And so it typically goes. Most of these European interlocutors are impressively educated. They are naturally inquisitive and well versed in the nuances of culture. But there is also a great fear among them almost as if the United States is a painful reminder that the world might not be so calm beyond their shores. If we would just not stir things up, leave it alone, not worry about it the “problem” of terror might go away as if the Soviet Union once collapsed due not to billions invested in American deterrence, but to a change of heart by well-meaning Marxists in Moscow.
Europeans fixate on American and Israeli foibles and not the far greater transgressions of Russians, Chinese, Iranians, or Arabs. Why? Because we alone listen to them, and with us they are not overwhelmed by the magnitude of a Grozny, Tibet, mass hangings in Tehran, the obliteration of an entire town in Hama, or the gassing of Kurds. And of course Mr. Bush does not threaten to cut off any European journalist’s testicles, or brag about not clicking his heels to Germans.
I’m sure that the Europeans are light-years ahead of us in the use of public transportation. They probably are wiser in their per-capita energy utilization, and their primary and secondary education may be superior. But there is also something of Calypso’s island about them. For all their professed enjoyment of food, shelter, and lovemaking, the Europeans are bored silly with their listless routine and are increasingly timid this from a great people who should not, but really do, live in terror of their own past. Like Odysseus in his comfy subservience to Calypso, these mesmerized and complacent sensualists sometimes contemplate leaving the comfort of their fairyland atoll and in boredom weep nightly, gazing out at the seashore. But as yet they lack the hero’s courage to finally build a raft and sail rough seas to confront suitors who are trying to crash their civilization.
This war would be over far sooner if 350 million Europeans insisted on a modicum of behavior from Middle Eastern rogue regimes, rounded up and tried terrorists in their midst, deported islamofascists, cut off funding to killers on the West Bank, ignored Yasser Arafat and warned the next SOB who blew up Europeans in Turkey, North Africa, or Iraq that there was a deadly reckoning to come from the continent that invented the Western military tradition. Indeed, European sophistication and experience, combined with real power, could be a great aid to the West in its effort to promote liberal and consensual governments outside its shores. But if they do not even believe in the unique legacy of their civilization, then why should we much less their enemies?
So for now we should not lament that the Europeans are no longer real allies, but rather be thankful that they are still for a while longer neutrals rather than enemies these strange and brilliant people who somehow lost their way, and no longer can distinguish between a noisy Knesset and Arafat’s hangmen, much less between those racing to topple a tyrant in Baghdad and others lounging at Sebrenica. [Victor Davis Hanson]