More on President Bush vis a vis Europe, or It's a Two-Way Street, Guys
NOT A BUFFOON AFTER ALL
By: Alan Caruba
Judging from all the huffing and puffing coming out of the leaders of the European Union, plus the Red Brigade kiddies in the streets, and the endless bloviating of the leftist US press, one would have to judge President Bush's trip to Europe a success. He went there and told him what the new US policy would be. Like it or lump it. Unlike Europe, the US is not mired in the past.
Despite the constant effort to portray George W. Bush as a buffoon, if you just watch and listen to him as I did when he gave his speech in Poland, you come away with a far different impression than one filtered through the press. He is not a skilled orator, but he is sincere. He knows what he believes and I think he believes in the power of people to improve their lives if they just pull together toward common goals. This is a quintessentially American outlook.
Did anyone notice he did not go to either France or Germany? These are the two most dominant of EU nations, but he passed them by. Talk about sending a message. And the message was, "We are the sole super power and if we want to build a missile shield and toss that idiotic UN Climate Protocol in the waste basket, well, guess what, we will." The bottom line is that we have individual States that generate more trade than most of the fifteen member nations of the EU. Last year, the United States' trade just with Mexico was equal to 65% of the total commerce with the EU. Of our five largest trade partners, only one is in Europe.
Bush even found time last week to let the Navy know what the Navy has known for a long time. They can't use the Puerto Rican island, Vieques, for target practice any more. Why? Because Hispanics are a growing portion of the US population, they vote, and this President knows when to say "You win" in Spanish. The island has been used since 1941. Bush gave the Navy two years to find another island. And, of course, some people still complained.
When Bush sat down with the crown prince of the KGB, Vladimir Putin, president of Russian Federation, that master spy was looking across the table at a man whose father was once the Director of the CIA, whose father served as Vice President to Ronald Reagan, a man who outspent the former USSR into oblivion, and who was also President until the KGB's agent-of-influence, William Jefferson Clinton, got elected. That means GW knew what Putin had for breakfast that morning.
Putin looked and sounded like a man who wanted to cut a deal with the President. He has been steadily consolidating his own power base in Russia and, ironically, it is the Communist party there that is giving him the most trouble. The big issue these days is property ownership and sales, the cornerstone of a Capitalist economy. In the press conference following their meeting, Putin used the phrase "strategic defense architecture" and that translates as "missile shield." While Putin followed the Bush visit with tough talk about re-arming Russia's missiles, one gets the feeling that was more for home consumption than a rejection of the need to work more closely with the US.
During the President's week in Europe, the US was treated to hearing Sen. Teddy Kennedy praising Bush for his support of the education bill. Let me repeat that. Teddy Kennedy thinks Bush is doing a good job for the nation's school children. You can disagree with the education package-and I do-but you have to admire GW's political skills.
The European Union is yet another hare-brained collectivist scheme that leftists love, but never works according to their dreams. Germany is very different from France and it, in turn, is very different from Italy. And so on. And so on. These disparate nations will never be able to function effectively with a single Euro currency and other regulations because, in case you haven't noticed, they have different languages, different cultures, different problems affecting their economies. When Tony Blair won re-election in the United Kingdom, the Pound Sterling took a nosedive in the money markets. When the moneychangers don't trust your currency, you are in trouble.
Europe is very old and very decadent. Its population is too. And therein lies the long-term problem. Europeans are not having enough European babies. The issue of immigration is going to become an obsession among Europeans who are highly nationalist. These are also people who, in the past century, went to war against each other twice with disastrous results. Those who didn't get involved in WWII, like the Swedes and the Swiss, were quite happy to do business with the Nazis. In Sweden, where they had the biggest protests to Bush, they also have the highest suicide rate in a total cradle-to-grave Socialist nation.
Following WWII, the Soviets dominated Eastern Europe until they fell apart. This was the direct result of German dreams of conquest. Ironically, it was the Germans in World War I that let Lenin cross into Russia, thus facilitating the creation of the Soviet Union. The Germans totally screwed up the history of Europe throughout the last century and their opinions of George W. Bush are of no interest to me. The French hold the French in high regard. Few others do.
Over and over again, the Europeans have demonstrated that they don't know how to function in the real world. They still cling to their Leftist dreams. The stresses and strains of this century are going to utterly transform that continent. If anything, it will become less "European" as people from less developed nations move there seeking a better life.
Why hasn't America experienced this intellectual, artistic, and economic stagnation? It stems from our unique heritage as a nation of immigrants. We accept the fact that foreigners are going to come here and become-guess what-Americans! There is something very appealing in having a common Constitution--the oldest functioning one in the world--and a common love of freedom and the fast buck.
Let the media make fun when Bush occasionally mangles the language whether speaking either English or Spanish, the important thing here is that he does, in fact, speak a second language, reflecting the growing importance of the Hispanic population in the US. Here's a tip, you better start learning Spanish, too.
Southside Irish...our two teams are the White Sox and whoever plays the Cubs!