Friday :: Jun 4, 2004

When In Rome, ...

by pessimist

Commemorating actions by those who faced what he avoided, George Warmonger Bush is running around Europe pretending to be the president of a victorious nation.

Piling his rhetoric upon remembrance of the victory by Allied forces over the Axis, he hopes that the cachet (that's a French word, George) will attach itself to his recent efforts. But then, Europe isn't being fooled. They remember that Allied strength didn't lead the Axis by much (as the casualty counts will attest), unlike the US invasion of Iraq against a third-rate (at best) military. Thus, the WWII achievements deserve far more respect than those of the BFEE/PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse.

The European media isn't impressed, and they have some advice for Owwer Leedur:

Press warns Bush to tread carefully

European newspapers predict a difficult trip for US President George Bush as he tours Italy and France for World War II ceremonies.
He is warned not to expect an exuberant welcome in Italy, which has been hit by kidnappings and deaths in Iraq.
Bush junior's visit puts Europe in a dilemma about whether to invoke the unity of the past or highlight the differences of the present. It is a case of conflicting feelings: Nostalgia and antagonism. So Bush will be received, today in Rome and in the next few days in Normandy, in a slightly schizophrenic mood.
Bernardo Valli in Italy's La Repubblica

Meanwhile, French papers urge Mr Bush not to overdo comparisons between the war on terror and World War II at D-Day celebrations in Normandy on Sunday.

Bush will have to tread carefully, lest he turn his visit into a demonstration of worldwide hostility. In Normandy, he will not fail to cite the West's need to remain united, but he should not place too much emphasis on the comparison between the intervention in Iraq and the liberation of Europe... Paris wants to accelerate a reconciliation, but without having to place too many laurels on the US president's head.
France's Liberation
The French president's priority is to demonstrate France's appreciation of the US. He will want to commemorate the liberation of Europe from Nazism while hoping that his guest will not compare it too much to the liberation of Iraq from Baathism.
Luc de Barochez in France's Le Figaro
Disagreement over Iraq will cast a shadow over all the meetings during the month of June... Wisdom should inspire George Bush to keep as low a profile as possible this Sunday in Normandy.
Claire Trean in France's Le Monde
Leaving for Europe, George Bush has in no way the air of a repentant pilgrim leaving on the road to Damascus. It is a president full of ambition who embarks on a diplomatic marathon of crucial importance today...
Philippe Gelie in France's Le Figaro

As for the rest of 'Yurp', ...

The US president's visit to the Italian capital aims to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the city from the Nazis during World War II. But it cannot be said that Bush will be received with open arms.
Spain's El Mundo
The flags will be at half-mast in Rome, despite George Bush's high-level visit... Italy is busy mourning the cook Antonio Amato slaughtered in Saudi Arabia last week... And another disastrous attack on the Italians stationed in Iraq would be unbearable... Italy's support for the Americans in Iraq is hanging by a thread.
Paul Badde in Die Welt
Bush arrives in Europe today with the thorny mission of re-establishing fragile links with his continental allies, promoting his plans for the "Greater Middle East" and building a fictitious bridge between the World War II and the "war against terror" in Iraq. One of the first awkward moments awaits him in the Vatican, with John Paul II's words about "America without a soul" still recent.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo on 3 June
Bush will not exactly be welcomed with open arms in Paris... but there are signs that blazing anti-Americanism has subsided. The general feeling is that France took the conflict with the US over Iraq too far... So is everything peace and harmony again relations? Was Iraq just a regrettable side-step in an otherwise durable 60-year romance? Unfortunately, it probably isn't that simple. The happy faces this weekend can't hide the fact that the underlying split remains.
Sweden's Expressen
The European tour and celebrations in Normandy give Bush a chance to show his compatriots that the world's most influential politicians still want to be his friends and recognize the United States as the leader of the "free world".
Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta
Bush is going to use his European tour to achieve election goals. He would like to clearly refute the statements by his Democratic opponent John Kerry that the policy of current US administration has led to the United States' political isolation and caused quarrels with its European allies.
Russia's Rossiyskaya Gazeta
Bush can take some encouragement from the fact that the proposed new resolution has created certain openings in the UN Security Council. But it won't be easy... You can't escape the fact that there is significant scepticism towards Washington in Europe today.
Sweden's Dagens Nyheter

As these excerpts demonstrate, this trip through the battlefields of Europe isn't going to be just like a campaign stop in a friendly town with all the opposition quarantined in a 'Free' Speech Zone. These people remember the loss of their freedom to Hitler's occupation, and as numerous current reports indicate, they are still very grateful for the efforts of the US and the Allies in liberating their countries. They have been greeting the returning veterans very warmly, not attaching the baggage of George Bush to them just because both he and the veteran might be American (Remember, just like George likes to remind us, D-Day wasn't just represented by the US and Britain. Canada and many of the occupied countries supplied troops that day. Even the French.).

As the excerpts indicate, the Europeans know that Bush has a political axe to grind. What they want Bush to remember is: he's a guest in their home, and should act accordingly. Be the good guest, graciously accept the thanks of those remembering how the US helped initiate the beginnings of the liberation of Western Europe, and go home.

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pessimist :: 3:31 PM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!