The Therapy Sessions
Saturday, June 05, 2004
The coming ambush?
The Chinese symbol for "danger" also means "opportunity." As Bush prepares to remember the dead of Normandy, he is presented with both in France.
The danger is obvious: Bush delivers a prefunctory address honoring the dead of 1944.
Chirac, as is his style, bows to the sacrifices Americans, Brits and Canadians made to free his country from tyranny, but then speaks at length with all kinds of "I told you so's" about Iraq, reminding the Texas cowboy how French diplomatic wisdom (not American military might) has kept the world safe since 1945.
Bush stands there, teeth clenched, listening to the man who sold Saddam his first nuclear reactor, the man whose government perverted the UN "Oil For Food" program into the biggest bribery and embezzlement scandal the world has ever seen, a man who would be in jail if he did not have immunity of the French Presidency protecting him...this man would lecture him on morality?
It's probably an indignity his counselors are telling him to endure.
But I would disagree with that: a polite president clapping lightly as he is upbraided by the morally self-righteous French appeaser is a president who is cruising toward an election defeat in November.
But there is an opportunity there as well. I think Bush should deliver a forceful speech - linking World War II with the current struggle, reminding the world that the deployment of a single French platoon in 1938 could have saved the world from Hitler.
Our fight today is against a larval form of tyranny that will not go away until it is destroyed, or until it destroys us; some countries are moving against the threat - and it is a long hard slog - while other countires merely bask in the freedom that is provided to them, cost free.
It would be a useful opportunity to remind Europe that freedom is not free.
Europe won't listen: when given the choice between 21st Century capitalist democracies and 12th Century religious bigots armed with modern weapons, most Europeans will side with the bigots. It's not about the war and it's not about human rights. Most Europeans cared little when the Russians killed 100,000 civilians in Grozny.
It's pride: Europeans, who once bragged that the socialism in their economies would propel them past the US have now seen two decades of economic stagnation. In the same time period, the US has soared even further ahead. European economic strategy has been market-tested, and it has been found wanting.
And it is so galling to them that they would prefer Saddam to Bush.
Europe will seethe! Europe will whine! Europe will threaten and cajole, but it will do nothing.
It is Americans who vote in US elections, and Americans like a combative president who stands up for what he believes.
Come on George, don't go wobbly.
UPDATE: Oh nevermind. I was completely and utterly wrong.