Monday, March 27, 2006

More from Tony Blair: the danger of America raising it's drawbridge

From his speech to Australia's Parliment,
Wherever people live in fear, with no prospect of advance, we should be on their side; in solidarity with them, whether in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, North Korea; and where countries, and there are many in the Middle East today, are in the process of democratic development, we should extend a helping hand.

This requires, across the board an active foreign policy of engagement not isolation. It cannot be achieved without a strong alliance. This alliance does not end with, but it does begin with America. For us in Europe and for you, this alliance is central.

And I want to speak plainly here. I do not always agree with the US. Sometimes they can be difficult friends to have. But the strain of, frankly, anti-American feeling in parts of European politics is madness when set against the long-term interests of the world we believe in.

The danger with America today is not that they are too much involved. The danger is they decide to pull up the drawbridge and disengage. We need them involved. We want them engaged. The reality is that none of the problems that press in on us, can be resolved or even contemplated without them.
Also an interview of Clair Berlinski by John Hawkins on her book Menace in Europe.

John Hawkins: How pervasive is anti-Americanism in Europe?

Claire Berlinski: Very, very. See poll numbers above. We see members of the Dutch parliament in hiding, the abrogation of freedom of expression throughout Europe, the rise of right-wing leaders who openly advocate the mass deportation of non-white Europeans, one barely-thwarted terrorist attack after another-and yet, according to the polls, the majority of Europeans consider the United States to be their biggest worry. They're monomaniacally obsessed with the danger posed to them by Americans and the perfidious cabal of Jews who yank our puppet strings.

John Hawkins: A lot of people like to play down the differences between America and Europe, but it has become clear that there is a huge cultural & political gap between us on a wide variety of issues. Why do you believe we've grown so far apart or have we always been split like this and just haven't really noticed because our cooperation during the Cold War masked the differences?

Claire Berlinski: The divide has always been there-European anti-Americanism is as old as America itself. It tends to flare up and then die down, flaring up generally at times of European insecurity. Certainly, since the end of the Cold War Europe has really come into its own, and unfortunately, Europe's own is historically rather an unattractive thing. If young Germans are now seen muttering darkly about how they deplore American militarism-a sentiment, I am persuaded, that represents nothing more than their own stifled longing to switch on the tank's ignition and thrill once again to the low deep rumble of its engine-it is certainly nothing new; Germans have complained for a very long time of these things. If we heard less of this during the Cold War, yes, of course it was because the alternative to our militarism was the hammer and sickle; this kind of choice does seem to sober people up.

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