Sports news: According to an item in Thursday’s Daily Telegraph, violence broke out at a soccer match when Kurdish fans began waving posters of President George W. Bush at Syrian fans who were waving pictures of Saddam Hussein. So the Syrians brought in the army and started shooting the Kurds, who remained defiant.
If a poll published Wednesday in the International Herald Tribune–and widely reported in Le Monde and elsewhere in the EuroPress–is any indicator, you can guess on which side of the bleachers the French, Germans, and Spanish would be sitting. They’d be surrounded by Syrians, waving their Saddams. On the other hand, if the poll released Tuesday by the BBC is right, the other side of the stands would be chockfull of Iraqis, who seem to be pretty happy to have Americans in their lovely, sand-filled neighborhood. (They’d be on our side, but they can have all our seats. There’d be no Americans at a soccer match, unless there’s a topless halftime thing.)
With the Spanish surrender now in place, and with the EU determined to create a massive anti-American defense force with reasoning and negotiating skills far beyond than those enjoyed by normal men, it’s obvious that America’s real enemies aren’t within 1,000 miles of Baghdad. They’re in downtown Europe. According to the Pew Center, who conducted the IHT poll, Old Europe’s hatred of America is deep and growing and, if you ask me, permanent. John Vinocur, writing in the IHT, insists, based on the recent comments of government officials that there’s a epiphany-based thaw in German-American relations. But anti-Americanism is now as Old European as snails and raw meat. Germany is in recession, and its effort to make amends with the U.S. is based on economic fear, not moral or political enlightenment. According to polls, the majority of Germans think we’re “bloodthirsty” and more than 80 percent of them don’t trust us. France was selling arms to Iraq until Saddam’s checks started bouncing, and their interest in stability in Iraq now is limited to whatever reconstruction contracts they can grab. After decades of French-inspired hatred of America, anti-Americanism is as entrenched in the left-wing European worldview as anti-Semitism is. It’s like media bias: It’s so pervasive, they don’t even see it any more. And it can’t be turned on and off like a light. In Old Europe we are wished ill, no longer just by the governments that have inflamed anti-Americanism to gain a few extra votes, but by most (though thankfully not all) average citizens, too. They’re convinced. They hate us, and not just because we’re beautiful. They hate us because we scare them.
But we’re Americans! And we love love! What do we have to do to win some? It’s easy. All we have to do is put on our John Kerry peace buttons, abandon the war against terror, and run for cover like a bunch of Spanish pollos locos. We must learn the lesson of Madrid: Terrorists are people, too. Nothing less will do.
Among the ink-coughing columnists in the European press sinister–where, as Yeats put it, all think as other people think–the reaction to the Spanish elections is almost uniformly one of cautious but satisfied elation; the slap given by voters to the Americans is understood with gratitude. As the Guardian points out, the war against terror can’t be won anyway. So why fight it? Most Old Europeans would prefer negotiation and peaceful coexistence with al Qaeda to an alliance with the natural-born killers from the USA. Terrorism, in the Europe of the future, will be a don’t-ask, don’t-tell problem. Timothy Garton-Ash, also writing in the Guardian, wonders if Madrid was Europe’s 9/11. No, but it’s close: Madrid was Europe’s 7-11–a convenient place to hide and drink pink Slurpees until all the trouble goes away.
According to a piece in Le Nouvel Observateur, George Bush is making the war his major campaign theme. Excellent! Maybe, while we’re up, the war against terror could also be directed at America’s more loathsome and craven enemies, those who pretend loyalty while working for betrayal. In war, the guys who work tirelessly to get you to surrender may reasonably be called your enemies; the governments of France and Spain and Germany are not “friends with a mere difference of opinion.” Looked at coldly, rationally, objectively, they’re evil minions of hell because they want us to fail, and they want us to fail because, like the old Soviet Union, they know of no other way to succeed. That is not to say we should avoid looking for the root causes of appeasement. Likely candidates? Cowardice and selfishness. If this is war, then let loose the dogs of biz school! Let’s make war on Old Europe, kill their economies, burn their gay Speedos and give all their women modeling contracts.
And do it quick, because European appeasement is spreading everywhere. Even the Poles are folding, as I note below. Last night, British TV personality Jeremy Clarkson embarrassed himself when he practically grabbed his skirt and jumped on his chair in front of a cheering BBC “Question Time” audience. “People say we should stand firm!” he shrieked. “Well, I don’t want to stand firm! I don’t want to be blown up!” Chill, Jeremy. It’s just al Qaeda, not a mouse.
He sounded like a frightened version of Margaret Dumont. But really, it’s too bad he didn’t say it en español, because Clarkson and his ilk across the Channel in Old Europe are all effing Spaniards. The rest of us are Kurds, and damn proud of it.
Map quest. A few people wrote to me this week to remind me that to disaffected Moors, Spain is an Islamic homeland, now and forever. The indefatigable W at Merde in France, the champagne of attitudinal webblogs, has a link to the helpful cartography of 21st-century Spain at The Politburo Dictat. Meanwhile, Eursoc has a piece on Euro-denial and the chap they call “Zappo,” whom I take to be both the missing Marx brother and the current prime minister of Spain. Real name: José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Iberian Notes is running brief biographies of those killed in the terrorist attack in Madrid.
Growing older. Spain’s gone with the geezers, as this BBC report makes clear. And, according to the item in Der Spiegel, the Poles feel they were lied to by Bush and Blair about WMDs and now want to pull their troops out of Iraq, too. Old Europe gets bigger and older by the day. Soon, it may include China, which is a very old place. This week, according to Le Figaro, the République de France–with an eye toward future alliances for the EU’s new philosopher-army, no doubt–are sending French sailors to consort with the Chinese in the Yellow Sea in order to intimidate Taiwan on the eve of the elections there.
Guarding the Guardian. As the Guardian slides lower into its own slough of despond, Andrew Sullivan rises to the top with an excellent evisceration of one of the paper’s more infamous editorials. It first appeared elsewhere, but surely nobody reading this will have read that.
No writing on the mirrors, please. At last. Something Sting can sink his teeth into. The Observer, a paper that thinks the war on terror is low absurdity, but recognizes serious threats when it sees them, offers this headline: “Forests felled to feed demand for lipstick.” The grim news on the palm oil front: “Millions of hectares of precious rainforest and their plants and animals are being destroyed, wrecking livelihoods and polluting rivers” and leaving tell-tale stains on shirt collars.
Speaking Humphrys. Listeners to BBC Radio 4’s Today program, where aging Yankophobe John Humphrys reigns supreme, were treated to vintage Humphrys-speak last Tuesday. It happened in a discussion of Islamic terrorism, in which “Israeli targets” means “Jews” and “synagogues.” Let’s roll the tape:
(Leader of the House of Commons) Peter Hain: The main enemy for these extremists is not really democratic countries like Britain, it is their own Muslim men and women… [fades out under Humphrys’s interruption]
John Hymphrys: Well, that actually isn’t true, is it… if you look at all the main attacks there have been since we invaded Iraq, every single one of them has been aimed at either a Western or an Israeli target.
PH: Well, I don’t see synagogues in Istanbul as being a Western target.
JH: Well, there is… they’re Jews [laughs]; they’re not Muslims.
That explains it. Writes Daniel Herbert, one of Radio 4’s astonished listeners, “Maybe us Brits are more European than we care to believe?”
Where are they now? Presented with a choice between ignoring the atrocity-flavored government of Solodan Milosevic or supporting the terrorists that comprised the Kosovo Liberation Army, the Clinton administration and NATO went with the KLA, and the press fell in line. (Hint: “Liberation Army.”) When U.S. jets accidentally bombed hapless commuters, Serbian civilians–who are not Spanish–simply taped targets to their backs and to their hats, raised a defiant finger or two and went back to work. Eventually, NATO moved into Kosovo to stop Milosevic’s ethnic-cleansing insanity. The result? More ethnic cleansing, of course, but this time by Albanian Kosovars of Serbs, whom NATO cannot and will not protect, as this BBC report makes clear. The violence started when Kosovars accused Serbs of the drowning deaths of either two or three Kosovar children. Even though the basic facts aren’t clear, it was a claim immediately accepted as fact by the international media. Serbs. You know. Allow me to insert a couple of words missing from this lead ’graph from today’s Daily Telegraph: “Smoke rose from [Serbian] churches and monasteries throughout Kosovo yesterday as [Albanian] mobs stoked the flames of ethnic hatred.” We are loved by Albanian Kosovar Muslims, of course. Just over the border, though, the Albanians think they’re crazy.