Wednesday, September 27, 2006

One would hope that this doesn’t come as a shock.

Being polite to barbarians only works if they listen and follow an example. Rampaging fools who would shoot a nun don’t. European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, the only senior figure in the EU who appears to have a spine, chides Euro-leaders for caving in on the Pope in the usual Euro-manner:

"To attack the Pope because he referred to a historical document in a speech is fully unacceptable," said Mr Barroso.

"I was disappointed that there weren't more European leaders who said: of course the Pope has the right to express his views. The problem is not his remarks, but the reactions of the extremists."

Asked why European politicians had been so reluctant to support the Pope, Mr Barroso said "Perhaps because there is concern about a possible confrontation. And sometimes [there is] a sort of political correctness: that one is only being tolerant when placing the opinion of others above one's own. I am very in favour of tolerance, but we should stand up for our values."
The making of the US as a straw man, and the frequent reversing of what those values are for the purpose of being America’s contrarian is further proof of that. The behavior is not that different from Ahmedinejad’s bleats: he wants to give a popular pitchfork-raising slap at what appears to stand for authority, but not slap so hard that the United States will do anything about it.

Barroso seems to see the weakness and indignity of this approach, and seems to be more than willing to discuss values for something other than political effect or public appeasement. He seems to be aware of the existential threat to those values and tenets.

Meanwhile at the other end of the bar, Dominique de Villepin takes an approach that the public is more used to. Breaking big concepts to them by seeming to demand more and better symbolism, when what he seems to be looking for is a statesmanlike dealer to hire on.

No comments: