The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Thursday, April 15, 2004


              The US and Europe
An interesting article on what the US relationship with Europe should be:


"If they feel their support in the Terror War puts them at risk of attack, as the Spanish clearly do, their best option is to cut a deal with the United States: deputize America to fight the war for them. They can do this quietly. We will fight for Germany, for Spain, and for France. In return, they will wage no anti-American campaigns and make no complaints about how we fight or about American "unilateralism."

We will be fighting for them against our common enemies. Europeans had nothing to gain but oil contracts and the illusion of gratitude for playing the role of Saddam Hussein's and Yasser Arafat's lawyer. They'll get attacked by fanatics all the same.

A lot of people wouldn't like this arrangement. Some Europeans would grouse that they don't pull enough weight in the world. Some Americans would complain that Europeans are defense freeloaders. But that's basically the way it is already. All I'm suggesting is that both Europe and the US accept and "institutionalize" reality.

If Europeans don't want to do any heavy lifting, if they wish to act like Costa Rica and Belize, they are going to have the same clout as Costa Rica and Belize. If they want to have the same clout as America, they need to act like America. They may have some influence with the US since we Americans respect them for sharing our basic values. But in the places where it counts, such as the West Bank, Iran, North Korea, and Zimbabwe, Europeans are perceived as mere posturers with checkbooks.

The alternative to the acceptance and approval of American "unilateralism" is more intra-Western squabbling and bitterness. The end result will be the same either way -- the US will do what the US will do. Germany, France, and Spain might do their worst to get in the way, but they will not help. The more they obstruct, the less likely we'll be to consult them in the future. The more they oppose us just to oppose us, the more "unilateral" we'll have no choice but to become.

The price they need to pay for being neutral is that they actually have to be neutral. We will do the fighting. They can watch the Terror War from a distance. We will call the shots. They won't ask for consultation or the right to a veto. We will bear the costs in both treasure and lives. They can lay low and work their way lower down Al Qaeda's priority list. They won't get in our way. We won't put them in harm's way any more than they already are. We fight for them and take the burden of their security upon us. They won't campaign against us, not in the chamber of the UN nor in their domestic election campaigns.

That's the deal. Unless Europeans change their mind and think of the Middle East as the new Soviet bloc, that's as good as it is going to get."


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