Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Saturday | May 31, 2003

"We simply didn't understand it."

Rice Repeats U.S. Complaints About France


"There were times that it appeared that American power was seen to be more dangerous than, perhaps, Saddam Hussein. I'll just put it very bluntly," Rice said, according to an English- language transcript of the interview.

"We simply didn't understand it."

Rice complained that France had not only criticized the war but actively tried to rally other countries to provide "checks and balances" against the United States.

"What was to be checked?" she asked. "Perhaps Americans couldn't understand why it was not considered a worthy cause to liberate Iraq... there is a lot of consternation about the way that this was posed (by Paris)."

Without identifying Chirac by name, Rice criticized his angry dressing down of eastern European countries that sided with the United States before the U.S.-led war:

"We couldn't quite understand why the East Europeans were told to behave themselves, and that they shouldn't somehow choose to support the United States, it would somehow undermine their European identity. We just couldn't understand it."

Rice also lashed out at France's post-Iraq diplomacy, when asked about Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin's meeting last week with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

"I do not understand the continuing interest in Arafat in this regard," she said. "The fact is that the Palestinian people need leadership that is committed to fighting terrorism. That has never been Arafat."

Oh, where to begin.

Well, the Texicutioner, as he is called in most of Europe, is despised. Not disliked, or distrusted, but despised. And that has to do with his habit of executing people regardless of their actual guilt or innocence. Bush was regarded as an idiot before his election. Subesequent events have only confirmed the obvious to most Europeans.

Saddam Hussein couldn't threaten his neighbors. The whole WMD thing was a put up job. And then, there is the slight fact that the Secretary of Defense is a meddler who undermines you and the Secretary of State on a regular basis. He's attacking the fundamentals of our relations with our most important allies .

The French objected to the culture which the former communists were buying into. The coalition of the billing were being bought like some former French colony and then saying they wanted to be included in the EU. Can't do both. If you're up for rent, how can you be part of a united Europe.

Then there is the fact that Iraq was liberated from dictatorship into anarchy. Seems some of the folks took that the hard way. Considering millions protested the coming of war and politicians outside the US have to respond to the people who elected them and not just US dictates.

Of course, the talk of "punishing" allies for opposing US policy, a policy which is coming undone as we speak, just makes things worse, of course.

Then, there is this matter of picking leaders. See, the Europeans look at the Palestinians and the way the Israelis blow up their homes and are offended. Because Israel has a large, strong, effective, army and the Palestinians do not. Now, most Europeans believe that Israel has a right to exist. But they don't believe in the kill an Arab for peace plan Sharon has instituted. They also don't like the kill a Jew for peace plan being run by Arafat. But what they really, really dislike, is us telling the Palestinians who should run their country and acting like we're taking orders from Likud headquarters.

We don't have to like Arafat. We cannot, however, change the way the Palestinians choose their leaders and pick one more to our liking. It's an anti-democratic thing to do. Something our European allies dislike intensely, since we did that to the Italians in 1948 and the Greeks in 1967. We may have forgotten it, but they haven't.

That's because Americans treat politics as a nusance and Europeans don't. They take it seriously and they take politicians seriously. So the French and the Germans find only idiocy behind Bush's good ol' boy demeanor. They expect a man with his education and breeding to actually be educated. He's not royalty where idiocy can be hidden. The fact is that they assumed presidents were like his father and Clinton, bright, knowledgeable, educated, familiar with Europe and Europeans. Not this wanna be hayseed braying about Jesus every five minutes like an old fisherwoman and having no respect for individual rights.

Bush is the ugly American writ large. He knows little except America is the best place on earth with the best people on earth and everyone else wants to be us. Needless to say, this doesn't sit well with people who's plumbing systems date back to Augustus.

The president, to Europeans, doesn't have the ability to pretend their viewpoints matter. Which is why they are so desperate to seek an alternative, any alternative, to his policies.

Steve Gilliard

Posted May 31, 2003 06:25 PM | Comments (98)


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