March 16, 2004

JEFFERSON MORLEY SURVEYS THE EUROPEAN PRESS for the Washington Post and discovers that some realism is beginning to appear:

“Only a dreamer would believe that Germany will not be attacked,” say the editors of Bild, Germany’s best-selling tabloid. “Islamic terrorists are waging a war against the West, not just against individual countries.”

Sociologist Emilio Lamo de Espinosa says Europeans have been dreaming. Writing in Le Monde (in French), Lamo says Europeans have thought they would be spared because they haven’t supported the Bush administration’s policies.

“When the Americans declared war on terrorism, many of us thought they exaggerated. Many thought terrorism was not likely to occur on our premises, [inhabited by] peaceful and civilized Europeans who speak no evil of anybody, who dialogue, who are the first [to] send assistance and offer cooperation. We are pacifists, they are warmongers. . . . . Don’t we defend the Palestinians? Are we not pro-Arab and anti-Israeli?”

“Can we dialogue with those who desire only our death and nothing but our death?” Lamo asks. “Dialogue about what? The manner in which we will be assassinated?”

Yes. Like Auric Goldfinger, they don’t want us to talk. They want us to die:

Hussein Massawi, former leader of Hezbollah, summed it up very pithily: “We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you.”

You have to give them this much: they’re not hiding the ball here. It’s nice to see that some people are starting to catch on. Morley wonders whether Al Qaeda will try to influence the American elections with an attack. I don’t think such an attack would have the same result as the Madrid blasts. Neither does Virginia Postrel, but she notes that many Europeans think that a pre-election attack would lead to a Bush defeat.

Europeans don’t understand America very well, I guess. Unfortunately, neither does Al Qaeda, by all appearances — though apparently it does understand Europeans.

UPDATE: This article by Fareed Zakaria is worth reading, too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis has thoughts.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: The CJR campaign blog notes a misleading story about terror and the election. Guess who it makes look bad. . .?

MORE: Hook, line, and sinker. Plus: War, dishonor, or both?

And read this, too.

MORE STILL: Richard Brookhiser: “Death and destruction pose the question “Whither Europe?” so much more forcefully than gray arguments over the European Union constitution, or even lively arguments over Franco/Anglo/American jockeying in the Security Council.”

He also observes:

The United States cannot do everything. Even things we could do, we might not do for the sake of prudence. But too many lives are at stake. Our goal should be to transform one malignant regime—by pushing it over, if necessary—every two years.

Who’s next?

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