Thursday, March 11, 2004

Kerry's European Friends

A great deal has been made over the last few days about John Kerry's claim that certain foreign leaders, presumably Europeans among them, have "met" with Kerry and told him they're silently cheering him on. Recently I argued that it certainly is the case that many Europeans would prefer Kerry to Bush, but as many including Eursoc.com have pointed out, when one actually looks at European leaders, as opposed to pundits and the media, it's not all that easy to find too many candidates for the role of Kerry backer.

Given that most European leaders seem quite at ease with Bush, and even Gerhard Schroeder who played the anti-American card in order to distract attention from his country's dismal economic peformace during the last federal election, was recently in Washington courting American favor, it isn't at all clear that a whole host of European leaders would be lining up in Kerry's camp. And as Eursoc.com points out, even the French need Bush as US-bashing is currently one of the only things that unites the dissolving French nation.

But this only brings us to the deeper problem. Even if Kerry were to win, he'd quickly find himself in a position not that different from George W. Bush. Anyone who thinks Kerry would have an easier time with those in Europe predisposed to blame America first are sadly mistaken. Bush has been a convenient target, but when it comes down to practical matters, Kerry would encounter the same hostility from a European, and especially a French elite, that simply does not like the United States and will use any and all tools to stem its influence in the world.

The real question is whether or not the western world will take stock of changing times and act in order to defend the shared concerns and philosophy of the West, or will it hide its head in the sand and dwell on time-worn clich├ęs in order to avoid the steps that need to be taken. Whatever one thinks of the US or Bush, it is clear that this administration has undertaken a spirited defense of civilization. Obstructionists like the current French government have merely pandered to the forces that would undermine that defense. The issue is not who likes whom best, it is civilization and whether or not we look its enemies in the face or cower in the corner.

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