September 15, 2004

This Ain't Beanbag, Nor Hong Kong for that Matter

Chris Patten, EU Militant:

The European Union's outgoing External Relations Commissioner, Chris Patten, launched a withering attack on United States policy in Iraq Wednesday, saying the world deserved better than American "testosterone."

Perhaps less testosterone would be a good thing, but not if we substitute it with an EU hormone that makes one nuanced, verbally aggresive, and full of oneself, but still leaves one without the balls, muscles, or intestinal fortitude to back it up.

Renowned for his blunt speaking, ...

Though not, apparently, for the depth or quality of his thoughts...

...Patten used his parting speech to the European Parliament to deliver a stinging rejection of what he depicted as the Bush administration's go-it-alone approach and contempt for allies.

My goodness, here I thought Mr. Patten was a British national. He really does have the EU disease.

The U.S.-led invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein, which split the western alliance, had failed to bring peace to Iraq, Israel or the Palestinians, he said.

I guess being blunt precludes the use of logic to exclude non sequiturs.

"Liberation rapidly turned into a brutally resisted occupation.

In some areas, yes, but not in most. And we won't mention the foreigners streaming in to resist the "occupation," shan't we? Perhaps the flypaper strategy is too simplisme for a nuanced EU approach. Funny though, that there's no mention of the satisfied commitment to hand sovereignty back over to Iraq on 28 June of this year.

"Democracy failed to roll out like an oriental carpet across the thankless deserts of the Middle East," Patten said.

I think this should have read: "'Democracy failed to roll out like an oriental carpet across the thankless deserts of the Middle East in 18 months,' Patten said." I lived in England in 1994 and some of the older gentlemen I worked with spoke of how it took decades for Great Britain to recover from WW II. Give it time, Mr. Patten.

"Above all, peace in Jerusalem and Palestine was not accomplished by victory in Baghdad," he said.

Again, while not allowing for sufficient time for such an event to occur, I have to admit that I don't recall that being near the top of the reasons for deposing Saddam Hussein. But while you're at it Mr. Patten, you failed to note that the victory in Baghdad failed to stop Iran and North Korea from continuing to develop nuclear weapons, as well as preventing the genocide in Darfur. As long as you plan to make unreasonable demands, you might as well go for the whole enchilada. Still, I often wonder how not liberating Iraq would have contributed to peace in Jerusalem and Palestine, though I will note Mr. Patten's phrasing leaves Israel out altogether from his concerns about peace.

Patten, a former chairman of Britain's Conservative party and the last colonial governor of Hong Kong, leaves office at the end of next month and will be returning to private life as non-executive chancellor of Oxford University.

I gather that the political divide in Great Britain is between the blue shires and the reddish-blue shires, as there seems to be nothing that in Great Britain these days that would qualify as anything other than a wing of the Democratic Party here in the US.

Without mentioning President Bush by name, he said "neo-conservative unilateralism" had clearly failed to establish peace, liberty and democracy, forcing Washington to bring allies and international institutions back into fashion.

He who must not be named by EU High Commissioners tried desperately to bring as many allies and international institutions along as possible. The fact that not everyone came is more of a reflection on them than us, IMHO. It still rankles though for Mr. Patten to ignore Great Britain's and the other nations of the Commonwealth's participation in the liberation of Iraq, repeating the tired, lame "unilateral", nay, "neo-conservative unilateral" accusation yet again.

"Can we now look forward to the restoration of that old-fashioned notion that allies have to be led, not bossed, and that multilateral institutions have their important uses even for the world's only superpower?" Patten asked.

My God, I hope not. Unless, of course, you want to drop the knee-jerk anti-Americanism and actually try to work together.

But he concluded that multilateralism was not yet accepted on either side of the political divide in Washington, saying the rhetoric of the U.S. presidential election campaign was "pretty unsettling" -- although he insisted he was not taking sides.

Yes, well I might have taken "neo-conservative unilateralism" to have come from either Senator Kerry or President Bush too -- if only I had as little grasp of American electoral politics as Mr. Patten seems to have.

"If you want to get a cheap cheer from certain quarters in America it seems that all you have to do is to bash the U.N., or the French, or the very idea that allies are entitled to have their own opinions," Patten said.

Yes, and if you want to get a cheap cheer from certain other quarters in America, or the UN, the EU, or most of the world for that matter, all you have to do is bash the US, or it's allies in liberating Iraq, or the very idea that America is led by a neoconservative unilateralist Chimpy McSmirk who doesn't care about anybody else's opinions. Right, Mr. Patten?

"Multilateralists, we are told, want to out-source American foreign and security policy to a bunch of garlic chewing, cheese eating wimps," he said.

And your point is...?

Patten stressed that a joint approach to world problems was in the best interests of the United States, as well as of Europe, which was otherwise in danger of believing that sniping at Washington was in itself a policy.

Wow, there's a glimmer of hope here as even Mr. Patten understands that it takes two to tango.

"What I most worry about is that on either side of the Atlantic, we will bring out the worst in our traditional partners," he said. "The world deserves better than testosterone on one side and superciliousness on the other."

Sometimes testosterone is needed Mr. Patten, though superciliousness never is. Unless and until you understand and accept that, we probably don't have a lot more to talk about. And to paraphrase your opening statement, the world certainly deserves better than that.

Posted by Charles Austin at September 15, 2004 12:27 PM