Friday, September 24, 2004

Alienating the allies 

Charles Krauthammer writes about one of America's allies:

"Of all our allies in the world, which is the only one to have joined the United States in the foxhole in every war in the last 100 years? Not Britain, not Canada, certainly not France. The answer is Australia.

"Australia not only shares a community of values with the United States. It understands that its safety rests ultimately on a stable international structure that, in turn, rests not on parchment treaties but on the power and credibility of the United States. Which is why Australia is with us today in both Afghanistan and Iraq."
Krauthammer spends most of his piece recounting the recent intervention in Australian politics by John Kerry's sister, Diana. In the end, he has this to say:

"She is, of course, merely echoing her brother, who, at a time when American allies have shown great political courage in facing down both terrorists and domestic opposition for their assistance to the United States in Iraq, calls these allies the 'coalition of the coerced and the bribed.'

"This snide and reckless put-down not only undermines our best friends abroad. It demonstrates the cynicism of Kerry's promise to broaden our coalition in Iraq. If this is how Kerry repays America's closest allies -- ridiculing the likes of Tony Blair and John Howard -- who does he think is going to step up tomorrow to be America's friend?...

"Kerry abuses America's closest friends while courting those, like Germany and France, that have deliberately undermined America before, during and after the war. What lessons are leaders abroad to draw from this when President Kerry asks them -- pretty please in his most mellifluous French -- to put themselves on the line for the United States?"
Amen to all that, but at the same time a memo to the Bush Administration: Poland has also been a staunch ally in this war, putting itself at great diplomatic risk vis-a-vis the Old Europe, and despite the fact that the war wasn't particularly popular domestically. I'm reading a lot of bitter commentary in the Polish media right now about how all that Poland got for her support is a few mentions in President's speeches. OK, I know that true allies are supposed to do it for love alone, but unfortunately in the real world it ain't work like that. The bottom line is that if Poland realises that having stuck its neck out for America it gets shat upon by France and Germany and ignored by the US as far as better economic and military ties are concerned, it might be reluctant to be so forthcoming the next time. Maybe all the money the US currently sends every year to, say, Egypt would pay much better political dividends in Central and Eastern Europe. Just a thought.


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