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Advice to Europe: Buckle Under!

Some friendly — and not so friendly — advice to Europe.

November 11, 2004

Some friendly — and not so friendly — advice to Europe.

Joe Biden, Bernard Lewis, Robert Kagan, Roger Cohen, Walter Russell Mead, Marty Peretz, Craig Kennedy, Jeffrey Gedmin, et al. Our Read My Lips feature explores what these American thinkers and policymakers are advising the Europeans to do in order to mend relations with the Bush Administration.

What is the view from the U.S. Senate?

“In the 30 years I’ve been a senator, there is very seldom an initiative that is generated from the European community to take action on almost anything.”
(Senator Joseph Biden, D-DE, October 2004)

And the U.S. media?

"While the nations of Europe have quietly retired from history — at least the history of great national combats — the United States has entered upon another epic struggle that it sees as defining for the future of mankind.”
(Roger Cohen, columnist for the International Herald Tribune, September 2004)

What do Washington think tankers worry about with regard to Europe?

“Are Europeans prepared to grant all of al Qaeda’s conditions in exchange for a promise of security? Thoughts of Munich and 1938 come to mind.”
(Robert Kagan, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 2004)

What about the perspective from academia?

“Europeans have reservations about an America which has surpassed it so clearly. And that’s why the Europeans understand the Muslims — because they have similar feeling about America.”
(Bernard Lewis, Princeton emeritus professor and Middle East expert, September 2004)

Are there any dissenters?

“The secular states of modern Europe do not understand the fundamentalism of the American electorate. In fact, we Americans now resemble those nations less than we do our putative enemies.”
(Garry Wills, author and professor of history at Northwestern University, November 2004)

Why is terrorism of such paramount importance to Washington strategists?

“Were Europeans and Americans ever to agree about what threatens them today, they could easily resume the cooperation they developed during the Cold War.”
(Robert Kagan, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 2004)

What is France's real problem today?

“France holds one of these post-World War II ‘big power’ seats only because de Gaulle persuaded Churchill and FDR to pretend that the French actually fought the Nazis.”
(Marty Peretz, editor-in-chief of the New Republic, October 2004)

How about the Germans?

“Americans always liked the Germans. They are slowly starting to realize, though, that this was fondness for West Germans. Germans are becoming Germans again.”
(Jeffrey Gedmin, director of the Aspen Institute Berlin, October 2004)

What may happen in Europe during President Bush's second term?

“The temptation for Europe to define itself as ‘Not America’ will be increased.”
(Timothy Garton Ash, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, October 2004)

Are European leaders already giving in to this temptation?

“German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is like Kaiser Wilhelm II, who faced domestic impasses and hoped to raise the country’s prestige in World War I. Now, it’s not as dangerous, but it is actually bad news for Germany when Schröder tries to seek prestige — and that is what he is doing.”
(Walter Russell Mead, Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow in U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, November 2004)

Are there any dangers buried in the sands of Iraq?

“We may still ‘win’ in Iraq over time. But if, in doing so, we ‘lose’ Europe, that will be a Pyrrhic victory.”
(Anne Applebaum, Washington Post columnist, March 2004)

Any suggestions on how to improve relations?

“How do you grab a continent that hates you and say, ‘Wait! I’m not the ogre you mistake me for! We can be friends!’ Propose something so out of character that it forces Europeans to rethink their stereotypes of America.”
(Sebastian Mallaby, Washington Post columnist, November 2004)

Other ideas?

“It is incumbent upon Europeans to address this imbalance of power by building themselves up — and not tearing America down.”
(Craig Kennedy, president of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and Jeffrey Gedmin, director of the Aspen Institute Berlin, February 2004)

Finally, how does Secretary Powell hope to solve it all?

“We are selling a product. We need someone who can re-brand American foreign policy, re-brand diplomacy.”
(U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, February 2004)