O.K., so here’s that ‘divided Europe’ post.
Many have pondered how George W. could be so seemingly oblivious to the diplomatic consequences of his actions, especially the severing of ties with some of our strongest and oldest allies. Now, I’m the last to defend the French, because some of the stupidest things I’ve heard said in recent weeks have come from the lips of Jacques Chirac and his posse. But George W.’s actions have triggered a change in the status of the French from benign narcissists to hostile obstructionists.
If one were of a cynical mind, one might speculate that W. is being calculating. In W.’s belief system about the new world order, it seems to be a given that the U.S. will prevail in Iraq and all will go back to normal. But a few years down the road, doesn’t it also stand to reason that W. might think it’s in the U.S.’s best economic and political interests to have a divided Europe? In a post-Cold War era, the E.U. itself is the only viable economic competitor for the U.S. The stronger the bonds are within Europe, the bigger the threat is to U.S. dominance in the world. So, on some level, it makes perfect sense that the bumbling Bush, when faced with the reality that his attempts at so-called coalition building were failing miserably, might think there was a distinct fringe benefit to him. The legacy of his actions, by intent or by mistake, would conceivably position the U.S. more strongly in the world.
Now, of course, this line or reasoning could also backfire louder than a Scud missile. And maybe it has already. Because, yes, officially we may have France and Germany at odds with Spain and the U.K., and — oh, yes — Bulgaria. (No offense, Bulgaria — it’s just too easy to use our alliance with Bulgaria as a punchline.)
But those alliances are only the official governmental ones. Polls in both Spain and the U.K. reveal that the vast majority of citizens of those countries are opposed to being involved in the war. That may translate into long-term solidarity among the European nations.
Hope we all live long enough to find out.