‘Old Europe’ – They Just Don’t Get It

And another from a military buddy. Excellent read.

By Paul Connors

While the United States prepares to go to war (with or without another U.N. resolution), our traditional allies just don’t get what the leader of the Free World is all about.

In London, Paris, Barcelona and Rome, he has been called the ‘Toxic Texan.” A poll in the United Kingdom on Feb. 12, 2003, found that 32 percent of the British people claimed that they believed George Bush is the biggest threat to world peace. Not Saddam Hussein, not Kim Jong-il and not Osama Bin Laden – George W. Bush, president of the United States and leader of the Free World.

Of course, polls are easy enough to skew; all one has to do is change the wording of a couple of questions and the entire results can be altered to suit the pollster’s purposes. Then again, these are the views of the people who have become accustomed to the mindset and handouts of the socialist welfare “nanny states” of western Europe. The views expressed by most of the civilians in Europe are what we in the United States have come to expect.

Despite the fact that we are reviled in many parts of the world, Americans go through life with a remarkable degree of indifference to what the rest of the world thinks of us. And as a result, the residents of Europe, Africa, Asia and South America are all jealous. That’s right, they’re jealous!

We are a country only 227 years old and we have left the rest of the world in our wake. After defeating German and Italian Fascism and Japanese militarism, we faced down and defeated Communism.

To the oppressed and downtrodden, the United States have always been and always will be that glimmering beacon of freedom that they will ultimately seek out as their life preserver and the breadbasket that will feed the hungry.

But the governments of many so-called allied nations do not.

Just this week, three of our now-former allies, the Belgians, French and Germans, opposed Turkey’s request that NATO provide Patriot missile batteries for air defense duties should Iraq retaliate for permitting U.S. forces to stage in the country.

France is a country we rescued twice in one century from German aggression. We also liberated Belgium during World War II. During France’s war in Indochina, the United States picked up 90 percent of the cost of supporting our NATO ally’s colonialist war in the belief that helping France stemmed the march of Communism.

Germany, an enemy we rebuilt after World War II, has also turned and bit the hand that fed it. For more than 50 years, the presence of the U.S. Army and Air Force in Europe served as a deterrent to hostile action by the nations of the Warsaw Pact. Now that the Soviet Union is gone and the expansionist Communism that it espoused has been relegated to the ash heap of history, Germany, led by a radical socialist chancellor, has decided to flex its muscles and challenge the policies of the United States. Is it any wonder that relations between Washington and Berlin are so frosty?

As the United States and its staunchest ally, the United Kingdom, prepare to face Iraq again in Southwest Asia, the former powers of western Europe have sought to stonewall our efforts to build an international coalition to oust Saddam’s regime. In the process, former European allies have been joined by a former foe as Russia weighed in on the side of continued negotiations and inspections by U.N. teams.

Despite these international betrayals by countries that the United States once counted on, Bush has stood steadfast in his belief that military force to remove Saddam Hussein is now the only answer. Last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell proved to the world what the U.S. government has known for some time: that the Iraqi dictator has lied, cheated and abrogated the agreements he made at the conclusion of Gulf War I.

In laying out the facts for the delegates of the U.N. Security Council, Powell also illustrated for world viewers the impressive U.S. intelligence-gathering capabilities. Yet it still came as a surprise that so many people both here and overseas looked at that detailed, damning evidence and still said that Powell’s presentation did not prove the U.S. argument.

But that doesn’t change the fact that the Bush administration has decided that what matters most is not French public opinion, but rather, protecting the American people and their homeland from further aggression by terrorists and the rogue states that support them.

For the last decade, thanks in great part to the feckless behavior of the Clinton administration, Saddam thumbed his nose at the world, believing that the international community could never unify to stop him.

But Saddam was mistaken. As our traditional allies wimped out, new champions have stepped in to take their place. A principled Spanish Prime Minister stepped forward to forge a new alliance with the United States. Former Warsaw Pact enemies and now new members of NATO, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, have also stepped forward to be counted. Other longtime friends, including Italy and Australia, did not abandon the United States.

Americans are a generous and forgiving people, and we are now fortunate to have a strong wartime leader. When the Germans, French and Belgians need a policeman the next time, let’s just hope they can find one in their own neighborhood.

The 101st Airborne Division is deploying overseas as you read this. It is not going to Normandy in France, Bastogne in Belgium or the Eagle’s Nest in Germany.

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