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Friday, December 17, 2004

The News From Europe

When I first saw this photo today, I thought John Ashcroft must have gotten a new job in Denmark:

Then I figured out that Copenhagen's Little Mermaid was in a burka as a protest against the EU's plans to discuss membership with Turkey.

There is a gaping divide today between those who see Europe's potential to expand its influence as a force for good in the world, and those who prefer to highlight examples of the continent's small-mindedness. For the former, I link Timothy Garton Ash:

"The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom," President Bush has said. Yet by overlooking the true dimensions of European power, America is failing to recognize the potential of what could be its greatest ally in the most hopeful project of our time: the advancement of liberty around the world.

For the alternative perspective, see Jonah Goldberg's Townhall column of a few days back: "on the whole the Europeans are determined to believe that America - and all it allegedly represents - is the only thing between it and its rightful place as world leader."

Goldberg claims the "European leftist press bleats its disapproval" at what is going on in Ukraine because of perceived US involvement, never mind citing a source to support this assertion. Ash, meanwhile, tells the story of hearing Viktor Yuschenko "triumphantly declare that Ukraine was a European country" to demonstrators in Kiev.

(Oddly, Ash had a recent stint at the Hoover Institution, according to the footer on the Times piece; I'm guessing his was the minority view on Europe.)

I know, people emphasize what they want to make an argument, but this contrast seemed rather extreme in that it is difficult to fathom both writers are addressing the same sort of issues in the same place.

Qaddafi weighed in against Turkish EU membership in an interview on Italian TV yesterday. Other highlights of the appearance included the Colonel (who for some reason hasn't appointed himself to General) claiming credit for Bush's reelection because he gave up some weapons: "We know that with this withdrawal, we contributed by 50 percent to his electoral campaign." This is a man who also thinks that Israel and Palestine should be one country called "Isratine"--I guess "Palsrael" is the second choice. The Colonel is always good entertainment.

MORE: The US-UK similarity in having high courts strike down detention tactics is also notable--the British even have their own Bernie Kerik these days.