Wednesday :: Feb 23, 2005

Be Careful What You Wish For, Robert Kagan


by rayman

Throughout the past year-and-a-half, a number of foreign policy experts have pointed out how the Iraq War has parodoxically highlighted the limits of American military power to both our allies and, more worryingly, to our enemies. This week's farcical European jaunt has brought this dilemma into sharper relief, as Dubya, Condi, and Rummy are now forced to tapdance for the very Yurpeuns they ridiculed two years ago. Tony Karon's article in Time offers some rather humiliating examples of this unmistakable shift in power from the administration's European Vacation:

Now when President Bush comes calling offering quotes from French existentialists — “Albert Camus said that freedom is a long distance race,” the president said Monday — sweet talk about the environment and promises to make the Israeli-Palestinian peace process a top priority, the Europeans know the reason is that Washington has been humbled by events. Indeed, it may be a measure of how the strategic balance has shifted that President Bush not only tosses around bon-mots from the existentialists; he hosts a dinner for President Chirac — a European leader he plainly detests, and who has not given an inch in his opposition to U.S. policy in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. France won't even consent to U.S. pressure to make the relatively meaningless gesture of putting Hezbollah on a terrorist list.

Robert Kagan (in)famously began his recent book Of Paradise and Power by writing "It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they occupy the same world." To a large extent, Kagan has been proven correct; unfortunately for him and his fellow neocons, however, the European view is ascendant, while the American obsession with military prowess, which Kagan cleary favors, has been exposed.

P.S. For all the snobby Europhiles out there (you know who you are), how did Dubya pronounce "Camus"?

rayman :: 10:17 AM :: Comments (18) :: Digg It!