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    Mad at America?

    It was a cozy, intimate dinner party for some of Brussels' leading lights, held at the home of one of the city's premier architects. Leonard Schrank, the American chief executive of the financial services firm Swift and president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium, took a seat next to an elegant woman he recognized as one of Belgium's richest people. During the pre-dinner chitchat in a room full of museum-quality contemporary art, she ventured offhandedly that it was "good that the Americans got hit on Sept. 11. Maybe it taught them a lesson."

    "What the hell are you talking about?" Schrank responded. "More than 3,000 people died!" The woman wilted under his assault, but for Schrank the moral of the story was clear. "She was just repeating what she had heard," he says. "The real point is that 90% of the people she talks to every day would agree with her."

    Welcome to the strange world of the transatlantic relationship, which lately seems to be borrowing less from traditional manuals of diplomacy than from pop psychology books about dysfunctional families. The Brussels woman may belong to Europe's upper crust, but these days it seems that every social stratum on the Continent is seized by fear and loathing of the U.S. Hundreds of thousands march through the capitals of Europe to denounce the looming American-led war against Iraq, hanging George W. Bush in effigy and burning Old Glory as they go. But fierce opposition to the prospect of war is merely the latest catalyst for anti-U.S. feeling; ask a European about America and you're likely to get an earful about American cultural and economic domination, American arrogance, American insularity, American blindness to global warming, world poverty and the plight of the Palestinians.

    Hating the States is a growth industry across Europe, with best-selling books like L'Effroyable Imposture (The Horrifying Fraud) in France and Why Do People Hate America? in Britain. The anti-American movement even has an American mascot: social critic Michael Moore, whose latest movie (Bowling for Columbine), book (Stupid White Men) and one-man stage show all toss poison-tipped darts at the red-white-and-blue target — and are all doing brisk business in Europe. "Anti-Americanism in Europe," says a senior U.S. diplomat, "is creeping apace." As the military buildup continues against Iraq — without any obvious casus belli found by the weapons inspectors — "people are getting especially twitchy," says a British official.

    The shared horror after Sept. 11 that led Le Monde to declare "We are all Americans" has vanished. In its place: European scorn for an American military response to terrorism that hasn't done much to win hearts and minds in the Muslim world. A poll by the Pew Global Attitudes Project shows regard for the U.S. dropping in almost all European countries since 2000 — down 17 percentage points in Germany, eight in Britain, six in Italy. Senior American diplomats in Europe talk darkly about a "tectonic shift" in values that, with the glue of a common Soviet enemy removed, is pulling apart the most successful alliance in history.

    American conservative intellectuals think the shift is already past the point of no return: they see a Europe devoted to lowest-common-denominator consensus, allergic to conflict, pathetically trying to restrain with vapid legalisms the only country with the strength and guts to do the dirty work of a Hobbesian world. In the cauldron of the White House, that viewpoint is boiled down to a brutal shorthand: "Eurowimp."

    And the bad feelings are mutual. A former cabinet minister in the British Conservative Party, which is officially even more pro-American than Bush's First Friend Tony Blair, recently leaned over at lunch and described Bush as "terrifying," "ignorant," "a prisoner of the religious right who believes God tells him what to do," and "like a child running around with a grenade with the pin pulled out."

    As American and British forces deployed to the Middle East last week, European Union foreign-policy chief Javier Solana warned that "without proof" that Saddam harbors banned weapons, "it would be very difficult" for Europe to support the war. And Europe's three most powerful leaders are showing the strain of being pulled in opposite directions by powerful forces: their own antiwar publics, and the hyperpower in Washington preparing for regime change in Baghdad.

    With opposition to an Iraq war consistently running between 70% and 80% in Germany, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is sticking to the pledge that got him re-elected and made Bush despise him: to keep German forces out of it. But Berlin watchers consider it unthinkable that Germany, which wants a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, will cast a lonely vote against authorizing force if the weapons inspectors find a violation.

    French President Jacques Chirac must straddle a similar razor. According to a poll published in Le Parisien last week, only 15% of French voters support the use of their military against Iraq — even if the Security Council endorses war. So far Chirac's rhetoric has played to the majority, but that may not last. "He and those around him are convinced that if we want a role in the Middle East afterward, we have to be on board with the Americans," says Philippe Moreau Defarges, an analyst at the French Institute of International Relations. If Chirac does fall into line behind Bush for reasons of state, his constituency will feel betrayed — and blame the American "bully" as much as they blame their own leader.

    Even Blair is taking so much heat in his own Labour Party for backing Bush on Iraq that last week he warned that U.N. inspectors should be given all the time they need to finish their job, and devoted big chunks of a major speech to the perils of anti-Americanism, calling it "a foolish indulgence." He even included some blunt advice for Washington. "People listen to the U.S. on issues and may well agree with them," he said. "But they want the U.S. to listen back."

    Those with long memories might be tempted to say: Stop bellyaching, we've been here before. Europe and Washington have stared at each other in fury and incomprehension many times in the past, from the French-British- Israeli campaign to reclaim the Suez Canal that Dwight Eisenhower gutted in 1956 to the deployment of Pershing nuclear missiles in Europe under Ronald Reagan, who once prompted the same sort of "ignorant cowboy" epithets now heard about Bush. Each time commentators anguished about wounds that would never heal. They were wrong. (Reagan's reputation improved after the fall of the Berlin Wall. If Bush manages to win the war against terrorism, his will too.) In some ways, Europe and America are more alike than ever. The level of commercial interpenetration, the number of young people choosing to study and work across the Atlantic, and the spread of a common mass culture from Disney and The Sopranos to reality TV and Penélope Cruz (two European exports to the U.S.) has never been greater. This cultural exchange is tricky: though it moves in both directions, it is often viewed as an American phenomenon — Hollywood imperialism that's resented even as it is enjoyed. (No matter how good U.S. pop culture can be, its ubiquity can make it an affront.) But overall, in many places in Europe, America is admired as much as it is reviled, technicolor warts and all.

    For Europeans, the relationship starts to break down when the U.S. goes into "You're either with us or against us" mode. "Despite disagreements about certain strategic and diplomatic details, the bottom line is, we still very much share the same interests and objectives," says Jacques Bille, 58, managing director of France's Association of Advertising Agencies. By and large, Europeans accept America as the undisputed leader of the world. What's at issue, Bille thinks, aren't the fundamentals, but concerns over style and sensitivities. "There seems to be a real inability for the U.S. to accept that other approaches are both legitimate and acceptable," he says. "What's difficult to accept is the utter lack of reciprocity. We often start off as being 'wrong' in American eyes by not being like Americans in the first place."

    So, while the current model isn't your father's anti-Americanism, it is in some ways more volatile, especially because there seem to be more and more ways in which Europeans and Americans are not alike. Differences over Iraq have been bolted onto a bridge that has been creaking under many other strains since Bush came to power: U.S. failure to back the Kyoto accords on global warming, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Landmine Convention, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty or the International Criminal Court; his decision to back steel tariffs and $52 billion in farm subsidies despite preaching free trade (a charge of which the E.U. is equally guilty); and, above all, abandoning Bill Clinton's intense engagement in the Middle East peace process.

    Blair has found Bush's apathy toward the Middle East so frustrating that he finally sought to convene an all-party conference of his own in London, and then settled for a smaller meeting on Palestinian self-government, only to have Israel block the participation of Palestinian delegates in retaliation for another terror bombing. Washington made no serious public complaint. Last week Britain stuck to its guns by announcing that the summit would go ahead anyway — with the Palestinians taking part by phone.

    Like other European leaders, Blair is passionately convinced that failure to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian dispute lends credence to the claim of fundamentalist Muslims that the war on terror and the war on Iraq are really a war against Islam. "Unless there is real energy put into crafting a process that can lead to lasting peace ... the future of the innocent is held hostage by the terrorists," Blair said last week, implicitly rebuking Bush's passivity. "They will recruit new volunteers as fast or faster as we imprison or destroy the old ones, unless we are helping those within the faith of Islam who are speaking out in favor of moderation, tolerance and sense."

    Bush's other major policy slip in European eyes was to forge Iran, Iraq and North Korea into an "axis of evil." Whatever its moral justification, the phrase lumped together disparate opponents instead of trying to divide them, and in North Korea's case, created an embarrassing hostage to fortune. Bush's bedrock argument for attacking Saddam Hussein is that he is uniquely bad, due to his record of abusing human rights, using chemical weapons, aggression against his neighbors and long-term lust to acquire nukes.

    Kim Jong Il may not have used chemical weapons, but he has starved and oppressed his own people, blown up South Korean officials, kidnapped Japanese teenagers to use as language teachers for spies, proliferated missiles and placed 10,000 artillery pieces within 20 km of Seoul. Oh yeah, and he's likely built his own nukes, is now seeking more, and last week renounced his treaty obligations not to build them and threatened that any sanctions against his country would be tantamount to "a declaration of war." Bush says diplomacy, not war, is the appropriate route with Pyongyang — in which case, many Europeans ask, why not with Baghdad too?

    They think they know the answer: oil. According to the Pew poll, 76% of Russians, 75% of French, 54% of Germans and 44% of British believe the desire to control Iraq's oil lies behind Bush's bellicosity — another deep rift with the U.S., where only 22% hold this view. Americans, even those who oppose the war, are more likely to believe that Bush is trying to make the world a safer place. Europeans don't buy it. "Iraq hasn't invaded anyone, as it had Kuwait the last time," says Clemens Ronnefeldt, a leading member of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, an organization with roots in the U.S. peace churches. "It is cooperating with international inspectors. This war is about economic interests, oil interests." Ronnefeldt and others are planning civil disobedience actions to block U.S. military operations in Germany in the event of war, and they are helping organize demonstrations in all major European capitals on Feb. 15.

    In Italy, Father Jean-Marie Benjamin, a French-born musician and priest now living in Assisi, is fighting an audiovisual battle against the Bush Administration. He has launched a second edition of his book Obiettivo Iraq (Target Iraq) after the first edition of 10,000 copies sold out in three months. The book, documenting the effects of the U.N. embargo and Benjamin's efforts to smuggle humanitarian aid into Iraq, also contains a video of his catchy pop single Mr. President, which is getting lots of play on Italian radio. "Hey! Mr President, we've understood it all," Father Benjamin warbles, "That we are slaves of Wall Street, lobbies and multinationals/ The taxes of the British people and of the good American people/ To exterminate a whole population/ To colonize Iraq and the Kurds!" You won't catch that one on mTV.

    Scratch a European complaint about the U.S. and it almost always reveals the person of George W. Bush — the "toxic Texan," as one American diplomat ruefully puts it. The President's domestic record embodies things many Europeans find strange, if not repellent, about the U.S.: pro-gun, pro-death penalty, pro-Christian, antiabortion, strongly patriotic. A worldwide survey by the University of Michigan confirms that Americans have basic values that are notably more traditional than Europeans, closer in this respect to those of Indians and Turks than to Germans or Swedes. Particularly offensive to Europeans are Bush's swagger, tough talk and invocations of God and right and wrong, part of his born-again tradition that is attuned to the U.S. mood after Sept. 11. "We don't see the common guy from Chicago," says Gérald Duchaussoy, a 28-year-old office worker in Paris. "We see Bush. And politicians here don't speak with his language."

    "It's nonsense to say, 'We're the force of good,'" says Pierre Hassner, an expert on transatlantic relations at the Center for International Studies and Research in Paris. "After all, the religious tradition also includes humility. Identifying your enemy with evil and yourself with good isn't religious; it's part of a certain strand of Protestantism. We're living through the battle of the born-agains: Bush the born-again Christian, bin Laden the born-again Muslim." Reinhard Hildebrandt, a professor of political science at Berlin's Free University, says that when politicians invoke morality, "Europeans assume such language conceals power interests. We don't like to mix up power interests with good and evil." Karsten Voigt, coordinator of German-American relations at the Foreign Ministry, says simply: "Self-doubt is stronger here than in America."

    So is a nagging sense of inadequacy compared to the American behemoth, with a defense budget that's bigger than the next 25 countries' combined — and the confidence to use it. In the two biggest recent challenges to European security, Bosnia and Kosovo, it still took American intervention (after many missteps) to finally put things right. Blair last week chided his fellow Europeans for giving in to the "reverse unilateralism" of "leaving the U.S. to face the tricky issues alone." "Europeans resent, though they wouldn't put it this way, the power, reach, cultural and economic success of the U.S.," says a senior British official. "There's always been this chip on the shoulder, a complex about the big brother." A senior Czech diplomat says Bush's strutting only reflects reality: "It's hard not to have a heavy hand when you are very heavy."

    Historically, France has been the European country where America's hand has weighed heaviest. Despite the antipathy, though, the two countries are remarkably similar: both believe their nations have unique missions in the world; both are intensely patriotic; and both believe their way of life is best. "We're a place with pretensions of universalism," says Stéphane Rozès, director of CSA, the polling institute that conducted the Le Parisien survey. "France sees itself as carrying universal values into the international sphere, just as America does. But in this case, the French see the Americans harnessing their superpower status not to the greater interest of the world, but to its own national interests" — something, of course, that other countries think France does very well itself.

    Despite resentment of the Bush Administration's bad-cop strut, it has achieved results: getting Russia to accept Bush's missile defenses and encouraging Vladimir Putin to cast his lot with the West, and squeezing the Security Council into its 15-0 vote on Iraq. Though Bush's decision to go through the U.N. had plenty to do with domestic public opinion — a survey by the German Marshall Fund and Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, on which he was briefed, showed that 65% of Americans wanted U.N. blessing for any war — the move nevertheless took considerable diplomatic skill and patience, reflected concern for other countries' opinions and confounds the easy European caricature of Bush. Besides the Iraq vote, Bush also assembled a big coalition for Afghanistan. The most deafening European complaint about Washington these days is insularity: that no one but Colin Powell picks up the phone and that Bush pays no mind to leading opinion beyond his own shores. The U.S. "is astonishingly ignorant about other cultures," says Dominique Chagnollaud, a professor of constitutional studies at the Sorbonne — and at the same time "we have the impression that it is always telling everyone else what to do." Bille goes even further. "The trouble arises when we feel we're not only not being listened to," he says, "but when the Americans make no pretense of even wanting to hear what we have to say."

    Archbishop Renato Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican, which opposes war in Iraq as it opposed the Gulf War, uses religious language to describe American self-absorption. "Power is a temptation," he says. "It's like there's one bottle of a drink and you are alone in the room. You are tempted to drink from it now and again, and eventually you get inebriated. And you forget to take care of those others who maybe just want a sip."

    Last week, Blair's speech tried once more to fill the gap left by Bush's America-first ideology, setting out a broad vision for tackling world poverty, reaching out to Muslims and attracting international support for "the values we stand for: freedom, human rights, the rule of law, democracy. Given a chance, the world over, people want them." But they "can only be achieved if pursued with a sense of fairness, of equality, of partnership ... [Otherwise] the order we want is seen by much of the world as 'their' order not 'ours.'" The obvious subtext: George, why aren't you saying these things from your much bigger bully pulpit?

    Despite the strains, there is a lot of resilience built into the Atlantic alliance. European regard for America may be declining, but it's still high: 61% approval in Germany, 63% in France, 70% in Italy, 75% in Britain, actually up 24 points in Russia to 61%. Even among those who would oppose a war that came with a U.N. seal of approval — such as the half-million who marched at the huge anti-U.S. rally in Florence last November — there is affection and respect for the U.S. "I'm in love with America," confesses Caterina Donati, 33, who marched with her 20-month-old son in her arms in Florence. Donati, a lecturer/researcher at the University of Urbino, feels that "Americans possess a capacity to reason, to smash the dogma and vices that Europeans have always just accepted. Europeans don't have that capacity to analyze and criticize." But Donati had no qualms about wagging her finger at American policy.

    Eric Platel, 34, computer systems manager for a French insurance company, says "most people in Europe under the age of 60 look to the U.S. as a leader and catalyzer in almost every way. It's a given." An Italian calendar for 2003 shows that even Bush's opponents have moved beyond the "Ugly American" stereotype. Entitled "No War," it uses Robert Capa photos of noble World War II G.I.s to stand in mute contrast to the supposedly unjust war to come.

    Heavyweights on both sides of the Atlantic recognize the mounting dangers and are working hard to counter them. Michael Howard, the British Conservative Party's shadow Chancellor, has been expanding a group called Atlantic Partnership, which recruits senior figures in Europe and the U.S. "We want to create a climate of opinion where decision makers on both sides try to manage their differences in a way that minimizes the dangers to the relationship as a whole, which is of great importance, not just to Europe and America but the world," he says.

    And Washington is making fewer gaffes. "You haven't seen any more photos of guys in orange jumpsuits from Guantánamo," says an American diplomat. Despite all the demonization and caricatures, Bush himself has impressed his counterparts at European gatherings, particularly the November NATO summit in Prague, where his speeches were thoughtful and well-delivered. A senior British official even suggests he embark on something like Henry Kissinger's 1973 "Year of Europe" campaign to repair the alliance: "He's in a position where he could make a go of being perceived in Europe in a new way."

    First he must get through Iraq, a crucial test in European eyes of whether he intends to lead the international system or go around it. In the long run, further strains will be placed on the alliance as mass immigration to the U.S. from non-European countries and a shift of its economic center of gravity south and west dull the instinct to look toward Europe, just as Europe is shifting its own gaze eastward to accommodate new members. But alliances, like families, can be permitted a little squabbling as they grow. Sometimes family feuds can get nasty and downright weird; sometimes the old fights are more comfortable than recognizing how much you have in common. But as any therapist will tell you, the only way to keep a family together is to keep talking.
    Another aspect of the problem that can't be ignored is the political split in ideology. Although "right" and "left" are imperfect terms to describe the differences between political parties both in Europe and America, they will work in this context. Almost all the European governments are far to the left of even left-wing Deomocrats in the US, and trends indicate they are moving even more in this direction. America is much more inclined to embrace the politics of the right, and given the Republicans crushing defeat of Democrats in the last election, the trend seems to be that America is moving even more to the right. This situation is bound to produce some friction between the governments.
    Editor-in-Chief
    GameSquad.com

  • #2
    interesting article. It really tries to research the america-europe relationships instead of simply repeating stereotypes. I guess one really important issue is the 'america first' or better 'america only' because most europeans think that america isn't listening to its allies any more and is unable to form compromises when in doubt but is 100% going its way ( " U.S. failure to back the Kyoto accords on global warming, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Landmine Convention, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty or the International Criminal Court; his decision to back steel tariffs and $52 billion in farm subsidies despite preaching free trade (a charge of which the E.U. is equally guilty); and, above all, abandoning Bill Clinton's intense engagement in the Middle East peace process. " )
    "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

    Henry Alfred Kissinger

    Comment


    • #3
      Bush was concerned with becoming too involved in the Middle East Peace Process. The situation he walked into was a lot different from when Clinton entered office. Back in the early 1990's, the stakes weren't so high. Both sides coulf live with certain concessions. However, by 2000, the process had reached the critical point where both Israel and Palestine would have re-shape their fundamental differences to continue along the road toward peace. It was more than they could tolerate.

      President Bush should have paid more attention to the situation. However, he lacked the diplomatic position to meanfully contribute toward securing peace. If both sides refuse to talk, there is little Bush can do to change that.

      When Bush did intervene, it had little effect. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the "hearts and minds" stage. Both sides must compromise their ideals and convictions to pursue peace. The US is not heavily involved because it's position isn't large enough.

      A better argument though is how the US exploits the conflict to achieve political support among arabs. When we want Saudi Arabia and the rest to support some foriegn policy, Bush runs off at the mouth about a Palestinian state. Yet, he never expands on this or discuss how it might be achieved. I believe this kind of strategy is counterproductive and erodes the possibility for peace in the near future.

      The US has compromised. The world wanted us to go to the UN, we did. The world didn't want a RESO outlining what would happen if Saddam didn't comply. And we agreed to that. Now everyone wants us to go before the UN to get permission to invade.

      It's become a outrageous game. Many European governments want to influence foriegn policy, but are unwilling to commit to their own words. We go before the UN again, you will see the same ducking and dodging we've been treated to for the past twelve years. The Chief UN inspector say's Iraq is not complying with the terms established by the UN, and Europe seems to ignore him.

      It's damned if we do and damned if we don't. IMHO, we could get another RESO authorizing the use of force, and most nations will still say the US is spoiling for the fight. Most of Europe has developed a case of collective amnesia. They are forgetting the facts, and chasing what they want to see.

      After 12 years, additional UN resolutions, numerous air strikes, and alot of headache, one fact is clear. SADDAM IS NOT COMPLYING. I don't need another hollow document signed by the International Community to tell me it's time for action.

      If Saddam does something, like in 1990, the US will be the first to get the call. If there will be fighting, it will be American troops doing the bulk of it. Most of the European nations who are making all the noise will be on the beach relaxing, content in the knowledge the United States is handling the situation.

      I have no problem with Europe wanting sit this one out. Each nation must examine their interest and only contribute to those efforts that effect them. Nations who will not be involved in any case should stop being backseat drivers, and get their own car. It's American troops that will die if Europe is wrong about Saddam. So it is the right of the American people to demand action be taken to protect them.
      "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

      Comment


      • #4
        Good researched article.
        As a European I have to admit that some points are truly my opinion, some points are not and some things are pure "US-centered" bullsh...

        As a rule of thumb: don't put 300 million peoples opinions in one big pot...not in Europe, not in the US.
        Everybody is different and can write down his own opinion, thats what we are fighting for...besides oil.

        I believe that this war is another war to maintain natural resources in our reach, just another one in the 3 million years long history of mankind. Even our earliest ancestors fought against their neighbors to get hold of a better cavern, of food, of women...

        So what? ..nothing to make a fuss about!

        You "peace" makers out there may hold against this that mankind has evolved and that we should be civilised...open your eyes and come back to the real world. The average human is as civilised as circumstances allow. To maintain circumstances that allow most of the people to stay civilised, the Western Civilization needs oil. Or is anybody out there who doesn't like his home cozy and warm? I do, and that's why I would prefer to fight for oil than for any idealism that doesn't let me keep my family warm!

        The Bush administration is hypocritic about the roots of this war, that's what I don't like about it. But I do understand that Mr Bush declaring "we have to destroy the OPEC and get people into the Iraqi government who guarentee oil-supply in our best interests" wouldn't make a very good marketing strategy.

        This statement is centred around oil and I admit that the problem is MUCH more complex than that, but I don't like too long posts.
        "you come from nothing,
        you go to nothing,
        what have you lost?
        nothing!"
        Monty Python

        Comment


        • #5
          You are absolutely right. The natural resource we are trying to protect is human lives. The US will not gain anything from this war. Whatever that is gained in oil trade will not just benefit the United States alone. Those governments screaming the US is morally incorrect will be the first to line up their oil tankers at Iraqi ports.

          I recall this same oil for war argument being made during the first Gulf War. And I recall paying nearly two dollars for a gallon of gasoline. If we did benefit from invading Iraq, someone forgot to tell OPEC.

          I wish the European nations would focus on the real issue, instead of the issue that will likely save face. If people really cared about Iraq, they would be working more hard to get Saddam to comply instead of screaming the Imperalist Americans are just trying to get a cut at the gas tank.

          The sad truth is that the people who are name calling will benefit from the piles of dead American soldiers and won't say thanks. The UN will gain the most. Bush is doing the job it should have. Bush is his job. He's protecting his people. Tragically, this is rarely common.
          "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Deltapooh
            [B]You are absolutely right. The natural resource we are trying to protect is human lives. The US will not gain anything from this war. Whatever that is gained in oil trade will not just benefit the United States alone. Those governments screaming the US is morally incorrect will be the first to line up their oil tankers at Iraqi ports.
            Not true. There were allready negotiations between the US government/US oil companies and the Iraqui exile opposition groops about oil deals after Saddam is overthrown and the wannabe-leaders have already announced that of course the countries who help to chase away saddam will get the oil.

            Another oil-reason is that the USA will get control over the large oil reserves in Iraq, there are allready plans to use Iraqs oil to pay for the invasion and the costs to station US troops in Iraq. Now isn't that funny? Iraqs ressources will pay for the destruction of Iraq

            Other plans seek to repuild the Iraqui oil refineries as quickly as possible, bring as much Iraqui oil onto the world market as possible (maybe with the reasoning to rebuild Iraq), thereby dropping the oil price and forcing the OPEC to sell more oil too to have the same income as before.

            Remember: Americas economy (and the economy of all western nations) highly depends on cheap oil.

            http://www.newsday.com/news/nationwo...an%2Dheadlines

            So there ARE reasons beside the always mentioned WMDs to go to war with Iraq and everybody has to decide for himself which ones are the dominant here.
            "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

            Henry Alfred Kissinger

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kraut

              Other plans seek to repuild the Iraqui oil refineries as quickly as possible, bring as much Iraqui oil onto the world market as possible (maybe with the reasoning to rebuild Iraq), thereby dropping the oil price and forcing the OPEC to sell more oil too to have the same income as before.
              I don't think the US wants oil prices to drop drastically. Oil at too low a price would make it uneconomical for US oil companies to get the black gold out of the ground, putting many people out of work in the US. The US administration would be shooting themselves in the foot if that were their goal.
              Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Deltapooh
                You are absolutely right. The natural resource we are trying to protect is human lives. The US will not gain anything from this war. Whatever that is gained in oil trade will not just benefit the United States alone. Those governments screaming the US is morally incorrect will be the first to line up their oil tankers at Iraqi ports.

                I recall this same oil for war argument being made during the first Gulf War. And I recall paying nearly two dollars for a gallon of gasoline. If we did benefit from invading Iraq, someone forgot to tell OPEC.

                I wish the European nations would focus on the real issue, instead of the issue that will likely save face. If people really cared about Iraq, they would be working more hard to get Saddam to comply instead of screaming the Imperalist Americans are just trying to get a cut at the gas tank.

                The sad truth is that the people who are name calling will benefit from the piles of dead American soldiers and won't say thanks. The UN will gain the most. Bush is doing the job it should have. Bush is his job. He's protecting his people. Tragically, this is rarely common.

                All wqrong. The price of fuel wins elections in America. Sad but true.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Isn't it true that price for oil will go way up in Europe if a war starts? Maybe this is why they oppose war.
                  "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

                  Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chuck
                    Isn't it true that price for oil will go way up in Europe if a war starts? Maybe this is why they oppose war.
                    If the price for oil goes up, it goes up for Europe _and_ the USA! Both, europe and the USA have strategic oil reserves for approx 3 month but anyway as soon as the oil price rises it will rise worldwide.
                    "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

                    Henry Alfred Kissinger

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yes I know. Some say the United States wants to fight a war with Iraq for oil. However some could say the opposite about Russia, France, and Germany (they want to appease Iraq for oil).
                      "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

                      Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Tonight I saw a report from the CISS describing 3 different scenarios for the upcoming war, from blitzkrieg to several months. Every scenario states a rise of oil-price, up to 100 Dollar p/barrel.
                        The short term rise will be followed by stabilisation, at a price the US oil-firms will dictate. I never stated it would be lower !! If, as somebody stated, too low prices would have negative impact on US economy, than they will keep the price high.
                        Fact is, the US government wants to have influence on the price. The oil-price is only one of the factors that have an influence on the economy (please excuse my lack of english vocabulary on this matter), to guide the economy more effectively means to control as much factors as possible. Right now, it seems an opportunity to make of the "unknown" in the economy equation a "constant".
                        "you come from nothing,
                        you go to nothing,
                        what have you lost?
                        nothing!"
                        Monty Python

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                        • #13
                          I just don't see how invading Iraq will improve the US enconomy. To the contrary, the United States will probably see an increase in problems. The war with Iraq could cost around $9 billion dollars per month. The United States has already dumbed millions into the buildup alone.

                          The notion of long-term economic productivity can only be facilitated by occupation and influence within the new Iraqi government. Contrary to popular belief, the US will want to withdraw from Iraq as quickly as possible to minimize political risk. I don't think many of the Iraqi factions that are likely to lead Iraq will entertain our economical influence for long.

                          Granted Iraq possesses the 2nd largest oil reserve on Earth, most of the revenues spent will go to paying down Iraq's $140 billion dollar debt, and re-building Iraq's economy, which is in a sham. Saddam is about as bad of a business man as he is a military commander. Even before 1990, Saddam created problems by shifting economic policies irratically. Unemployment is high, and will increase dramatically in the months immediately following the invasion.

                          Economic stability is imperative to successfully completely a nation-building operation. People who are experiencing prosperity are less willing to resort to armed conflict. So if the US and world buys oil from Iraq (which they will) it will go along way toward a long term peace.

                          Everytime the US gets involved in Middle Eastern affairs, someone tries to link oil as our sole motivation. The European nations stand to benefit more from oil trade with Iraq than the US. And none want to buy their oil from Russia. If this war is about oil, the world will benefit from our sacrifice. And find that rather sad. While France burn the US flag, they will line their oil tankers at Iraqi ports with their hands out, ignoring the the sacrifice we made for their benefit.
                          "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

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                          • #14
                            yes, the "western" world, maybe most of all Euope, will profit from the actions the US will undertake.
                            The US want to be the world-power, I guess they have to "sacrifice" something for it then...power never comes without a price to pay for it.

                            And you are right with all your remarks on "building" a western-friendly nation in Iraq...if at all possible it will take a LONG time.

                            The subject is so vast, I guess we could discuss it for weeks and still I would have the feeling of "tai-chi"...

                            As a final word on the matter, I would like to add that we, the members of this board, will never have all the insights necessary to picture it all out and to know the only true meaning of all what is going on.
                            I am not paranoid enough to believe in most of the things the Bush-clan appararently has in mind, but I am disappointed enough of 99,9 percent of the politicians to believe that there is a grain of truth in all the rumours that are published.
                            So let's take the best out of it and relax...
                            "you come from nothing,
                            you go to nothing,
                            what have you lost?
                            nothing!"
                            Monty Python

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                            • #15
                              Americans receive little news about Europe in the short daily network TV news. Europeans on the other hand receive intensive, highly biased news on America. Americans don't seem very interested in learning about Europe. Europeans on the other hand tend to see themselves as experts on America, even though in general that knowledge comes from absorbing American pop culture and maybe a trip to Disney World. Therein lies the problem.

                              Politicians exacerbate the problem. Clinton conducted a wholly irresponsible foreign policy agenda in his 8 years. For example on Kyoto, before Gore was sent to sign the treaty the Senate sent a 90-10 vote to the White House stating that no treaty would be considered without all countries being placed under the same restrictions. Clinton ignored it, got the international PR buzz for signing it, and then didn't spend an ounce of political capital in trying to get it ratified. He did this over and over again, saying one thing when he was in Europe and doing another thing once he was back in America. Tsongas didn't call him pander-bear for nothing.

                              The Bush Administration, in contrast, doesn't even bother trying to win over support from Allies, thereby allowing others to create the face of their agenda. It is awfully arrogant and awfully short-term thinking.

                              Likewise, European politicians, largely of the left persuasion, have found it quite easy to make cheap political points out of anti-Americanism. This too is short-term thinking because as Schroeder has found out it's hard to change directions once you've got the crowd into a lather.

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