Leadership: March 7, 2002

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: Why Europe Is Annoyed- The Europeans (particularly the French) are annoyed over the "Axis of Evil" concept and the apparent plans of the US to proceed unilaterally to start more wars and overthrow more governments. Their concerns are based on a number of principles:

1. If the US gets into the habit of unilaterally acting as world policeman, it may (and probably will) tend to do so in times, ways, and places that favor US business interests over those of Europe. The Europeans also view the US as impulsive children likely to make a bigger mess without realizing the consequences of their actions.

2. Ravaged by wars too many times, the Europeans prefer the more sedate and less violent path of diplomacy, even if the results are less clear. The decisions of President George W Bush to junk decades of arms control deals strike the Europeans as utter madness. Diplomacy, in their view, is its own reward. So long as another deal is being negotiated, even if such a deal amounts to appeasement, another war can be pushed further away.

3. The Europeans have, for two generations since World War II, chosen social spending over military spending. Their military forces lack the modern high-tech weapons that the US has, so the US does not need their help in such wars. Unable to contribute assistance, they have no voice in alliance decision-making. Without a voice in decision making, the Europeans may find the outcome of US-conducted wars less than perfect for their business interests. (See #1.)

4. The Europeans are far less concerned over the future of Israel than the US is. All things being equal, the Europeans would just as soon Israel had not been created, since it has disrupted Europe's dealings with the Arabs in the Middle East and made that region less stable. While the Europeans accept that the US has the right to revenge for the 9/11 attacks, they view the idea of the US attacking terrorist bases as an overreaction and that US security would be better served by settling the Arab-Israeli dispute through diplomatic pressure on Israel. This attitude has long caused them to turn a blind eye to Arab terrorist groups operating in their cities.--Stephen V Cole

 


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