Saturday, October 23, 2004

Kerry's Coalition of the Unwilling 

John Kerry's "real allies" in action:
"Europe would line up behind a Kerry administration's fresh approach to 'winning the peace' in Iraq with diplomatic support, but not troops, say officials and policy analysts."
Which is a huge relief, because as we all know, the simmering insurgency and the slow pace of reconstruction can be blamed in large part for the shortage of diplomats on the ground in Iraq.

Jokes aside, "officials and policy analysts" offer some interesting perspectives on the current presidential race and the prospect of a Kerry Administration:
" 'Do not expect miracles from a Kerry victory,' said Dominique Moisi, deputy director of the French Institute for International Relations. 'It's not as if you elect Kerry and suddenly France decides it will rush troops to Iraq. Countries which supported the war are leaving; countries which opposed it will not get in,' he said. But Moisi, who has been a sharp critic of French policies, said Kerry's internationalist approach would go a long way toward restoring a cooperative relationship between Washington and its European allies. 'Words do matter. Style does matter," Moisi said. "Bush's style has unnecessarily antagonized France and the rest of the world. Kerry's style would be much more acceptable'."
All this talk about style comes down to this: we still won't do anything, but at least you won't be shouting at us.
"Francois Heisbourg, director of the Foundation for Strategic Research, a Paris think tank, agreed a Kerry victory would be warmly received in European capitals but warned 'countries don't put their soldiers' lives at risk in far-off wars just because their leaders have a more pleasant relationship'. 'The notion that France and Germany are going to send forces to Iraq when America is not willing to send enough of its own soldiers there because it doesn't want to reestablish the draft - this is fantasy,' he said. Heisbourg said the allies might be willing to participate in peacekeeping operations in Iraq under a U.N. flag, but it was unlikely they would become involved in fighting an insurgency that has brought chaos to Iraq. 'We've already been to Abu Ghraib. It was called the Battle of Algiers,' he said, referring to the brutalities that took place during France's war in Algeria."
Which once again underlines the point that with John Kerry in the White House, the Europeans are willing to pay any price and bear any burden because they won't have to.
"While a Kerry victory would meet with public approval across Europe, it would not necessarily make life easier for European leaders, according to Olivier Roy, an expert on political Islam who lives in France. 'If Bush is re-elected, OK, we know he's not going to ask us for anything,' Roy said. 'But if Kerry wins, he will ask, and we will have to deliver - not in Iraq, but in Afghanistan, in Iran. A Kerry victory will be more costly for France'."
This is an interesting perspective, and it suggests that the European leaders must secretly love the Bush Presidency, as it allows them to do nothing (which is the usual European tactic) and at the same time feel very righteous about it. God knows, should Kerry become president, it might be like the 1990s all over again, and the Europeans might be coerced and bossed around again into stopping genocide and a major war on their own continent (should there be another re-run of the decade-long Balkan crisis), much less somewhere else around the world.
"Guillaume Parmentier, director of the French Center on the United States, is concerned a Kerry win will raise unrealistically high expectations on both sides of the Atlantic. Americans, he said, will want Europe to pick up a larger share of the burden in Iraq while Europeans, who have listened approvingly to Kerry's pledges of a non-bullying approach to allies, are hoping things 'will get back to normal after such a bad period.' Both sides are likely to be disappointed, he said, adding fundamental differences on how best to wage a global war on terrorism will continue to strain the alliance."
The Europeans are like teenage children of a divorce, who prefer to spend time with their Democrat mother rather than a strict Republican dad, not because they like the mother more (dude, parents they like, suck, or what?) but because she won't force them to take out the trash and clean the dishes. No wonder the father is increasingly thinking that his 59 year old teenager should finally move out of home and start supporting himself.


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