Desperately Seeking Approval
Newspapers were recently flush with headlines declaring that Europeans did not approve of George Bush.
Good. Very good. Something would be wrong if they approved. Remember that Bill Clinton was quite popular in Europe. You get the idea.
Americans (at least those of "European" descent, as if anyone were not descended from specific nations of Europe, e.g., France) live independently of their ancestral European homes for good reason — their ancestors didn't like the domestic policies of those European nations such as Italy, England, France and Germany that made life unbearable. So they left. From 1776 through 1783, the colonists of British North America made this point quite dramatically: by killing British soldiers who sought to "persuade" them otherwise.
And so we have the USA, a free and independent country (as things go), being told by the European socialists that the socialists do not like our way of doing things (click here for the International Herald Tribune "Bush poll").
In the IHT poll linked above, notice that the Italians, English, French and Germans were in favor of American free trade policies, and of sending American troops to the Balkans.
Well, of course. Despite the communist-engineered, utterly phony, made for TV "protests" over globalization, the average Italian man on the street knows that America is a massive marketplace. Italian wines, pottery, machines (including shotguns — yes! beautifully, handcrafted shotguns, which retail for many thousands of dollars) and pasta sell very well in the United States. Where American troops are concerned, if you are a German, Italian, or Frenchman, whose sons would you rather see patrolling the Balkans: yours, or the children of some American family you've never met? Tough call.
Notice also that the European respondents disapproved of American refusal to join the Kyoto back-to-the-Stone Age treaty on emissions, and of "Bush's support for the death penalty in the US." At least the pollsters seem aware of the fact that Bush has no actual power over the death penalty, as it is a matter of state, and not federal, law. Where Kyoto is concerned, perhaps this is again a recognition of the practical effects of State policy: if the US does not submit to the silliness of the Kyoto treaty, America will (by default, not by any sound policy) reclaim its former manufacturing advantage, namely, less regulation than the rest of the world.
Talk about backing your way across the finish line, though.
What is motivating such polling, however, is the European Union's drive for legitimation and survival. After Irish voters rejected the "deeper and broader" integration proposed by the Treaty of Nice (France). After having fought for their independence for a very long time, the Irish were rightly suspicious of the power-mad EU, which has gone so far as to outlaw the English system of measurements. You know: feet and inches, and all that. Although you might expect the Irish to cheer at this banishment of something English, the Irish are not fools.
And so politicians, through their pollster servants, now attempt to create a European identity by defining what it means to be European by negation: it means not being like that awful American president, George Bush.
No matter how much the average Frenchman or Italian might (or might not) dislike the policies of George Bush, there is no reason to sign on to the expansion of the collectivist European Union.
The siren song of the Eurocrats is "peace." But it is a phony peace. The socialist policies of the European ruling class will not change, it will merely be the case in a European superstate that the socialists will not need to go to war with one another because they will all be on the same side. Where their fellow Europeans are concerned, then, they will merely engage in good, old fashioned filthy power politics and media assassination campaigns. Where the rest of the world is concerned, time will tell. Humanitarians with armies are dangerous things.
The core policies of the European Union are statist, regulatory, and not conducive to freedom. The European Union, like the socialist democracies it would supplant, will ultimately stifle productivity and wealth, no matter that it may appear to have created prosperity in the short run.
Americans should not be disturbed in the least to find that Europeans do not approve of everything done by George Bush. For that matter, many Americans do not approve of the policies of George Bush. Some news.
August 24, 2001
Mr. Dieteman [send him mail] is an attorney in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at The Catholic University of America.
© 2001 David Dieteman