Monday, June 07, 2004
Do you know what I felt while watching D-Day celebrations on CNN today? You won’t imagine my feeling. Well, ummmmmm, I felt nothing.
The lavish celebrations looked like a huge fake show with those heads of states playing the roles. Only those brave veterans were the true thing today. It is time for Americans to divorce the idea that they are one and united with Europe because of their so-called shares values. Politicians want us to believe that shared values make friends. That is far from the truth. Friendship is only created out of shared enemies.
60 years ago, America and Europe shared a single enemy called Nazism and Fascism. They got together and defeated this enemy. After 1945, they found another enemy: the Soviet Union’s communism. America and the terribly weakened Europe stood one more time beside each other to bring the Berlin Wall down. Today there is no such common enemy.
I hear someone asking “hey what about terrorism?” Sorry, Europeans do not consider Islamist terrorism as their main enemy. 911 was hatched up in Europe which is still a safe haven to the world’s most dangerous men. If a European country was attacked, it will be because of its support for US. Does Madrid ring a bell? You’ll always find code red alerts in Britain and Italy. Nevertheless, it is true that western civilization as a whole and certain Arab/Muslim regimes are the prime targets of terrorists, however it is quite apparent that they are currently singling out the US since it is currently the leader of the Western world.
D-Day, What D-Day?
What created this divide between the US and Europe? Why is there so much anger towards the US?
“Hey, being anti-Bush doesn’t mean being anti-America” I hear someone saying. Well, look closely. Today I saw a French protestor carrying a sign with the words “Anti-Bush, Pro-America” written on it. At last the French got it right, I thought. My judgment was doomed when I saw another person, a couple of meters behind him, carrying a US flag with swastikas replacing the 50 stars.
I blame the “great divide” on 3 factors.
First, the natural factor. As mentioned above, friendship is created out of common enemies. Europe and America do not share the same vision today, they have completely different policies. What threatens America doesn’t threaten Europe. America, being the sole super power, has to carry the burden of protecting its interests around the world. Europe is not a super power anymore; they have no burden to carry.
Second, I really blame the Europeans especially the envious French, the pacifist Germans, and the wounded humiliated proud Russian bears (who see the US encroaching towards its former satellite states in Asia and Eastern Europe). Their problem is with what America turned out to be after the cold war and how the US rightfully became so powerful that they want to somehow neutralize this power. Call it hidden hate, call it envy, call it whatever you want to call it, it is there. New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman explains this point so well when he said that “France’s problem is with Coca Cola, she wants to Un-Cola the world.”
Third, I do put some blame on the US and especially on the Bush administration. When it took power, it kicked world treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty out of the window in such an arrogant way. I know very well that Kyoto was only ink on paper and star wars didn’t start when Bush ended the ABM treaty, however hypocritical Europeans got mad. To be it more plainly, this pissed them off and it sure didn’t help the “alliance” during the build up to the war in Iraq. Also, some shameful unilateralist tones coming from the Bush administration at the beginning of the Iraq issue didn’t do any good to the US and the “coalition of the willing” today. Remember, Cheney said that the US didn’t need the UN and Rumsfeld even went further and said that he can go to war even without Britain!
There is absolutely nothing the US can do in order to gain the favor of the majority of the Europeans. In the future, the US should act a bit more multilateral and avoid excessive unilateral confidence. Just as on the shores of Normandy, the US must use its military might to make the world a better place. Iraq is a good place to start. The US should also use its non-military soft power to help the oppressed and create a happier world. Iran is definitely a good start. Above all, the US should strive, and I mean to really really strive, to retain the newly found lovers. I hear Kurds, many Iraqis, many Iranians, and Eastern Europeans say Amen.
N.B. I’d like to point out that many Europeans today are not tainted with anti-Americanism. I’d like to invite them to join the “silent minority” club that I am in.
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