Dan Drezner has an excellent post up today on the transatlantic split between the U.S. and Europe. It’s a common topic, to be sure. The most important recent book on international relations, Robert Kagan’s Of Paradise and Power, is exclusively devoted to this topic. But Drezner approaches it with remarkable nuance. The hip thing to blame for the split, Drezner says, is the end of the Cold War, when the incentive for Europe to ally with the U.S. disappeared. Drezner uses the “9/11 vs. 11/9” (11/9 being the fall of the Berlin wall) line, which has also come out of Kagan’s mouth, during a Slate conversation with Niall Ferguson. However, it’s a fairly common quip; after all, it works rather nicely, doesn’t it? Anyway, it’s important to note that this is a hip idea only in academic circles; for the general public, especially in liberal college towns such as mine, Bush is generally blamed. But Drezner rejects the Cold War rational, instead arguing that the leaders of both the U.S. and Europe (Bush, Schroeder, Chirac) are to blame. I personally find this to be an accurate, fair, and neutral middle ground in the debate. I believe that Europe still has the incentive to ally with the U.S. that it had before the fall of the Berlin wall; after all, Europe has relatively weak military forces, and thus must rely on the U.S. when a real threat (North Korea, China, radical Islam, etc.) emerges. It’s the arrogance of heads of state on both sides of the ocean that caused the split. Very well said, Dan.
It appears that the crisis in Sudan is finally getting some media coverage. It was a front-page story in my local paper yesterday, and is given a photo spread in Newsweek this week. This atrocity warrants military intervention, to stop the Arab militias from committing further genocide. We must not let this become a second Rwanda. The problem, is, however, that U.S. troops cannot sustain an intervention there. We are ready over-stretched because of our deployments in Iraq. This, Mr. President, is why we don’t have wars of choice. When we intervene unnecessarily, we run the risk of letting genocide occur. This is where our troops should be, Mr. President. The war in Iraq wasn’t humanitarian; it has helped allow genocide to happen. The people of Darfur deserve an apology, Mr. President.
Just watched Bush’s “Coalition of the Wild-Eyed” ad. If anything, it made me proud for my party. The forceful attacks by Al Gore, Dick Gephardt, Howard Dean, and John Kerry showed that we now have a backbone. Adding clips from two ads comparing Bush to Hitler, and insinuating that they were sponsored by MoveOn.org (which they weren’t), won’t convince anyone. The public is smart enough to know that those ads don’t represent John Kerry, or the Democratic party as a whole. Bad move, Reign-y.
I suppose I should comment on the Supreme Court decisions today. Or on the early transfer of power. But I’ll defer to Slate and Juan Cole, respectively, on those. What’s really bugging me today is the fact that Ashcroft and co. have set up a propaganda site to defend the U.S.A. Patriot Act. My main problem with it, other than the fact that it’s trying to defend an indefensible law, is its M.O.: quoting Democratic Senators‘ floor statements in October 2001 in favor of the Patriot Act. This site isn’t for information purposes; it’s simply being used to repeat the Republican line that Democrats are “flip-floppers” because they sometimes reconsider policy positions. Disgusting.
P.S. While we’re on the subject of flip-flopping, it appears that the press is guilty of it as well.
TalkLeft has called for John Kerry to appoint Gary Hart to be Secretary of State. This struck me as very odd; Hart is on the U.S. National Security Commission, but that seems to prepare him to be Secretary of Homeland Security, not of State. My personal favorite for the post is Joe Biden, if only for this interview.