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European "intellectual elite"?

Reader comment on item: [Appeasement Explains] Why Europe Balks

Submitted by David Wolf (United States), Jan 28, 2003 at 23:38

I must wonder if there is such thing as this fabled "european intellectual elite". It would seem that the european political discourse (I won't say dialogue- "cacaphony of mewling" would be more appropriate) is centered around the viewpoints of the same type of ignorant, braying masses (who spout the latest inane platitudes) as they accuse the US of being populated by.

The sophomoric rhetoric of these "career student radicals" is based on nothing more than cultural self-hatred and flagrant emotionalism- while it is true that the deaths of civilians are tragic, crying "But think about the innocent people!" is not in and of itself a reason to appease a tyrant.

When I hear a frenchman mouth the ludicrously empty phrase "Libert, equality and fraternity", I am at first nearly overcome with the urge to vomit. That urge shortly gives way to the urge to chuckle at the irony of that saying as it comes from the mouth of a modern Frenchman. For all of their righteous indignance at the "arrogant" and "imperialistic" American foreign policy, we must remond them of a few notable facts:

1.) French colonial rule of west africa, and France's (overt) use of slave labor/pillaging of minerals ended (at least in the public sense) a mere forty years ago- by comparison, the US began it's renunciation of racial inequities nearly one hundred years prior. Which nation, then, has the most recent record of colonial abuses? Ask a west african how they feel when they hear the words "Liberte, egalite, et fraternite".
Where is that same frenzied chorus of tears for Senegal, or Mali, or Cote D'Ivoire?

The Iraqis seems to have monopolized the market on french sympathy.

2.) French troops are currently involved in military action in Ivory coast- why? Are they there to restore democracy, or to address a threat to French assets or citizens? It would seem that precious little is said by the average Frenchman in regards to their country's involvement in west africa- either now or in the past.

3.) While the French and Germans pulled their collective beards and wondered what was to be done about Slobodan Milosevic and his three wars of expansion and ritualized murder, the US was compelled to drag them kicking and screaming to face their moral (if not legal under NATO pacts) obligations to the people of the balkans. At that, the endemically contrary French still refused to allow the UN or NATO to overfly their airspace while fighting to restore order in Kosovo. Is it that Kosovars aren't "muslim" enough to curry the French affections, or is it simply that the collctive guilt over being the last colonists to persist in north and west africa makes them more sympathetic to "real" ( read arab/berber) muslims? Which nation is "arrogant" and "imperialist"?

I think that the US administration, mindful of the hurt feelings that would arise from stating this plainly, should begin to treat western europe as excactly what it is- an area of steadily decreasing import to the fortunes of the US. Similarly, the next time France chooses to be "watchfully tolerant" of another threat massing against them, the US should return the favor and deliberate, obfuscate, and generally do nothing while they are forced to kneel on their prayer rugs towards the west five times a day.

The UN is, thaks to the actions of the French and Germans, slipping into the same irrelevance that they insist is the consequence of our unilateralism. The French and Germans now see the UN as a means of expressing, and propagating, their inert policies regarding UN reso. 1441.

As an afterthought, as I advised my young and somewhat naive nephew that next time someone passionately against war with Iraq harangues him, to ask them some questions- can they name more than one muslim fundamentalist group, or the theatre in which each of them operates?

If not, I suggest you are being harangued by someone who hasn't the first shred of an idea about geopolitics, or religion, or tradition, or anything at all. When a movement exists solely on the stridency of it's rhetoric (as the current anti-war movement does), it is groundless. What the new left doesn't seem to get is this- 9/11 changed the rules of engagement. They see the US targeting Iraq, but they don't see the common goals of the Islamists which make it necessary for us to treat Hussein as the threat he is- part of a much larger whole.

Thanks again, Dr. Pipes, for continuing your work.

David Wolf

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