Why? Because they don't want to get along; they are implacable. They are entrenched. They are determined to obstruct. How much more so European liberals who distrust him on their own even without the persistent encouragement from their counterparts in America.
Friedman's mushy advice on the virtues of listening sounds just peachy, but underlying it is the presumption that President Bush has not considered the full spectrum of ideas on Iraq. It naively assumes that if he would just develop an open mind -- not just open ears -- he would inevitably change his foreign policy.
Why is it that liberals conclude that if you don't agree with them, you just don't have an open -- or competent -- mind? The answer is simply their stunning arrogance. The president would have to have lived in a cave not to have heard a thousand times all the arguments against his foreign policy.
But what if Mr. Bush followed Friedman's advice? What if he listened to the European ingrates but still didn't change his mind? Would that make them love him? No. They will only be satisfied, just like American liberals, if they are calling the shots: if Bush does exactly what they say. This nonsense about open-mindedness and listening is just puerile psychobabble.
But even more annoying is Friedman's affectionate portrayal of the European criticism: "Some of it is very heartfelt, even touching." Why so? Because deep down they envy us and "want America to be that open, foreigner-embracing, carefree, goofily enthusiastic place that cynical old Europe can never be." They think Bush has turned America into "a strange new land that exports fear more than hope ? a place whose greeting to visitors has gone from 'Give me your tired, your poor' to 'Give me your fingerprints.' They look at Mr. Bush as someone who stole something precious from them." Now I'm touched.
This is almost too much to take. But even if you have the stomach to swallow this nonsense, do you think the European attitude Friedman describes would remotely change if President Bush "would just listen" to them?
We're not playing in the sandbox, Mr. Friedman. Foreign policy is for adults.
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