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The Western Split: Is It Permanent?  
User currently offlineAlpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1017 times:

The long-standing alliance and friendship between the United States and western Europe is being tested more than at any time in it's history. The driving force behind these divisions a we all know is Iraq.

Yet this division has been simmering for several years now. The clamor over Kyoto; the differences in Capital punishment; continuing debates over if/when to use force in a crisis, all have caused major friction in the Western democracies.

The recent development of France and Germany leading the opposition not only in Europe, but worldwide, against the U.S. position on Iraq leads me to ask two questions:

1. Is the division becoming permanent?

2. Are France/Germany on a deliberate course to try to become a PERMANENT competing voice to the United States on world affairs?

Both questions have serious ramifications for not only North America and Europe, but for the geo-politics of the entire world.

Any thoughts?

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11153 posts, RR: 59
Reply 1, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 997 times:

I don't think any of those.

France and Germany are simply standing up for there views and beliefs and right now, they do not believe in a war on Iraq.

Now that doesn't mean they are going to go against the US everytime. It's just this current issue they do not agree with the United States.

I respect them for that. For standing up against the US and saying "no".

They don't need to be the United State's puppets.

Regards



"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
User currently offlineScootertrash From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 569 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 976 times:

I don't think a "split" is permanent, but I do think we are seeing a fundamental change in the way the U.S. and Europe deal with foreign policy issues. None of this is really about Iraq. It is about whether Europe (France and Germany especially) can stand the United States being the biggest kid on the block, and as such, the world's policeman. In addition, France and Russia are very concerned how a war in Iraq would effect their domestic economies.

I really seeing here is a move toward isolationism in Europe, much the same as the "America First" movement that was prevalent in the United States in the 1930's and early 1940's. Europeans simply do not see, or want to see, the threat posed by Iraq to global peace. European governments fear damage to domestic agendas and a slowing of the progress being made toward further European unification, an economic necessity for all of the countries involved. They simply are worried less about discord with the U.S. and more about maintaining close ties with there European neighbors, an inevitable effect of the end of the Cold War.

The only time Europe seems eager to act is when conflict is in there own back yard. Recall the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and the actions taken by NATO countries (and others) outside of any U.N. involvement.

Look for a serious redefining of NATO's political and military roles and a reduction of U.S. forces stationed abroad. I also fear that the U.N. will become irrelevant and head for the scrapheap of history, since they seem unwilling to enforce their own resolutions.


User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 3, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 962 times:

Perhaps one of the more fascinating questions is how this is going to affect the relationships within Europe, particularly between the UK and France and Germany, although Spain and Italy are also in interesting positions. If, as expected, the Eastern European nations join the EU next year will there be a shift in the balance of power? That in itself will have an effect on the transatlantic relationship.


She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21386 posts, RR: 54
Reply 4, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 932 times:

No, I don´t see an enduring split.

There has been a multitude of areas where minor tensions and differences had existed for many decades. Most of these were small enough to be resolved in cooperation with the respective US administrations, and this did happen in very many cases. This constructive relationship across the Atlantic - in addition to the agreement on the really fundamental issues like democracy, freedom and (mostly) human rights - has built mutual trust as the main pillar of the transatlantic relationship.

This all changed when George W. Bush came into power.

Right from the start, all the talk about treating their smaller allies "humbly" and "with respect" went out of the window. Treaties were broken, ignored, sabotaged, replaced by invasion threats (when refusing the International Court) or unilateral tariffs were slapped on the allies´ products for the sake of domestic protectionism.

9-11 brought a brief interlude with a restored multilateral approach, but recently, the terrorist threat was pushed aside and Iraq was moved up to be the #1 priority. The allies were basically told to "shut up and put up" - and that´s the tree trunk that broke the camel´s back.

So where are we now?

The european perspective on the Bush administration looks somewhat like this:

- Trust: Basically gone. Bush has openly declared he´s intent on war, he won´t listen to anyone and he won´t be held back by international law. He´s basically playing with his gun and daring everybody to do anything about it. For europeans - who have learned the hard way to adopt international law as the only legitimate basis for conflict resolution - Bush behaves like an outlaw who´s a threat to everyone.

- Economy: On the brink of a severe recession, possibly even a depression. With a neglected fair-weather ecnonomic policy which is progressively damaging the US economy (protectionism is contributing its own share). International institutions which are sitting on huge amounts of Dollar-denominated assets are apparently beginning to shift some of them to the Euro earlier than originally planned. If that trend should continue to accelerate, a Dollar crash could be the consequence.

- Political assets: Depleted. The 9-11 tragedy created a huge amount of political capital for Washington worldwide, waiting to be translated into a stronger position in the world. The recent heavy-handed bullying policy has squandered it in record time. At this point, the Bush motto seems to be "we above all" - and those who were intended to play the serving role have promptly begun to mutiny, unsurprisingly to most.

- Inter-National relations: Contrary to a popular view from the USA, most people in "the rest of the world" still make a clear distinction between the US population and President Bush. And as tight as many americans´ identification with their president may be, europeans in general don´t share this view.


All in all I´m pretty certain that once President Bush has left office, things will almost snap back to normal.

There will be long-term consequences; And I doubt very much that Europeans will ever again revert to the implicit trust in the US government that had still existed in many people´s minds.

Europe has been demonstrated that certain US politicians will not hesitate to exploit its every weakness if it suits them. This will very probably contribute to a stronger urge to play a proactive part on the world stage and to pursue a strengthened union.

But a high degree of trust can be re-built by a new US administration which actually listens to its partners, treats them with respect and takes their views seriously, even if it should not agree with them (which will remain everybody´s right).

I just don´t see this happening with the Bush administration still in power.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21386 posts, RR: 54
Reply 5, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 922 times:

Scootertrash: I don't think a "split" is permanent, but I do think we are seeing a fundamental change in the way the U.S. and Europe deal with foreign policy issues. None of this is really about Iraq. It is about whether Europe (France and Germany especially) can stand the United States being the biggest kid on the block, and as such, the world's policeman. In addition, France and Russia are very concerned how a war in Iraq would effect their domestic economies.

These are only minor side issues. They only play a small part, as far as I can see from here.

The essential problem is the ostentatious contempt for the rule of law exhibited by the Bush camp.

Right from the start publicly making what can only be seen as a death threat against the highest political institution on the planet has shaken whole nations to the core.

Post-war Germany, for instance, has international law at the very basis of its constitution - threatening to override it and to make it "irrelevant" basically amounts to a direct attack on our constitution. Now please imagine how you´d feel if someone tried to do that to yours!

Europe has transformed from what was once a hotbed of war and oppression into a region where it has literally become unthinkable to consider attacking one´s neighbour. And again, it´s based on bi- and multilateral treaties and the general consensus that respecting the rule of law is essential (the occasional temper tantrum notwithstanding).

The United States, on the other hand, appears to have lost the only partner who could have actually enforced a treaty; And in the past years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a certain ideology seems to have spread that absent the actual need to comply with treaties and agreements, overwhelming military force would do nicely as a replacement.

When looking at such illustrous characters as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, the Bush administration seems to be the first time this ideology has come into full force. I do indeed believe that Bush himself could have been a mild-mannered and even a decent president, were it not for the republican fundamentalists next to and behind him.

And as it´s looking right now, the idea of "divide et impera" combined with "military domination" may be (somewhat) popular domestically, but it´s an unmitigated disaster with the rest of the world. Which is only 96% of the planet´s population, but they can´t vote in the next US election, can they?  Wink/being sarcastic


Scootertrash: I really seeing here is a move toward isolationism in Europe, much the same as the "America First" movement that was prevalent in the United States in the 1930's and early 1940's.

Yeah. Like the famous british headline: "Fog over the channel, continent isolated!"  Wink/being sarcastic

Right now, the overwhelming majority of the world stands together with Germany, France, Russia and China; Even the overwhelming majority of the populations of Spain and Britain are against the Bush position, plus a large portion of the american public, apparently.


Scootertrash: Europeans simply do not see, or want to see, the threat posed by Iraq to global peace.

Bush´s presentation has indeed reminded me of someone jumping on a chair: "Eeeek! A mouse!!!!!"

Yes, it could bite you, and yes, you could get a dangerous infection from it. But, really!  Insane


Scootertrash: They simply are worried less about discord with the U.S. and more about maintaining close ties with there European neighbors, an inevitable effect of the end of the Cold War.

Wrong. Bush just has put the axe to ideals that are so fundamental to most other nations that most other considerations become secondary by comparison.


Scootertrash: The only time Europe seems eager to act is when conflict is in there own back yard. Recall the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia

Massacres and ethnic cleansing were a pretty good reason, I´d say.

Scootertrash: and the actions taken by NATO countries (and others) outside of any U.N. involvement.

You´re contradicting yourself.  Wink/being sarcastic


Scootertrash: Look for a serious redefining of NATO's political and military roles and a reduction of U.S. forces stationed abroad.

Very probably.

Scootertrash: I also fear that the U.N. will become irrelevant and head for the scrapheap of history,

The resistance movement against the US unilateralist campaign strengthens the UN more than anything else - if it had simply succumbed to the bullying attempts, then it would have become irrelevant! Or have you ever seen a bully respect those who yielded to him? Didn´t think so.

Scootertrash: since they seem unwilling to enforce their own resolutions.

They´re doing it as we speak. The inspections are an integral part of the resolutions. And yes, the military pressure has helped!


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21386 posts, RR: 54
Reply 6, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 922 times:

Banco: Perhaps one of the more fascinating questions is how this is going to affect the relationships within Europe, particularly between the UK and France and Germany, although Spain and Italy are also in interesting positions.

Indeed... But I think we shouldn´t forget that it´s only the governments that are having fundamental differences. Elections will probably erase the problems in time...

Until then, however, things will remain "interesting", I guess...  Wink/being sarcastic


Banco: If, as expected, the Eastern European nations join the EU next year will there be a shift in the balance of power? That in itself will have an effect on the transatlantic relationship.

Even in most of these countries, the populations are far less thrilled with Bush´s course... Chirac needs to do some mending of fences, that much is certain. But I´ve got no doubt that it will happen in due course.


User currently offlineAlpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 914 times:

Klaus, I think you mentioned something that I was thinking: you're basically saying that Europe's position is that if the American people are only smart enough to elect someone not objectionable to Europe, things will get back to normal. If they don't, well, then that's just too bad.

A little more blunt than what you said, but that's the import as I get it. If that's the attitude of Europe as a whole, the American people are going to basically tell Europe to stick it, and, just out of spite, may re-elect George W. Bush to another term.

And what do you consider someone "acceptable"? Someone who doesn't put the safety and security of the American people first and foremost? Remember-I am one who doesn't agree with going to war right now, but beyond that, it seems that Europe's taste for even the terrorist hunt is waning. But one thing Europe just doesn't seem to understand is the huge psychological impact 9/11 had here. Again, it wasn't just ANOTHER terror attack-it was the mother of all attacks, and it has permanently scarred the American people.

I think one problem, from the American perspective, Klaus, is that Americans think that Europe is preaching to them about how bad their president is, and how bad the U.S. is, and Americans don't buy it. They don't think that Europe, with their sad history over the last 100 years, is in a position to preach to anyone.

While I see Europe's frustration with Bush, the frustration on this side of the pond is equally great. Europe isn't faultless in all this. Neither Bush or Clinton agreed to Kyoto, yet Europe is trying to give Americans a guilt complex over something most Americans feel is harmful to them economically; most Americans are for the death penalty, yet Europe beats the U.S. over the head on that issue night and day it seems. And we've been over the Iraqi crisis, and we know the chasms this is causing between Washington and London on one side, and Berlin and Paris on the other.

I do believe that Paris and Berlin are on a path to where they want to challenge the U.S. politically and diplomatically, and not just on a short-term basis. I think this simply because of the voracity of the opposition that Paris and Berlin have put in the way of what the U.S. believes and wants to accomplish. It's the whole attitude that strikes me as more than just a mild tiff that will be healed over time. I think we may be looking at the infancy of Berlin and Paris striking a competely independent path from the U.S., and taking as much of Europe their direction as they can.

Yet if that is true, what are the consequences? Where will the U.K. fall? Where will the Eastern Europeans, not counting Russia, align? What happens to NATO, and the EU? I'm sure there would be a hundred other questions as well.

Again, I think this is where this is heading, with enough blame to go around for all parties. No one has seemed to want to compromise, and compromise has been one of the great rocks of the west in the Post-World War II era. You can only pull the rope on both ends so hard, till the rope breaks, and that's where I think this is heading.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21386 posts, RR: 54
Reply 8, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 897 times:

Alpha 1: Klaus, I think you mentioned something that I was thinking: you're basically saying that Europe's position is that if the American people are only smart enough to elect someone not objectionable to Europe, things will get back to normal. If they don't, well, then that's just too bad.

Nope. I just described the situation as I see it and that I don´t have hope for improvement as long as Bush is still in power. No threat, just an assumed consequence.


Alpha 1: A little more blunt than what you said, but that's the import as I get it. If that's the attitude of Europe as a whole, the American people are going to basically tell Europe to stick it, and, just out of spite, may re-elect George W. Bush to another term.

Yeah, jump off a cliff just to spite us. That´ll teach us!  Nuts
And by the way, what do you mean by "re-elect"?  Wink/being sarcastic


Alpha 1: And what do you consider someone "acceptable"?

Anyone who can pursue the interests of his own nation without steamrolling over other nations in the process. I know, fancy stuff.  Wink/being sarcastic


Alpha 1: Someone who doesn't put the safety and security of the American people first and foremost?

A reputation of aggressive egoism will most definitely not serve your interests. Europe has made plenty of bad experiences with that kind of thinking.


Alpha 1: Remember-I am one who doesn't agree with going to war right now, but beyond that, it seems that Europe's taste for even the terrorist hunt is waning.

With Bush going off on a tangent while the rest of the world still attempts to hunt down the terrorists (as evidenced by continuing raids, captures and even trials)? With no evidence whatsoever for a link between Saddam and Osama? Either I don´t get it or you don´t.


Alpha 1: But one thing Europe just doesn't seem to understand is the huge psychological impact 9/11 had here. Again, it wasn't just ANOTHER terror attack-it was the mother of all attacks, and it has permanently scarred the American people.

You´re wrong again. Your "mother of all attacks" is positively puny against the horrors and destruction that europeans still remember vividly from the past decades. And we´ve got the scars to prove it.

I think it´s rather the reverse: The US community is still reeling from the shock, and still unable to get the emotions in check, not even temporarily, while the government actively exploits the sadness and the fear for their agenda and does everything to prolong this emotionalized state as far as possible, instead of attempting to start the healing process.

Being sad and shocked is perfectly understandable under the circumstances. But political agendas do not just vanish while you´re in mourning; Some people are still in charge, and they need to be controlled. As things stand now, checks and balances have largely been abandoned for a false sense of unity and universal patriotism. And the lack of a functioning opposition shows.


Alpha 1: While I see Europe's frustration with Bush, the frustration on this side of the pond is equally great. Europe isn't faultless in all this. Neither Bush or Clinton agreed to Kyoto, yet Europe is trying to give Americans a guilt complex over something most Americans feel is harmful to them economically;

In a climate of mutual respect and interest for the other´s position, such issues can be resolved (and often have been, in the past).


Alpha 1: most Americans are for the death penalty, yet Europe beats the U.S. over the head on that issue night and day it seems.

Well, deliberately killing people, many of them even turning out to be completely innocent after the fact, does seem to be a major issue for some people, somehow. Especially when you´re constantly preaching the world about the promotion of human rights, freedom and democracy.


Alpha 1: I do believe that Paris and Berlin are on a path to where they want to challenge the U.S. politically and diplomatically, and not just on a short-term basis. I think this simply because of the voracity of the opposition that Paris and Berlin have put in the way of what the U.S. believes and wants to accomplish.

Completely wrong.

Yes, it will probably happen as a consequence of this mess.

But it is seen as a reluctant necessity, at least in Germany, rather than something to be eagerly pursued. With Bush having turned into a loose cannon, threatening anyone at will, there is the perception that somebody has to uphold international law. And as it turns out, Europe will probably have to play an important part in that.


Alpha 1: I think we may be looking at the infancy of Berlin and Paris striking a competely independent path from the U.S., and taking as much of Europe their direction as they can.

As I said, Europe is built on international law and on the priority for the rule of law. And if the USA is actively threatening the fabric of its very existence - plus rudely intervening in EU-internal affairs - the consequence will be a strengthened impulse to repair the damage in cooperation with as many partners as possible. Europe has gathered a lot of experience in that field - and trust.


Alpha 1: Yet if that is true, what are the consequences? Where will the U.K. fall?

Not at all, preferably!  Wink/being sarcastic
But the british population will indeed have to make the choice: Cooperation within the EU or obedience to the USA...

Alpha 1: Where will the Eastern Europeans, not counting Russia, align? What happens to NATO, and the EU? I'm sure there would be a hundred other questions as well.

The EU is all about cooperation, internally and externally (to a different degree). The goal will be to re-establish cooperation with the USA, not confrontation, as most american commentators appear to believe. It does indeed come down to different political cultures, at this point.


Alpha 1: No one has seemed to want to compromise, and compromise has been one of the great rocks of the west in the Post-World War II era. You can only pull the rope on both ends so hard, till the rope breaks, and that's where I think this is heading.

After Bush´s threats against the SC, his definitive declarations to start the war alone if "necessary", where would a compromise be possible?

The "resistance" position is that as long as Iraq continues to improve cooperation, there should be inspections, not war. Just as the previous resolutions had mandated.

I think considering this, it can be safely said that Bush yanked the rope so hard right in the beginning that it just broke with little hope of mending unless he abandons his absolute position. Which is even considered illegal by most experts; And some day, having the bigger guns might not be enough any more. Having legitimacy can be much more important.


User currently offlinePHX-LJU From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 887 times:

Alpha 1 wrote:

"I think one problem, from the American perspective, is that Americans think that Europe is preaching to them about how bad their president is, and how bad the U.S. is, and Americans don't buy it. They don't think that Europe, with their sad history over the last 100 years, is in a position to preach to anyone."

But many Americans agree with France's and Germany's stance on this issue, even those who are otherwise put off by the impulsive anti-American rhetoric coming from the left-wing European fringe. They know that most Europeans don't oppose the war just to make a point but because they genuinely believe this is a bad idea. I'm not talking about the rabid anti-globalization radicals waving red flags, but ordinary people who oppose the war and Bush's way of dealing with the world.

And true, Europe's history over the past century has indeed been tragic, but post-war Europe, at least most of it, has been an incredible success story; a prosperous, peaceful, free continent has emerged from the ashes of WWII. If you are going to mention the past 100 years, don't forget the last 50, and the entire world could learn from that experience, just as everyone has learned much from America's experience with democracy and free enterprise.

"you're basically saying that Europe's position is that if the American people are only smart enough to elect someone not objectionable to Europe, things will get back to normal. If they don't, well, then that's just too bad."

But you just described the attitude of many pro-Bush Americans when it comes to France and Germany: "Things will only get back to normal when you start supporting our policies. If you don't, we'll boycott your products and whine like three-year-olds."

"A little more blunt than what you said, but that's the import as I get it. If that's the attitude of Europe as a whole, the American people are going to basically tell Europe to stick it, and, just out of spite, may re-elect George W. Bush to another term."

I think that most Americans are too mature for this kind of behavior. They would never elect a politician just to send a message to Europe.

"It's the whole attitude that strikes me as more than just a mild tiff that will be healed over time. I think we may be looking at the infancy of Berlin and Paris striking a competely independent path from the U.S., and taking as much of Europe their direction as they can."

I don't. Before this war and the arrival of Bush, the two countries agreed with the US on many issues. They will continue to agree politically in the future. Both are also smart enough to realize that economic protectionism makes no sense. I don't blame those two countries for this rift; the blame is squarely on Bush and his "my way or the highway" attitude; pushing aside issues important to Europe (Kyoto) while demanding that Europe automatically support him on the issues important to him. His administration does not seem to realize that this is a two-way street.

"Neither Bush or Clinton agreed to Kyoto, yet Europe is trying to give Americans a guilt complex over something most Americans feel is harmful to them economically."

Again, why are some pro-Bush Americans trying to give Europe a guilt complex over something most Europeans feel is harmful in many respects? See, it works both ways: Why should Europe obey Bush when he doesn't care about Europe's concerns?

"What happens to NATO, and the EU?"

NATO's future is unclear, but the EU is here to stay. Most European citizens support the EU (no wonder, given the benefits that a free flow of people, goods and ideas has given the continent) and the soon-to-be members are generally enthusiastic about joining (despite some understandable concerns). The EU fits in well with the concept of the globalized world, and it's certainly not going away. Of course, it remains to be seen just how united the EU will become; the UK is a problem now, but I have a feeling that the more Euro-enthusiastic elements will ultimately emerge victorious even there. BTW, the EU should and will never become a rival to the US, rather, the two places will end up complimenting each other and prospering via mutual trade and cooperation.

[Edited 2003-03-09 04:53:18]

User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11153 posts, RR: 59
Reply 10, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 878 times:

And true, Europe's history over the past century has indeed been tragic, but post-war Europe, at least most of it, has been an incredible success story; a prosperous, peaceful, free continent has emerged from the ashes of WWII. If you are going to mention the past 100 years, don't forget the last 50, and the entire world could learn from that experience, just as everyone has learned much from America's experience with democracy and free enterprise.

Very very true. Well said PHX-LJU.



"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29786 posts, RR: 58
Reply 11, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 875 times:

Short Answer....No it isn't permanant.

Look at the history of the Pershing missile in Europe for example.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineAlpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 867 times:

Anyone who can pursue the interests of his own nation without steamrolling over other nations in the process. I know, fancy stuff.

And who is to judge what the interests of our own nation is, Klaus? And who's to say that Paris and Berlin won't be found constantly blocking whatever the U.S. sees as it's interest? Does that mean that the U.S. should consult with Paris and Berlin EVERY SINGLE TIME? I don't think so.

With Bush going off on a tangent while the rest of the world still attempts to hunt down the terrorists (as evidenced by continuing raids, captures and even trials)? With no evidence whatsoever for a link between Saddam and Osama? Either I don´t get it or you don´t.

Sidstepping the question, Klaus. I wasn't talking about Iraq, was I? And how is "the rest of the world" hunting terrorists, while you insinuate the U.S. isn't? Read the news last week? Who caught the self-proclaimed "mastermind" of 9/11? France? Germany? Russia? Oh, the U.S. did!

My point is, Iraq nothwithstanding, it seems the U.S. is still going after the terrorists. Is Europe still wanting to hunt them down as ferverntly as they were on 9/12/01?

You´re wrong again. Your "mother of all attacks" is positively puny against the horrors and destruction that europeans still remember vividly from the past decades.

Ah, now it's ok for you to play the World War II card? When Americans play it, you brush it aside. Spare me, Klaus. In the post-World War II era, there has never been an even like 9/11, and you're attempt to dismiss it is "puny" is ridiculous to say the least.

I think it´s rather the reverse: The US community is still reeling from the shock, and still unable to get the emotions in check, not even temporarily, while the government actively exploits the sadness and the fear for their agenda and does everything to prolong this emotionalized state as far as possible, instead of attempting to start the healing process.

Well, you're the one who is dead wrong, Klaus. The U.S. is still reeling because of the scope of what happened that day. But then I know that Europeans view Yanks as shallow, emotional, uncouth, culturless people. Seems like the only one that ever stirred any emotions in Germans was a Corporal who became a failed painter in Vienna. So talk to me now about being exploited, Klaus.

In a climate of mutual respect and interest for the other´s position, such issues can be resolved (and often have been, in the past).

Yes, and that climate certianly didn't exist in Europe, did it? Most Americans think that Kyoto would be harmful to the U.S. economy ,but again, Europe wanted to shove it down the throats of the U.S. Well, the last two U.S. administrations correctly declined to take the bait, and ever since, Europe has been screaming about how bad the U.S. is on this issue. Maybe had Europe not gotten a conniption over this, the differences would have been sorted out. But again, Europe is so much more mature than the U.S., right?

Well, deliberately killing people, many of them even turning out to be completely innocent after the fact, does seem to be a major issue for some people, somehow.

If you don't want the death penalty, fine Klaus, but do not preach to Americans as to what they think is best for them-especially when a man found guilty in Germany of assisting with 9/11 got a paltry 15 years in prison. I'm not for the death penalty myself in most cases, but I'm also not for the panty-waist "justice" doled out in Europe, either.

...re is the perception that somebody has to uphold international law.

Yes, Paris and Berlin's motives are as pure as the driven snow in the Iraq situation, right Klaus? It has NOTHING to do with their economic interests in Iraq, right? Oh, but for the U.S. it's ALL about oil! And it has NOTHING to do with the U.S. feeling there's a threat from Iraq, right? It's all a smoke screen, right? But how dare we question the noble and humanitarian motives of Europe. Right.

But the british population will indeed have to make the choice: Cooperation within the EU or obedience to the USA...

I think they see it more as subserviance to an EU that Paris and Berlin want to control, against the long history of friendship and cooperation with the U.S. Of course you'd see it the other way. And it seems to me that obediance to Paris and Berlin is what France and Germany are demanding in the EU these days. If they don't get it, other nations should just "shut up".

The EU is all about cooperation, internally and externally (to a different degree).

Sure-as long as you tow the line that Paris and Berlin tell you to, right?  Laugh out loud

And true, Europe's history over the past century has indeed been tragic, but post-war Europe, at least most of it, has been an incredible success story; a prosperous, peaceful, free continent has emerged from the ashes of WWII.

And Europe would NOT be what it is today without the loyal support-political, economic and military-of the U.S. That does NOT mean Europe should genuflect to Americans-and Americans should not demand it, but it should be REMEMBERED in times like this, so that common ground can be found.


User currently offlinePHX-LJU From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 863 times:

Alpha 1 wrote:

"And Europe would NOT be what it is today without the loyal support-political, economic and military-of the U.S."


You're absoluely right; that's why we should all be glad that modern Europe has adopted democracy and free enterprise, just as the US wanted, and worked for, after WWII. And you're seeing democracy in action now; most of Europe's population is opposed to the war, so you see that view reflected in the positions of many European governmnents. Except an extremist fringe, most Europeans are grateful for America's support and embrace its democratic ideals. They are not, however, obligated to support an unnecessary war proposed by an administration that has frequently ignored Europe's concerns. Yes, common ground should be found, but that hasn't exactly been a top priority (to put it mildly) for Bush since the day he took office.

[Edited 2003-03-09 05:41:34]

User currently offlineLOT767-300ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 863 times:

"And true, Europe's history over the past century has indeed been tragic, but post-war Europe, at least most of it, has been an incredible success story; a prosperous, peaceful, free continent has emerged from the ashes of WWII. If you are going to mention the past 100 years, don't forget the last 50, and the entire world could learn from that experience, just as everyone has learned much from America's experience with democracy and free enterprise."

Right...and who was it that lifted the European economy?

"Yes, Paris and Berlin's motives are as pure as the driven snow in the Iraq situation, right Klaus? It has NOTHING to do with their economic interests in Iraq, right? Oh, but for the U.S. it's ALL about oil! And it has NOTHING to do with the U.S. feeling there's a threat from Iraq, right? It's all a smoke screen, right? But how dare we question the noble and humanitarian motives of Europe. Right."

"Sure-as long as you tow the line that Paris and Berlin tell you to, right? "

Good example is when Chirac told Eastern Europe to shutup....how mature  Laugh out loud

Your so right its not even funny....and also how dare we question $40+bn dollar oil deals, free russian oil, exporting of planes, missles, choppers etc...heh.


User currently offlinePHX-LJU From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 861 times:

LOT767-300ER wrote:

"Right...and who was it that lifted the European economy?"


See my response to Alpha 1 above (Reply 13).


User currently offlineLOT767-300ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 852 times:

I was too lazy to read all the responses  Laugh out loud

"Yes, Paris and Berlin's motives are as pure as the driven snow in the Iraq situation, right Klaus? It has NOTHING to do with their economic interests in Iraq, right? Oh, but for the U.S. it's ALL about oil! And it has NOTHING to do with the U.S. feeling there's a threat from Iraq, right? It's all a smoke screen, right? But how dare we question the noble and humanitarian motives of Europe. Right."



What else can I say?  Laugh out loud


User currently offlinePHX-LJU From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 847 times:

LOT767-300ER,

The fact that you have to go back more than half a century to a completely different Europe in order to make a point (and an incredibly silly one at that) just proves that you have no arguments.


User currently offlineNormalSpeed From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 843 times:

"But the british population will indeed have to make the choice: Cooperation within the EU or obedience to the USA..."

I just have one thing to say: Will you please give our dear British friends a little more credit than that? No self-respecting Britan would allow subservience to any entity, EU or otherwise.

'Speed



User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Reply 19, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 841 times:

Ooh ooh, lemme throw out a baseless, ignorant theory:

Maybe Europe is doing it to pretect themselves, from future terrorist attacks. Huh, how 'bout it?



The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
User currently offlineAlpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 840 times:

The fact that you have to go back more than half a century to a completely different Europe in order to make a point (and an incredibly silly one at that) just proves that you have no arguments.

Maybe you're right, PHX-LJU, but Klaus is guilty of the exact same thing when he tried to compare 9/11 with the horrors his nation helped to perpertrate on the world 50 years ago. If it's not fair for LOT to do what he did, than it's equally not right for Klaus to compare apples to oranges as he did.

It works both ways-which is the point I've been trying to get thorugh to those thick, more mature, European skulls for months now.  Smile


User currently offlineRacko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4856 posts, RR: 20
Reply 21, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 810 times:

Just a question:

When the USA helped European nations after WW2, what did you want them to become? I think you wanted them to become free democracies which respect the voice of their people.

And for free democracies it should not only be possible, but it should be a must that they raise their voices when they think something wrong is happening in the world.

And about the war against terror, maybe you should compare the number of soldiers which are still in the anything-but-peaceful Afghanistan, the country which was the homebase of Al Qaida.


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