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Willisms

« Euro-Bush: A Preview. | WILLisms.com | Liberalism: Is There Anything Left? »

Euro-Bush, Part Two.

bushgoestoeurope.gif
Note: France is actually not on the itinerary, but the Eiffel Tower represents "Europe" pretty well.

The President has landed in Europe, and the inevitable protests were smaller than expected.

He'll be in Europe for nearly the entire week.

The International Herald Tribune comments:

"The choreography of the visit is, indeed, impressive. Bush will spend quality time with three active opponents of the war in Iraq: France's Jacques Chirac, Germany's Gerhard Schröder and Russia's Vladimir Putin, and he will visit both the European Council and the European Commission."

The Heritage Foundation has more advice for the President:

"The goals of President Bush’s visit to Europe should be to:

*Demonstrate a renewed U.S. commitment to strengthening the transatlantic alliance,

*Strengthen U.S.–European cooperation in the war against terrorism,

*Develop greater coordination of U.S.–Euro­pean efforts to prevent the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran,

*Seek guarantees of additional European sup­port for U.S.-led efforts to advance freedom and democracy in Iraq,

*Reiterate that the White House will play a lead role alongside Great Britain and other EU coun­tries in advancing the Middle East peace process,

*Reaffirm Washington’s opposition to the EU’s plans to lift its arms embargo on China, and

*Underscore U.S. concerns over German and French efforts to marginalize NATO."

One wonders if Dr. Rice's recent successful Europe visit was enough to butter up the Europeans, or if Bush will complete the good-cop/bad-cop routine. Perhaps it's more of a good-cop/good-cop routine. Butter them up, make them expect the hammer, but then kill them with even more kindness.

The left-wing Center for American Progress, meanwhile, offers this advice for the President (it's actually relatively decent advice, notwithstanding a couple of expected-but-weak cheap shots):

On Iran-

"In meetings with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and French President Jacques Chirac, the president should express a willingness to engage the United States more directly in negotiations with Iran, bringing the stick of force and carrot of aid to the table."

Speaking of the good-cop/bad-cop routine, the U.S. should NOT be offering Iran any carrots. Meanwhile, Europe ought to be less belligerently anti-war, at least allowing force on the table as an option.

On Russia-

"President Bush should challenge Putin – both publicly and privately – to improve his democratic record, beginning with halting the harassment of civil society organizations, including those receiving support from the U.S.-government funded National Endowment for Democracy."

Absolutely. The President, likely, will do just this, particularly privately. Putin's Russia has actually taken a step back in the past year on Freedom House's Freedom in the World, 2005, being downgraded to "not free" amidst increased political restrictions.

On Climate Change-

"Given the president's demonstrated intransigence on signing the Kyoto Protocol, in meeting with Blair, President Bush should at a minimum announce that he will support the bipartisan McCain-Lieberman bill, and explore potential linkages between U.S. and EU emissions trading markets."

America's opposition to the Kyoto protocols on global warming is cited quite often by Europe as proof that America is backward and horrible. Tony Blair, in particular, takes a lot of flak in Europe for not being able to budge Bush on the issue. The President ought to offer some kind of rhetorical tribute to the environmental movement, if only to throw a bone to Tony "T-Bone" Blair, but ultimately, the U.S. should not adopt Kyoto just to win friends in Europe.

While European leaders sometimes view the U.S. as their rotten child that somehow deviated from the enlightenment, the better analogy is of Europe as the elderly parent, living off generous support from the successful and responsible child, America. How has Europe sometimes repaid that support? Ingratitude. Senility. Hostility. Jealousy.

Signing Kyoto (it's too late for that now, really) for the sake of pleasing Europe would not serve much of a purpose. Europe would likely soon forget about it, anyway, in its state of mind, so what's the point?

On China-

"When meeting with EU leaders, the president should express his continuing opposition to lifting the embargo, and urge Europe to refrain from doing so at least until China ratifies the U.N. Covenant on Political and Civil Rights. If lifted, the president should press the Europeans to implement a stringent, legally-binding Code of Conduct to replace the embargo."

Absolutely. The internal conduct of regimes is no longer irrelevant to geopolitics. The U.S. must get Europe on the side of linking how China treats its own citizens with how the world treats China. That's not meddling. That's in the world's best interests. Stability for the sake of stability, at the expense of liberty, is fleeting; short-term stability is bought at the price of long-term peace. The transformational power of freedom is awesome, and it leads to peace over the long run. The President believes this. He will push Europe on this point.

The National Journal has more, in a great article WILLisms.com highly recommends:

"The Bush administration, in gambling that it can successfully change its approach to alliance relations, seems once again to be borrowing a page from the playbook of Ronald Reagan. The Great Communicator greatly riled European allies with his early confrontational approach to the Soviet Union, only to win them over in his second term by encouraging 'glasnost' and securing historic arms control agreements with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

....

'This trip is not about 'making nice' with Europe. Rather, it's an outgrowth of the 'freedom agenda' President Bush has announced for his second term, and a realization that the odds of achieving those goals rise enormously if the two great centers of democracy and freedom -- the United States and Europe -- are working together,' said a senior administration official. 'We want to pull Euro-Atlantic relations off the couch of self-introspection and start having a deeper strategic dialogue that will lead to common assumptions about the nature of the post-9/11 world. Then we can start pulling together on the big issues that confront us all.'"

Good luck, Mr. President. It's a lot on your plate.

Posted by Will Franklin · 20 February 2005 06:21 PM

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