'New' Europe stands with America

Posted: Feb 06, 2003 12:00 AM
"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 and communism. "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 this threat." 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 betray them? . . . 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.