Monday, April 26, 2004

A conservative brit is fed up with the vacuous grins of GWB

Guardian Unlimited | Guardian daily comment | While Europe is a eunuch, America is our only shield
So much bad news turned up at Chequers over the weekend that the prime minister might be forgiven if he failed to spot the latest barrage of suicide bombings in Iraq. But Britain's 8,000 troops on the ground noticed, and are not happy. They are prisoners of an American command whose incompetence is manifest, whose soldiers are unsuited to their task, whose failures of policy have been laid bare...

... when Blair made his case about weapons of mass destruction, I believed him. By, say, October 2002, it became evident the Americans were determined to invade. If the Atlantic alliance was to survive, it seemed necessary that British troops should participate. I nursed a further delusion - that Britain might thus be able to exercise marginal influence on Washington's behaviour. We could press Bush to seek international legitimacy, to behave more even-handedly towards the Palestinians.

In all those things, I was wrong. To quote Berger again, the Bush administration believes the US "does not need to seek legitimacy from the approval of others. International institutions and international law are nothing more than a trap set by weaker nations to constrain us."

Yet the most likely outcome of the forthcoming presidential election is still a Bush victory. There is no reason to suppose this president will behave any differently in a second term. Unlike Clinton, the cynic and adulterer, Bush is a true believer. We are learning the hard way that, in power, true believers can be far more frightening and dangerous than cynics....

... If we are really fed up with Bush, if we recognise that no future US president is likely be entirely to our taste, we should surely get on with creating credible European armed forces. As it is, no European nation - with the possible exception of France - shows the smallest interest in spending money or displaying spine for this purpose.

Until we address this, and against the background of a struggle against international terrorism that is likely to grow more alarming rather than less, America remains the indispensable ally and shield. That means George Bush. At the very moment when most of us feel surfeited with the president's vacuous grin and impregnable moral conceit, we cannot walk away from his follies unless or until Europe makes itself something quite different from the eunuch it is today.

This guy is a conservative brit, in the mold of the Economist. He's spitting mad and a bit frightened. As I wrote earlier, America the Arational is likely to reelect Bush. For the rest of the world, this means more incompetence and greater danger. How to deal with an America that's no longer susceptible to reason

His answer is that the rest of the world needs to reorganize for its own defense, and figure that America will be as much a hindrance as a help.

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