Thursday, June 22, 2006

Well, at least the Stalinists love us...

I wonder if anyone else is disturbed by a recent Seattle Times article...

But the atmosphere of goodwill during Bush's meeting with Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel and other EU officials was tested when European reporters pressed Bush on widespread anti-American sentiment in Europe.

"I thought it was absurd for people to think that we're more dangerous than Iran," Bush snapped when asked, in general terms, about the poll results. His irritation grew when an Austrian reporter read him some specific poll numbers.

Now, the fact that Europeans view the U.S. as a threat to world peace is not actually the disturbing part (a fact which, in itself, is disturbing). Here's what disturbed me (emphasis mine):
[Bush] later flew to Budapest, Hungary, for another day built around his effort to explain the reasons for the Iraq war in the more politically friendly territory of post-communist Eastern Europe.

Does it disturb anyone else that this was written with a complete lack of irony?


Derek said...

I'm long past being disturbed by statements about this administration that sound like they should be accompanied by a drumroll during the monologue of a late-night TV show host. After so long, you just become numb.

TEM said...

I just wonder if he or any of his cronies on that trip were wearing a brown shirt when they went.

Bogus Brook Resident said...

When I first read the title, and the post, Sir, I was tickled. Then, I began to wonder... are you actually equating the People of post-communist Eastern Europe with Stalinists? I certainly hope not.

It is quite absurd that our Allies in Europe see us as more of a threat than Al-Qaida, The Taliban, and Saddam. I would wager that if the U.S. returned to its old policy of "Isolationism" we would see a fast attack by a terrorist group or nation upon one of our old allies. And to whom would they call upon for help? The United States.

Maybe it is time to ignore calls for help. Maybe it is time to withdraw all our troops and recall all our citizens. Let's see who cries "Uncle" (Sam!) First!

Darrin Bell said...

Am I equating the people of post-communist Eastern Europe with Stalinists? Let me put it this way:

After 13 years of anti-communist rule, Hungarians voted in the Communist party in 2002 (they renamed it "Hungarian Socialist Party," but it's filled with many of the same people who comprised the previous communist party, the "Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party."). In 2006, that communist party retained almost 42% of the vote, only a few tenths of a percent behind the anti-communist Fidesz coalition.

I'm not sure what the comments about isolationism have to do with the Iraq Occupation. There's an awful lot of room on the spectrum between "isolationism" and "illegal occupiers."

Bogus Brook Resident said...

OK, I see where you are coming from. I didn't realize (although I probably should have) that you were pointing only to Hungary, rather than the entire Eastern European area.

Maybe my point wasn't as clear as it could have been. You had stated that the polls in Europe had indicated that our allies had us perceived as a greater threat to world peace. I was simply wondering what would happen if we withdrew all our troops from wheresoever they are, recalled all our citizens. I suspected a terrorist nation or organization would hit one of our allies. And I still see that they would cry out to our nation before any other.

I'm saying "Sure, let's go back to the isolationism of the past". Let's see what happens. I think we all have a pretty good idea.

We're in a no-win situation. If we are active in fighting terror organizations and terrorist nations, we shall be called a threat. If we sit back, passively, not doing a thing, we'll be called lazy, or cowards, or worse.

This nation, and the other nations of our world do not have a "Prime Directive" like our Star Trek World. Really, it is a shame.

Derek said...

I'm not sure we can really conclude that our presence throughtout the world is helping prevent terrorism and anarchy. Indeed, I suspect our interference in the affairs of other nations (typically for our own benefit) has increased discontent and unrest--essentially inciting terrorism.

Darrin Bell said...

That's a good point. I'll add that we also can't conclude that our allies in Europe would come running to us when they're attacked. Neither Spain nor Britain asked us for help after they were hit by terrorists. Europe has its own resources. It's got its own intelligence agencies, law enforcement apparati, armed forces -- the whole shebang.

Let's not forget that in the days after 9-11, European fighters were patrolling our skies alongside Americans. Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to defense, we're not the only game in town.

Chuck said...

I was wondering about the poll you mentioned. I assume (perhaps in error) that you know some more about it. Were there any questions relating to the people's political leanings? Of course, this means "Were they asked about the people they supported in the last election, what party they identify with?"

The biggest reason for wondering is easy to see, I think.

I find it a bit "too inclusive" to say that all Communists and Socialists are Stalinists, which is what you seem to be saying. Of course, I could be misinterpreting what you have said.

Darrin Bell said...

You're confusing two separate issues: the political support the author says Bush enjoys in Eastern Europe, and the polls conducted in Western Europe.

And if you like, change the title of this post to "At least the Communists Love us." (the difference between an authoritarian dictator and an authoritarian single-party rule is lost on me, though) Does that make it better?

Chuck said...

Ok, point given... but I am just a bit confused here. If the poll was conducted in Western Europe, how can the author say the political support is greater in Eastern Europe, especially if there was no poll? It seems that the author of that article makes a judgment based either based on opinion, or fantasy. Oh, well. In just a couple years, we'll be hearing from both our major parties, again. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing who the nominees will be. Or will we see a LEGIMATE 3 WAY race, like the Clinton-Bush-Perot of '92, or the Humphrey-Nixon-Wallace of '68? The '68 contest was, in my opinion, the one that made the most difference.

Do you think we might see our first dual-party woman vs. woman tickets?

I'm currently seeing McCain vs. Feingold. I suspect McCain vs. Clinton. I'm holding out for Rice vs. Whomever.

Spice it up with James Janos (Jesse Ventura) vs. GOP vs. DFL.

Whom do you SEE, and whom do you Prefer, on either side? (Strongest vs Strongest, favorite vs favorite?)

Do I guess correctly that you'd be a Hillary Supporter?

Darrin Bell said...

We may see Clinton vs. Rice. That's not beyond the realm of possibility, although I don't care for either one of them. McCain hasn't actually done anything to merit the bipartisan respect he seems to enjoy. He's all talk. Same with Joe Biden, and so far, Barack Obama.

The only charismatic Democrat with any balls seems to be Feingold. At this moment, he'd be my pick. Democrats won't vote for Kerry after he laid down without a word in 2004. Gore won't run. The GOP seems to have annointed Hillary the front-runner, but that's not how it's going to shake out after the primaries. For me to approve of a Democrat or a Republican, it would have to be someone who hasn't gone along with illegal - or what I consider to be immoral - policies. Someone who hasn't assisted the current administratin's attempt to increase the power of the Presidency at the expense of of the balance of power. That rules out anyone in Congress.

I think it'll come down to Feingold and McCain.

There won't be a credible multi-party race in this country, ever. Not unless we amend the Constitution to adopt proportional representation. In a winner-takes-all system, you get two parties. Any third party candidate will be nothing but a spoiler, to toss the election to one of the two major parties.

Darrin Bell said...

By "anyone in Congress," I meant any Republican in Congress, and most of the Democrats. A handful of Democrats, most notably Feingold, are exceptions.

Chuck said...

OK. I am surprised that you didn't say your support would be with Hillary.

There are several "Dark Horse" candidates in the wings. They're mostly millionaires and Politicians. One I can mention is Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota. Another I DID mention: "Ventura".

There's another here in Minnesota- you've never heard of him. He's been no higher than the state house. He had one term. He both won and lost by a handful of votes. He's a good egg. He's also DFL. His name is Thompson.
He tells people the facts, no matter how distasteful they are.

I've been trying to get him to run, but he's pretty much dropped out of the picture. It's the problem with no name recognition.

Paul said...

Granted these comments are a bit late -

Does anyone know Hillary's specific position/recommendation on various issues? I saw a panel interview some months back with several top Democrat officials, advisors, past Hillary advisors. When pressed passed the rhetoric or platitudes not one of them could definitively say "this is H's position."

Re: the comment "I suspect our interference in the affairs of other nations (typically for our own benefit) has increased discontent and unrest--essentially inciting terrorism. "

You may want to read up on the history of Jihadism, especially as defined by Wahabists. Their ideology goes back hundreds of years - well before the USA was even thought of. The hatred of all things non-Islam and the goal of reestablishing the caliphate extends far past the hatred of the US, who is just one target on the list.

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