Blatant Anti-Bear Propoganda
I am shocked — shocked! — at the speciesism on display at the WaPo. Observe columnist Robert Kagan’s otherwise thoughtful analysis of U.S. – Europe differences on how to attack terrorism:
Because of the disparity of power, Americans and Europeans even view threats differently. A person armed only with a knife may decide that a bear prowling the forest is a tolerable danger — trying to kill the bear is riskier than lying low and hoping the bear never attacks. But a person with a rifle will likely make a different calculation: Why should he risk being mauled to death if he doesn’t need to?
Excuse me! What is with this killing of bears? Somebody’s getting a terse letter, I’ll tell you.
On a less disturbing note: I’m just not sure I buy this whole Europe-and-America-are-parting ways argument. Yes, Europeans and Americans are viewing the current crisis differently, and Kagan provides good reasons for why this may be so.
But my instinct, at least, is that this is less a fundamental shift than a perceived difference in circumstances.
Europe does not view itself to be directly under threat from the current war. If you doubt this, consider that even now, America is having difficulty remembering that we are under threat. When (fate forbid) a European city loses a few city blocks and a few thousand citizens, and al Qaeda (or some other group) declares the French to be their sworn enemy, the European tune will change. American unilateralism — otherwise known as “could you please come fix our mess again?” — will once again be back in vogue.
And I suspect that underneath it all, there is a current of relief in Europe that America is there to do the nasty things than Europe can’t get its consensual ass together to do itself.
So will we see the support we want from our European allies? Probably not in the ways we truly want, not anytime soon. Will they actively stand in our way? Also probably not.
So the rational approach is to keep doing what we’re doing: charting the course that we think best serves the interest of the United States, and best serves the interest of the world as a whole. Europe will drag its feet at times, but when the chips are truly down, they will come around. And the best way to make that happen is to ensure that our policies are not just self-serving realpolitik, but are genuinely geared at improving the safety and security of the planet. Simply because a policy is blessed by a consensus of gnomes in Brussels or Geneva doesn’t make it moral or just; nor is a policy conceived by a single nation by definition immoral.
If we use the power we have simply to advance U.S. hegemony, then Europe will leave us to struggle alone. But if we choose to lead the fight to defend the security and liberty of the world — Europe will follow. If not the gnomes of Brussels, than the men and women who they claim to serve. My faith in the European elites is slight: but my faith in the people of Europe is strong. If we show them that we’re serious, and that we’re interested in more than our own petty gains, they’ll come on board. Because they know the right side of this fight, even if their bureaucrats don’t.