May 22, 2007

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON on Europe’s growing maturity:

For five years we have been lectured that George Bush ruined the trans-Atlantic relationship. But now we see pro-American governments in both France and Germany, and a radical change in attitudes from Denmark to Holland to Italy. The truth is that the Europeans neither hated nor loved Bill Clinton, whom they on occasion privately seethed at for not exercising leadership, or George Bush who swaggered and talked tough to them during the lead-up to Iraq and seemed to them to be rudely unilateral. Instead, after getting their teen-age anger out, they are starting to see that the United States did not fabricate Islamic radicalism nor order them to let in and then not assimilate millions of now angry Muslims. . . .

So it is they, not us, that are returning to sobriety in matters of the trans-Atlantic relationship, and they are doing this not because of affection for George Bush, but despite their anxiety about him. And that is good news, since it suggests the warming exists apart from personalities, and reminds us that if the so-called and much deprecated “West” were ever to act in unison (the former British commonwealth, Japan, the US, and continental Europe), then radical Islam would simply have no chance against 8-900 million of the planet’s most productive, ingenious and democratic peoples. . . . If I were a European, Taiwanese, Saudi, or almost anyone else who habitually complains about American presumptuousness, I would worry that the American public is reverting to its (natural?) 1930s sort of isolationism. Tired of cheap anti-Americanism, the burden of global defense obligations, and the continual erosion of the dollar, they wish to pull in their horns and let others in multilateral fashion pick up the slack.

Read the whole thing.

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