Why is that so many people think they know what Bush thinks, while so few appear to listen to what he says?asks the editor of the policy quarterly European Affairs and media fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
The phenomenon is particularly widespread among Bush's many critics in America. But it also seems to have afflicted Europeans, who long ago formed their opinions of Bush, often on the basis of crude caricatures in the European media, and don't want to change them now.
There is little doubt, however, that many people who think they know what Bush thinks are wrong. And that in turn makes it harder for them to criticize Bush effectively. If you don't know what you are aiming at, you'll probably miss the target.
…[A] commentator claimed to have proved that Bush was hostile to European integration because he hardly ever mentioned the European Union. But in one of his best speeches, in London in November 2003, Bush said: "My nation welcomes the growing unity of Europe, and the world needs America and the European Union to work in common purpose for the advance of security and justice."
And this to the German Bundestag in May 2002: "When Europe grows in unity, Europe and America grow in security. When you integrate your markets and share a currency in the European Union, you are creating the conditions for security and common purpose. In all these steps, Americans do not see the rise of a rival, we see the end of old hostilities."
When Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made virtually identical statements during her European tour this month, Europeans hailed them as long overdue recognition of the EU by the Bush administration. Did they not hear the same message when Bush delivered it?