Weighty International Issues, Part II
: Week after week, month after month, Hub Blog slaves away, trying to carve out a unique niche and stick to Hub related issues. And what’s the No. 1 topic (and email getter) in recent weeks? My geopolitical views on the implications of France and Germany
parting ways with the US. (Actually, it’s quite flattering; I knew my Modern European History major at Tufts would come in handy one day.) Anyway, I originally updated my earlier item on the subject, but now I’m moving all the responses up into this separate item. Here goes:
Update 1-23-03, 12:10 p.m.
-- Someone just emailed me a William Safire column
, with the following comment, ‘He has more experience than you” in foreign policy and berating me, gently, for my criticism of US unilateralism. Well, first, Safire is more experienced than me on foreign matters. No argument there. But I maintain my point, coming from one angle, is not entirely different from Safire’s point, coming from another angle. The angled lines intersect at this point: “The Iraq issue is not war vs. peace. It is collective security vs. every nation for itself.” ... Germany and France (in particular) are playing a very dangerous ‘every nation for itself’ game. And the US, with its dismissive Pax America talk of going it alone, is playing its own dangerous ‘every nation for itself’ game. Who started the fight? I think you’d have to trace it, first, to anti-Americanism and, in France’s case, its envious attempt for 19th Century ‘balance of power,’ etc. (As for Deutschland
, what can one say?) Anti-Americanism predates George Bush, Jr. But the Bush administration’s blustering unilateralism, while not the cause of anti-Americanism, is certainly exacerbating the problem. Tony Blair has it right, but not too many people are paying attention to his warnings.
Update II, 1-23-03 -- 12:40 p.m
.: Reader BK sends along this piece from historian Robert Kagan
. Opening lines from Kagan:
“It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they occupy the same world. On the all-important question of power — the efficacy of power, the morality of power, the desirability of power — American and European perspectives are diverging. Europe is turning away from power, or to put it a little differently, it is moving beyond power into a self-contained world of laws and rules and transnational negotiation and cooperation. It is entering a post-historical paradise of peace and relative prosperity, the realization of Kant’s 'Perpetual Peace.' The United States, meanwhile, remains mired in history, exercising power in the anarchic Hobbesian world where international laws and rules are unreliable and where true security and the defense and promotion of a liberal order still depend on the possession and use of military might. That is why on major strategic and international questions today, Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus....”
Hub Blog’s response
: Well, Safire and I are at least on the same page: We’re bemoaning the divergence Kagan is writing about. ... And thanks to everyone who's been writing in. As they say: Great stuff.