"Old Europe," said a testy Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld,
needs to step aside in favor of America's true allies and new friends. As to
European resistance to a possible military strike against Iraq, Rumsfeld
said, "You're thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don't. I think
that's old Europe. If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the center
of gravity is shifting to the east. And there are a lot of new members."
"Old European" French President Jacques Chirac said, "War is
always the admission of defeat, and is always the worst of solutions. And
hence everything must be done to avoid it." German Chancellor Gerhard
Schroder said, "Do not reckon with Germany approving a resolution
authorizing war. Do not reckon with that."
Rumsfeld nailed it. Given the collapse of the Soviet Union and
the evolution of NATO from a military to a political alliance, "old Europe"
no longer possesses the same military and geopolitical significance. "New
Europe" represents not just America's likely allies in the event of a
military strike against Iraq, "new Europe" expresses an ideology,
philosophy, and appreciation of freedom through strength. "New Europe"
understands America, what she stands for, and that America's national
interests coincide with theirs.
Eight "new European" countries signed a Wall Street Journal
op/ed article, pledging to support President Bush. Denmark, Italy, Great
Britain, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, and later
Slovakia, through their leaders, said, "The real bond between the U.S. and
Europe is the values we share: democracy, individual freedom, human rights
and the rule of law. These values crossed the Atlantic with those who sailed
from Europe to help create the United States of America. Today they are
under greater threat than ever. . . . Thanks in large part to American
bravery, generosity and farsightedness, Europe was set free from the two
forms of tyranny that devastated our continent in the 20th century: Nazism
"We sent a clear, firm and unequivocal message that we would rid
the world of the danger posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass
destruction. We must remain united in insisting that his regime be disarmed.
. . . Sadly this week the U.N. weapons inspectors have confirmed that his
long-established pattern of deception, denial and noncompliance with U.N.
Security Council resolutions is continuing. . . . Our goal is to safeguard
world peace and security by ensuring that this regime gives up its weapons
of mass destruction. Our governments have a common responsibility to face
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, in a recent White
House visit, hailed America, "We will never forget that we owe our freedom,
our democracy, to the United States. . . . And we also will never forget
that there have been many American young lives that have been lost and
sacrificed themselves for us. So, for us, the United States is not only our
friend but they are the guarantee of our democracy and our freedom. . . .
Every time I see the U.S. flag, I don't see the flag only as representative
of a country, but I see it as a symbol of democracy and of freedom."
"Shame on You American-Hating Liberals," wrote British
columnist Tony Parsons last Sept. 11, in the Daily Mirror: "America is this
country's greatest friend and our staunchest ally. We are bonded to the U.S.
by culture, language and blood. A little over half a century ago, around
half a million Americans died for our freedoms, as well as their own. Have
we forgotten so soon? And exactly a year ago, thousands of ordinary men,
women and children -- not just Americans, but from dozens of countries --
were butchered by a small group of religious fanatics. Are we so quick to
. . . The truth is that America has behaved with enormous restraint since
September 11. . . . America could have turned a large chunk of the world
into a parking lot. That it didn't is a sign of strength. . . . Not ground
down by the past, or religion, or some caste system, America is the best
friend this country ever had and we should start remembering that."
Prime Minister Tony Blair steadfastly stares down public opinion
polls running nearly 70 percent against his support of President Bush's
policies. Why? Blair recently told Parliament, "When people ask me why I am
willing to risk everything on this politically, I do not want to be the
prime minister when people point the finger back from history and say: 'You
know those two threats (terrorism and weapons of mass destruction) were
there and you did nothing about it.'"
U.N. Resolution 1441 passed unanimously. It calls for Iraq to
completely declare its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and that
failure to do so constitutes "material breach," which calls for "serious
consequences." It requires no "smoking gun," nor does it place the "burden
of proof" on the inspectors.
"New Europe" understands that. "Old Europe" and the
blame-America left never will.