Wednesday, February 23, 2005


American-Euro Relations

There's some insightful commentary out there regarding the current state of relations with our comrades in Europe. Mark Steyn's most recent column is excellent as always, but I sure hope he's wrong. If he's right, it does not bode well at all for the future of our trans-atlantic relations. The following paragraph, though an amusing analogy, underlies a pretty dark message bourne out in the rest of his thoughts.

He states, "... in the broader sense vis-à-vis Europe, the administration is changing the tone precisely because it understands there can be no substance. And, if there's no substance that can be changed, what's to quarrel about? International relations are like ex-girlfriends: if you're still deluding yourself you can get her back, every encounter will perforce be fraught and turbulent; once you realise that's never gonna happen, you can meet for a quick decaf latte every six – make that 10 – months and do the whole hey-isn't-it-terrific-the-way-we're-able-to-be-such-great-friends routine because you couldn't care less. You can even make a few pleasant noises about her new romance (the so-called European Constitution) secure in the knowledge he's a total loser." (link via Instapundit)

Austin Bay disagrees here. He states that Steyn's argument only makes sense if you equate Europe with France. He cites the Ukraine and Poland as examples of countries that do not follow the Franco-German mold. He even goes so far as to suggest that France itself may be ripe for reform.

Not sure if I'm as hopeful about France. So then I wonder if the issue here is not one of semantics. If we distinguish 'Old (Western) Europe' from 'New (Eastern) Europe', do we then better understand the new paradigm of these relationships?

UPDATE: Here is some encouraging news, which may add some substance to my speculation above regarding the new paradigm in our European relations:

At last President George W Bush found some European fans yesterday. After three days of muted receptions, Mr Bush received a far cheerier welcome behind the old Iron Curtain as enthusiastic Slovaks applauded him for visiting them on the last stop of his tour across the continent.

Read the whole story.

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