and profit, see Iraq.

Above, adsf, I think, glibly tells us the US public would gladly withdraw from various parts of the world, which, in fact, is a political and economic impossibility for any US government. The US would lose most influence and become a completely different place. Better? I doubt it. More reactionary and estranged from the rest of the world. The US public has long been addicted to power. Just imagine if they couldn't qualify themselves as 'the richest and most powerful country in the world'.

What a droll idea: blaming Europe for the US horror show in Iraq. The notion is nuts.

This Hanson guy has the Greek tic: ancient Greece is the cradle of western civilization and therefore encapsulates everything that followed. You can see this as a humanistic pendant of the legend of Genesis. Was he born rich? Anyway, philologists of this bent have always struck me as irritatingly snobbish.

by Quentin on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 02:44:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I may be mistaken but I thought the U.S. got rich in WW I by lending money to France, effectively transforming the US from a debtor country to a creditor one.
I would suggest you check that theory.  I've never heard of it, and I don't think it's correct.  America had many new technologies to develop and grow in the '20's.  Automobiles were coming off a better developed and continuing to evolve production lines.  Roads had to be built.  Steel had to be produced.  People were moving from the farms to the cities, as farming was getting some automation.  It's hard for me to understand logic that would say America got rich off of a few interest rate points on loans to the French.

I think history does show us that a number of European countries did benefit from their colonies, in the sense of bringing back goods to the mother country from the colonies.  I don't say that pejoratively, but just factually.

Get involved abroad and profit, see Iraq.
Surely you jest.  Just look at the billions being poured into Iraq for rebuilding and to support our military.  The idea of Iraq may have been ill conceived, but even those who conceived it never thought of it as a colony to bring money back from.  How could that have ever happened?

I certainly agree with you that Europe can't be blamed for Iraq.

But I think you underestimate the number of Americans who would prefer a much more isolationist view for America than our current policies.  Unfortunately I can't recall the poll, but in the last month I saw one with some discussion that showed 1/3 of liberals and 1/3 of conservatives preferred this--though for different reasons.  And this has been an American view for hundreds of years.  And I would think a large group in the middle would go along with this, if it was at all realistic in the sense of being able to renegotiate current commitments.  We're starting to pull troops out of Europe, Germany first, I believe.  I don't see why, with the end of the Cold War, we should have a military presence in Europe.  The Europeans don't need us there, and I don't think they really want us there.  So why be there?  Let's leave--not recklessly or urgently, but with some appropriate planning with the EU so things we are doing that are useful there, they can pick up those activities if they choose.

Please don't see me as defending this gentleman's article, either.  I'm just making these points above.

by wchurchill on Sun Jan 8th, 2006 at 09:48:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All good points, wc.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 9th, 2006 at 04:21:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the home front, a single, though bloody, attack in Madrid changed an entire Spanish election, and prompted the withdrawal of troops from Iraq
Oh, please, how long will we have to deal with this canard?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 11th, 2006 at 06:41:04 AM EST
Until the last neo-con is hung by the entrails of the last tele-evangelist?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 11th, 2006 at 06:56:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do I need to write a diary about what really happened fleshing out this comment?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 11th, 2006 at 07:10:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really: the people who need to read it won't. Everyone who was paying attention knows what happened but the "capitulation to terror" story fits the narrative the regime in the US needs.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 11th, 2006 at 07:13:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a problem... Are we just preaching to the converted? Do we intend to influence a wider audience, and if so, what are our chances of doing that, and how wide an audience?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 11th, 2006 at 07:20:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well we can't preach to those who won't listen.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 11th, 2006 at 07:22:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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