Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Clearly, they have work to do.

American Enterprise Magazine distills some conclusions about the elitist European hatred of Americans and the unremarkable history of it. It is definitely rooted in a contempt not of some world view, but of the stubbornness of their emotive views requiring some sort of reason and action.
«Unlike some forms of bigotry, anti-Americanism is most virulent among Europe's elites. Everyday Germans and Brits and Italians tend to be more appreciative of American culture, economic achievement, and government than their political lords. But ordinary Europeans have relatively little influence on the direction of their societies. The thing about European governance most striking to American eyes today is its comparatively undemocratic nature. In much of the continent, elections mean little, unaccountable bureaucracies and elites commandeer the most important decisions, the same people hang onto power endlessly, and policies that would not survive the test of popular opinion are simply instituted by administrative fiat. To cite just one example, direct election of mayors has been blocked in many localities, with national authorities insisting on appointing local leaders themselves.

Because of this unrepresentative politics, lots of ideas supported by a majority of the European public--like the death penalty--have no chance of becoming law. The tradition of a peasantry ruled by its "betters" endures in numerous ways.»
So as far as bad soap opera and histrionics are concerned, the continent offers the best in one-stop shopping.
«For evidence that obstruction of the U.S. is more important to many European elites than making progress in the world’s most dangerous flashpoints, look no farther than Afghanistan. The Afghan war was not controversial in Old Europe. It was universally agreed that the Taliban was a blight on central Asia, and that the al-Qaeda cells incubating in Afghanistan were a menace to the entire globe. Europeans accepted the urgent necessity of rooting out both entities militarily, and then rebuilding the Afghan government and civil society.

But once U.S. forces had done the dirty work of eliminating Afghanistan’s fanatical ruling cliques, did our European allies live up to their promises to help update that nation’s infrastructure, train its police, build up its courts, revive its social sector and economy? Scandalously, no.

...the Europeans immediately fell way behind on their financial pledges. Their troop commitments were not met. The German promise to train the Afghan police became a joke. European offers to reconstruct the justice system went nowhere. In all of these areas, America had to step into the breach to help suffering Afghans, and stave off disorder and a re-emergence of terror cells.
[ … ]
Having for years refused to fund their militaries, and lacking sufficient numbers of young men with patriotic martial spirit, the continental European nations could not project much righteous military power today even if they did have the will. You will often hear gassy rhetoric at European conclaves about how, as Spanish prime minister Zapatero recently put it, “Europe must believe that it can be in 20 years the most important world power.” But the stark reality is that only 3 to 5 percent of the 2.5 million personnel under arms in Europe today can be deployed, even for a short time. Due to its military weakness and diplomatic vacillation, “Europe is nearly irrelevant to the great issues of the future” in today’s conflict zones, notes my colleague Tom Donnelly in a new book.»
The question is, how much of the actions of European society and government are NOT driven by propping up prior failures? Is this an extended period of soul-searching on their part, or is it an unbreakable pattern?
«This kind of bilious grandstanding now dominates European diplomacy. Indeed, Europe no longer even attempts a serious and constructive foreign policy in many important areas. Quick: Name one thing the old continental European powers have done to help stabilize Iraq. O.K., France has detailed one officer (literally) to help train the Iraqi police. But when Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi wanted to meet with France’s president last year, he was refused. Instead of offering practical guidance to the new leader of one of the globe’s hotspots, Jacques Chirac rushed off to the deathbed of Yasser Arafat, whom he fawned over and called “a hero.”
[ … ]
“A leftist judge in Spain orders the arrest of a pathetic, near-senile General Augusto Pinochet eight years after he’s left office, and becomes a human rights hero... Yet for the victims of contemporary monsters still actively killing and oppressing—Khomeini and his successors, the Assads of Syria, and until yesterday Hussein and his sons— nothing. No sympathy. No action. Indeed, virulent hostility to America’s courageous and dangerous attempt at rescue.”

Krauthammer's conclusion is that the European Left's "concern for human rights turns out to be nothing more than a useful weapon for its anti-Americanism."»
Time seems to be running out.
«And it’s not just Americans whom Europeans are falling behind. The people who invented industrialism are now also being outstripped by residents of Asian and Latin American countries that have embraced globalization. Kotkin reports that Europe’s share of world Gross Domestic Product (which inevitably corresponds to international influence) shrank from 34 percent to 20 percent over the latest lifetime.

It was by adopting free-market capitalism that Asians and Latin Americans bolted upward—and in particular by copying productive ideas from the world’s largest economy (the U.S.) as fast as they could figure them out.
[ … ]
The irony is that for all their insistence on portraying the U.S. as a land of fired workers, poverty, and economic insecurity, it is now Europe where unemployment is twice as high and four times as deep, where immigrants and the young have far fewer openings, where the ladder of upward mobility has fallen to pieces. In terms of spending power, homeownership, educational opportunities, and so forth, even relatively low income.

Americans are now demonstrably better off than typical Europeans.

So which economic alternative is actually more “harsh on the poor and economically underprivileged”? Today’s socialized European economies bill themselves as generous and progressive, but in cold practice they are proving illiberal and reactionary. Reforms that could open up new fresh opportunities for stagnated workers are being blocked by Europe’s dominant class, for fear that a more freewheeling system might reduce the privileges of those currently in command.»
h/t – to RV

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