Perry (& others): Why an EU That Knows Better Apes the U.S. on Hamas

A couple of days ago, I did a quick survey of some of my regular readers to canvas opinions on why it is that Europe, so obviously knowing better, has nonetheless wholly embraced the disastrous U.S. boycott of the democratically-elected Hamas government. I asked them to respond to the following: My most recent posting includes Alistair Crooke’s observations about how the Europeans are as culpable as the U.S. in the application of a hopelessly dysfunctional policy on Hamas after it won the Palestinian election. But the Europeans obviously ought to know better, and I’ve seen no good explanation for why this is the case — it’s easy to see how the Bush Administration has arrived here, but less so the Europeans: There’s no significant Israel lobby in Europe, is there? Are they simply compensating for the damage Iraq has done to the Transatlantic relationship? Or is this somehow a reflection of their own, domestic Islamo-phobia?

Reactions were varied: Paul Woodward offered this quote from William Beelaerts, the deputy head of the North Africa and Middle East department in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to back up the idea that the EU position on Hamas is driven primarily by a desire to maintain the pre-eminence of European-US relations:

“You will be aware as I am that most European states — with a few honorable exceptions — do not assess developments unfolding across the Middle East on their own merits but view these through the prism of their relations with the United States. Your own country [referring to Britain] is a prime example. Mine (The Netherlands) runs yours a very close second. The powerful Atlantically-oriented instincts of a foreign policy generation reared during the Cold War are not to be underestimated.”

Paul adds that Europe defaults to a “proxy consensus” of following the U.S. lead because the alternative requires a more drastic break with the U.S. “New governments in Europe have good reason to assume that the next administration in Washington will be just as biased towards Israel as is the current one, they have little interest in creating a rift that would extend well beyond 2008.”

Helena Cobban calls it “learned helplessness,” deriding “the chimera of ‘an independent European foreign policy’.” The Europeans, she notes, “(1) can’t even get their own governance issues organized, (2) like to wallow in letting the U.S. make all the mistakes, (3) have been moving seriously rightward in recent years, and (4) have a lot of issues of their own regarding Muslims and Arabs.”

For my friend Tim McGirk, TIME’s correspondent in Jerusalem, the explanation is that “Europeans are especially sensitive to the charge of anti-Semitism. They don’t want to be perceieved as being anti-Israel or taking steps, as Olmert’s government would say, of leaving the Israelis exposed to the threats of Islamic terrorism. And so, when Hamas refuses to publicly renounce resistance against Israel –though in private they are much more realistic, and willing to settle for 67 borders and East Jerusalem as the capital as long as there’s something for the ‘right of return’ refugees — it’s an easy choice: side with Israel. And in doing so, the Europeans can tell the Americans: ‘We may not support you in Iraq” but we march shoulder to shoulder with you on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.’ ”

The most complete response, however — in the form of a guest column — came from Mark Perry of Conflicts Forum, a longtime national security expert in Washington, whose most recent book, Partners in Command explores the relationship between Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower and George C. Marshall in managing the U.S. war in Europe. Mark, together with his Conflicts Forum colleague Alastair Crooke, actually briefed the EU on the need to engage with Hamas following its election victory in January 2006, but their advice was rejected even though it was acknowledged they were right. I’m thrilled to welcome Mark as a Rootless Cosmopolitan contributor!

Why Europe Marches Meekly Behind the U.S. on Hamas

By Mark Perry

We Americans hardly remember the incident now, but it was not so long ago. On February 8, 2003, at the 39th Munich Conference on Security, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld presented the American case for the war in Iraq . “Diplomacy has been exhausted,” he said. After he took his seat, an uncomfortable silence filled the hall and attention turned to German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. An otherwise stoic and understated man, Fischer discarded his prepared comments and spoke bluntly, and in English. “Excuse me,” he said, “I am not convinced.” As Rumsfeld sat, silent, Fischer even wagged his finger. It was the first time in anyone’s memory that any European diplomat had dared lecture an American.

The incident may now have faded, but for Europeans it is a source of constant pain — and a blood-draining reminder of just how close the alliance that won the Cold War came to splintering. When my colleague, Alastair Crooke and I, made a presentation to EU Ambassadors in Brussels on Hamas in the wake of their victory in the parliamentary elections of January of 2006, the Rumsfeld-Fischer confrontation was still a vivid and painful memory. And it was for this reason that our argument for a European opening to Hamas — in defiance of U.S. pressure for an economic boycott of their democratically elected government — was universally spurned. “We know you are right, really we do” one ambassador said after our presentation. “But we will not break with the Americans. We just cannot do it.”

In the intervening months, I have had occasion to reflect on the depth of American-European ties. They are much broader and more deeply rooted than I had ever believed. Despite my oft-repeated projection — that the nations of the EU would, one-by-one, peal away from the American-led boycott of Hamas — the united anti-Hamas front shaped by the Americans (irrational and counterproductive though I believe it to be) has been maintained intact. The French, Germans and of course the U.K — but also Spain and Italy — have maintained the alliance and I have been given to think that it will be maintained even in the face of America’s continued foreign policy fumbles. And perhaps for good reason.

In late May of 1944, on the eve of the invasion of France , Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower were traveling by private rail car through England. They were on their way to visit a British unit that would come ashore in France just two weeks later. Churchill was in agony. He had opposed the Normandy invasion, preferring a much larger stab at the Balkans — what he called “Hitler’s soft underbelly.” He had only reluctantly agreed to the Normandy landings because of his alliance with the Americans. Still, he remembered the Somme and Marne and the tens of thousands of lives a straight-ahead war against Germany had cost. In that rail car, Eisenhower understood Churchill’s agony and, in a rare show of personal comfort, reached across and took his hand, reassuring him. Churchill smiled and turned to the American General: “The only thing worse than fighting a war with allies,” he said, “is fighting a war without them.”

In the end, the Europeans might well know the Americans are wrong (that a boycott of Hamas will not work, that the war in Iraq was a blood-filled waste, that a confrontation with Iran will lead to a military debacle, that Afghanistan is lost … ), indeed, might well be convinced that the American program cannot and will not succeed, ever, anywhere. They might know it now and might someday in the future say that they told us so. Even so, the nation’s of Europe, that grand alliance, will never splinter, as it nearly did in February of 2003. For Europe ‘s calculation is quite like Churchill’s: they would rather be wrong with us, than right alone.

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32 Responses to Perry (& others): Why an EU That Knows Better Apes the U.S. on Hamas

  1. Ziad says:

    Thanx to both. I would say again that Europe still knows on which side their bread is buttered. Europe has done very well under U.S> stewardship (for lack of a better word) since 1945. But western…meaning the U.S. and Europe…dominance of the globe is being challenged. China, India and Russia are rising, Fossil fuels are getting harder to come by. A fracture between the U.S. and Europe means yielding the position of greatest influence to others. Perhaps not today or tomorrow, but 2050 will look very different from 2007.

    The more optimistic part of me recalls another Churchillism; that the U.S. will do the right thing after exhausting every other possibility. Perhaps catastrophe in Iraq, a more powerful Iran, instability of client governments (Egypt Jordan and possibly even Saudi,) and the possibility that another Player will gain influence in the Persian gulf will convince the U.S. a different course is needed.

  2. David Habakkuk says:

    I generally much admire Mark Perry. But I am unsure about his judgement that ties between the United States and Europe are ‘much broader and more deeply rooted than I had ever believed’. Certainly, it is true that Atlanticism is deeply rooted among political elites. In Britain however, it is deeply unclear how strong it remains among the population as a whole. Not long ago, the Tory columnist Geoffrey Wheatcroft suggested that David Cameron was jeopardising his chances of the premiership by being too close to the U.S.

    “What Cameron might by now have grasped is that the position represented by those zealous Anglo-neocons on his benches doesn’t actually enjoy much popular support. No US president has been more disliked in this country than Bush the Younger, no adventure more regretted than the Iraq war. Most British people are neither enemies of Israel nor “friends” in the CFI sense. They hope for a just settlement and deplore needless violence: during the bombardment of Lebanon last summer, one poll found that only 22% thought the Israeli response was justified. When Crabb [Stephen Crabb, a Tory MP -- DH] says that the Anglo-US alliance has been “the single most important foreign policy relationship since the second world war”, he could also recognise that never since then has the British electorate felt less enthusiastic about it.

    “No one expects Cameron to become the Hugo Chávez of Notting Hill. But if he’s serious about winning an election, he could at least begin to forge a foreign policy which, unlike Blair’s, is based on the national interest of this country and not another, and which expresses the views of the British people.”

    The article, incidentally, provides an interesting brief historical resume of the evolution of British conservative attitudes to Israel, which suggests that in historical context this may be an aberration. (See http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2039813,00.html.)

    An interesting question is what is happening to opinion in the British army, which is not used to losing wars, but now faces the prospect of being driven with its tail between its legs out of both Iraq and Afghanistan. On the website of the ARmy Rumour SErvice, http://www.arse.co.uk, there is a Wikipedia clone entitled AARSEpedia. Under the title ‘Septics’ ((Along with ‘Spams’, army slang for Americans) one finds the following definition: ‘North American so called allies that got us into a fix in Iraq due to our spineless leader lacking the backbone to say no, ram it Georgie.’

    A straw in the mind? Maybe, maybe not.

    I think Tim McGirk is absolutely right in pointing to the sensitivity of Europeans to charges of anti-Semitism. But again, under the radar things may be changing. Back in 2003 Anatol Lieven pointed to the risks involved in the use of accusations of anti-Semitism as a weapon to enforce acquiescence in Israeli policy.

    “‘ .. the use of the charge of antisemitism as a means of intimidating critics of Israeli policies into silence—an approach all too common in the US—should be publicly rejected by all who regard themselves as liberals. Its overuse, whether from cynicism or hysterical conviction, runs the risk of producing a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sooner or later, what should be a charge of crushing seriousness and moral weight will become a mere marketplace insult, and will produce in its targets just a shrug of the shoulders.”

    My instinct, for what it is worth, is that we are already some way down this road. Again, the whole article is well worth reading — see http://www.carnegieendowment.org/pdf/files/LievenProspect4_03.pdf. Lieven, incidentally, is by far the most sophisticated journalistic exponent of traditional British Atlanticism.

  3. Bl4ckP0pe says:

    Mr Karon,

    only a simple-minded fool could ask, “Why do the ‘governments’ of Afghanistan or Iraq continue to accept the dictates of USA?”

    Likewise, half of Europe is US occupied territory since 1945 and the other half since 1990 at latest – there is no sovereignty under occupation and the CIA-cornfed governments of EU are as much puppets as Karzai and Maliki’s.

    As for the anecdote about Fischer wagging his finger at some skYanki overlord – thanks for the comic relief, but he might as well have wagged his cock for the cameras – at the same time the government he co-led was doing everything humanly possible to facilitate massive movements of US troops and war materials through Germany for the warcrime of aggression against Iraq.

    Fischer has been a CIA asset for a long time, and is now enjoying his payoff in Princeton. His ‘career’ as such is a good summary of the calibre of ‘leadership’ among that herd of gutless wonders called EU politicoes.

    skYanki go home, Worldwide !!

  4. Patrick says:

    On reading passages such as this one: “We know you are right, really we do” one ambassador said after our presentation. “But we will not break with the Americans. We just cannot do it.”, it’s hard not to regard the craven spinelessness of European governments (including that of my own country, Canada) with utter contempt.

  5. Otis says:

    It’s unbelievable this conflict is allowed to continue because it continuously portends to the masses they are no more than animals in the minds of those powerful enough to dictate to, and in many cases overthrow governments not willing to be subservient. The simple way out of this Middle East mess is for the US and the world to correct this ongoing catastrophe, give the Palestinians a state, demand that Israel close the settlements and outposts and they can keep the wall; just move it to the Green Line. The whole muslim world would be staggered enough for diplomacy to to become almost a self accomplishing phenomenon. The whole is watching what is going on in Gaza with an intimate knowledge that people are being treated as vermin and hunted for fighting back. It’s a sad portrait of the human experience!!

  6. James Brooks says:

    It is not promising to try to assess foreign policy motivations without considering the underlying economic drivers. Nearly three decades of neoliberal economic ideology and practice by the elite corporate-finance class have had the same influence on European politics that they have wrought here in the US. We might even say that economic neoliberalism breeds political neoconservatism.

    Europe’s elite has an economic agenda that includes: the completion of the EU project despite its growing unpopularity among the people, the continued retraction and privatization of the social service state despite ditto, the continued global projection of EU economic power (with a special emphasis on Southwest Asia and Northern Africa, which it plans to encompass in a grand economic confederation), growing global markets for its huge and expanding defense industries (a topic of keen interest to Eastern Europe), continued growth of a cheap pool of domestic migrant labor from neighboring regions to directly reduce corporate costs and depress wage demand, low inflation, and, perhaps most important of all, securing a reliable supply of natural gas and oil.

    It is on this last point that Europe is once again caught between Russia and the US. Currently it is nakedly dependent on Russia for the bulk of its imported natural gas, and Putin has not been shy about using this supply as a political tool. The US offers the prospect of Central Asian pipelines that could replace most of the Russian gas. But to get all the pipelines the EU wants, US-NATO will have to force Afghanistan to submit to Karzai, or some other puppet – to cite one example.

    Israel is on track to join the OECD, its relationship with NATO continues to deepen, it continues to expand its economic holdings in Eastern Europe, a growing portion of Europe’s military and security state is dependent on Israeli-made weapons and surveillance components, and Israel’s annual trade with the EU is growing by double digits.

    European trade policy is increasingly decried as predatory around the world, and the behavior of EU corporate giants in Africa and Latin America is often indistinguishable from that of the worst of the US-based multinationals.

    The only thing lacking in Europe’s global economic empire is military clout. That’s the first big piece of Europe’s foreign policy alignment with the US. One could even imagine Euro leaders urging Washington to establish the Pentagon’s new ‘Africa Command’ to protect their mutual assets.

    But how does Europe’s elite sell this neoliberal agenda to the public, which is loathe to part with good wages, job security, and the benefits of the welfare state? In a penetrating essay (‘Why Boycott Israel? Because it’s Good for You’ – link below), Gabriel Ash argues that the European trend has been to adopt the neoconservative method of enemy creation, following Karl Schmitt, “the Nazi philosopher of law….[who] saw the necessity of having an existential enemy, one that the whole state can be fully mobilized against….the new Schmittianism of the Islamophobic front is a right-wing reaction veiled in the trappings of the traditional left.”

    The bogeyman of “terrorism”, especially “Islamic terrorism”, works for Europe’s moneyed right-wing elite just as well as it works for a similar echelon here in America. It scares the public into accepting a steady erosion of civil and human rights, at home and abroad, while draining energy and attention from labor’s effort to protect its gains. It offers all kinds of excuses to increase state power (esp. the EU’s) in all its forms. And in Europe, it sets the lower classes against each other, stoking resentment of the mostly Muslim foreign labor that Europe’s capitalists import.

    That’s the second big piece of Europe’s alignment with the US-led Global War on Terror (GWOT) and its animosity toward Hamas. Of course European diplomats know better than to try to starve a resolute moderate movement like Hamas to death; you’ll only create a radical one in its place. But there was tremendous pressure from the US and Israel to put Hamas on the EU’s terror list. European strategists may also have reasoned that allowing one ‘Islamic terror’ group into ‘civilized society’ could put a crack in the solid black-and-white front against “terrorism”, which, to be sustained, must avoid looking at shades of gray.

    The third big piece of Europe’s alignment with the US and Israel is the grab bag of cultural, historical, racial, religious, and political influences that most people talk about as if they were the only game in town.

    The twentieth century made it glaringly clear what Europe is capable of. I was once foolish enough to believe that the new and improved Europe might muster some genuine resistance to the GWOT and at least apply some limits to Israel’s quest to destroy the Palestinian people. Alas, money still talks, and Europe is still Europe.

    Why Boycott Israel? Because It’s Good for You, Gabriel Ash, Dissident Voice, 6/23/2007
    http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2007/06/why-boycott-israel-because-it%e2%80%99s-good-for-you/

  7. Dana L says:

    Brilliant comment, James Brooks. Thank you.

    I must say that, for some time, now, I’ve been bewildered by the EU’s apparent lack of spine; lack even of a minimum of decency with regard to Palestine, not to mention the horrific, unjustified wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I’ve remained hopeful, thinking “this” [multiple choice as to the event in question] has *got* to be the last straw. Europe will finally raise its voice and initiate negotiations that will put an end to the folly.

    But no. I’m afraid you’re right. Business/financial interests between the US and the EU are too profoundly intertwined at this point for the EU to find the motivation to object to the US’s machinations.

    Another aspect that many overlook is the massive lobbying of Bruxelles and Strasbourg, since the establishment of the EU, by major US-based multinational firms … Lockheed Martin, Carlyle Group, Dyncorp, etc, all present in Bruxelles with shiny, multi-million dollar offices. The risk is that the EC and EP are becoming just as corrupted as the US government and Congress. — In fact many signs indicate that Europe institutions have folded to temptation.

    Barroso and Solana have learned to espouse the GWOT, “terrorist-behind-every-flower-pot”, jargon. They’re reading from an altogether too-familiar script. Yet, the fact is that, for decades, Europe has been able to contain ‘agitation’ [including chronic bombings throughout the 80s and 90s] through the use of police rather than military force, without resorting to draconian restriction of civil rights. But here we have the EU succumbing to the siren call of new markets that have the potential of bringing unprecedented profits through the militarization of society.

    This is a sad state of affairs. In fact it’s my own personal nightmare. But I suspect that the brushing off of overwhelming popular European opinion will, eventually, backfire on the EC’s current policy trend. Whether the backlash will be effective in changing EU policy is a separate question. I do predict, however, that there will be massive popular opposition to further attempts to ‘Atlanticise’ EU policy.

  8. Dana L says:

    PS: I should have added an on-topic remark :)

    Great article cited by James Books, by Gabriel Ash, above.

    Official EU policy on Palestine and Hamas by no means reflects popular European opinion. The Commission has refrained from declaring Hamas a “terrorist organisation” but, given its policy, it might as well have.

  9. James Brooks says:

    Thanks, Dana. Unfortunately, even the provenance of the ‘chronic bombings throughout the 80s and 90s’ needs to be reconsidered. I recently wrote a (rather unsatisfactory) article on this same subject, in which I focused on the ‘enemy creation’ aspect, mentioning the mid-80s exposure of Operation Gladio in Italy (and similar NATO-CIA ops throughout western Europe). A very useful book on this subject, by Webster Tarpley, is referenced at the end of the article. See Israel, ‘Terrorism’ and the Money Power – http://www.palestinechronicle.com/story-07020794210.htm

    James Brooks

  10. Dana L says:

    Indeed, I came across your article a few days ago and found it very pointed and good. Pleased to have made the connection between it and your comments, here. I’ll certainly keep an eye out for your contributions in the future.

    Thanks for the reference to Tarpley’s book.

    Dana

  11. Carroll says:

    Well since the Europeans are going to do nothing about our insanity and stomping around the world with Israel riding our coat tails is it clear to me that we Americans are going to have to overthrow our own government .

    The sooner, the better.

  12. Bernard Chazelle says:

    Mark and Tony make excellent points. But I am not so sure about the strength of the Euro-US bond. The Cold War created an artificial bond, which is now dissolving.

    Go back 50 years.. The idea of a European foreign policy (let alone a pro-US one) died in Suez: the UK decided never again to split with the US; France drew the opposite lesson. European foreign policy never recovered.

    For Europe the trauma of the Iraq war was not the split with the US; it was the split with itself: a stark reminder that Europe still, to this day, has no foreign policy. Division implies weakness. Weakness means that opposition (say to sidelining Hamas) turns into irrelevance. The fear of irrelevance is what explains the sheeplike behavior of the EU vis a vis the US. It’s not because of a special bond. But there’s something else at work, too, whch is more important.

    For historical reasons, individual countries of Europe care a lot about the Middle East (Germany is pro-Israel, France is pro-Lebanon, Britain is aligned with US policy no matter what); each one for its own distinct historical reasons.

    As a global power, however, Europe doesn’t care that much. It is getting to realize (faster than the US) that in the Middle East what lies east of the Jordan river has emotional but not strategic value. The main lesson of the Iraq war is that Israel is no longer a key strategic player in the Great Game. (It never was but perception was another thing) The new Great Game (which will be the main geoplitical show in the next 50 years) will take place way to the east of J’lem: Europe’s hands-off approach in the “Western” Middle East is also an implicit way of acknowledging that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is increasingly an irrelevant sideshow.

  13. Bernard Chazelle says:

    what lies east of the Jordan –> what lies west of the Jordan

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  15. bob k says:

    What a great examination of the question from many points of view. I think Bernard Chazelle’s observation that the “Great Game” has moved east as Europe moved into Russia’s sphere of influence in the “Great Game” for control of the planet’s oil and natural gas reserves. The USA has been outflanked in the “Great Game.” The neo-con grab for control of oil in Iraq has failed on the basis of time. The dog barked and the caravan rolled on, while the US finacial, military, and moral stature have declined dramatically in the bloody quagmire of Iraq, Russia has taken control Europe’s petroleum supply in mutual beneficial long term equity exchanges and contracts. These long term oil and natural gas contracts undermine the US and British control of oil pricing and supply by removed a large fraction of the world’s oil trade from “free market” pricing and availability. Europe has avoided the trap in Southwest Asia so far, the US will have to rethink its relationship with Israel if the US is to remain a world power. William Engdahl is the best source of insight into the geopolitics of oil. I am linking to one of his essays adding support to Bernard Chazelle’s insight.
    http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/Geopolitics___Eurasia/Ouflanked/ouflanked.html

  16. bob k says:

    Sorry, please edit “as Europe moved” from the first sentence of the above post. Here is one more link to
    Engdahl’s work:http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/print/Russian%20Giant.html

  17. Dana L says:

    Quoting Bernard Chazelle:

    “Europe’s hands-off approach in the “Western” Middle East is also an implicit way of acknowledging that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is increasingly an irrelevant sideshow”

    The vital question that follows, then, is whether the UN remains a viable institution.

    If it is not, which it seems not to be, how do we go about resolving the humanitarian crisis in Palestine? Or do you suggest that the matter be overlooked.

  18. Bernard Chazelle says:

    Dana: I feel deep emotion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (especially, having dear friends on both sides of it), as many on this site do, and it would sadden me greatly if the matter got “overlooked.”

    But, in fact, it is being overlooked just as we speak. Talk is plentiful, sure, but nothing gets done because the stakes are low (except for the participants, for whom they are huge). For rising powers such as China, India, Brazil, or big and not-so-rising like Japan, it’s essentially irrelevant. For most others it’s a minor irritant of no consequence.

    Especially now, post Iraq II, that the fate of Israel has been decoupled from the control of energy resources.
    Until now, the illusion that it was coupled (and in geopolitics illusion can serve as reality for a long time) was maintained by the joint deterrent of Israel (local) and the US (global). But both have been crippled. That’s why Iran looms so large in US/Israeli perceptions. The balance of power is shifting and it will never shift back.
    So what’s west of the Jordan river is a drifting iceberg (into which many Titanics might come crashing) but an iceberg nevertheless.

    The UN?

    It can’t do anything in the region unless the US agrees to it. The US, however, is politically incapable of doing much.
    Now if you’re not pessimistic, I can help fix that. By the time people get serious again about a 2-state solution, the window will have closed. And a binational state (ie, the end of a Jewish state) is unrealistic. What’s left then is apartheid South Africa writ large. Well, actually not so large. If that happens, Israel’s center won’t hold and it will become a theme park for religious nut cases.

    I realize to be pessimistic is the easier route and maybe I am just being intellectually lazy. Who knows?

    OT: Brazil-Argentina anyone? Ok, the Argentinians collapsed psychologically and the Brazilians don’t play like Brazilians any more. But, man, that’s one mighty team all right! I was impressed.

  19. Dana L says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful response, Bernard, but you didn’t answer my question.

    If the UN is caduc, as far as international law is concerned — which even a casual observer will have observed to be the case — how do we respond to such hyper-belligerent regimes as the US and Israel, which are ready to force the political sphere to its outer limits?

    It’s easy to change the subject to Brazil-Argentina. That’s precisely there where most would like us to focus our attention.

  20. Bernard Chazelle says:

    Dana: First, should I believe you when you say that Brazil-Argentina is where you’d like to focus your attention? Until I hear your opinion on Tevez’s pathetic performance or Messi’s dead-man-walking show or Ayala’s own goal, I’ll have to remain open to the possibility that, well, you’re putting me on.

    Not sure who “we” is in your question? But I do believe that if everyone was doing — in their own different ways — what Tony Karon is doing as a professional journalist, ie, bring out the facts and speak the truth, then US policy might look quite different. That being, of course, as likely as Meshaal getting an invitation to Olmert’s grand-daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. But, seriously, the unfathomable ignorance of the citizenry is of grave consequence. Tens of thousands of US soldiers are fighting in Iraq to avenge… 9/11 !
    When, instead, they should be fighting to protect us against the imminent arrival of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

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  22. Ames Tiedeman says:

    Wake up Europe. Listen to Sir Winston Churchill:

    “Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step.” — Sir Winston Churchill – circa 1899

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  27. TAXI HUAHIN says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful response, Bernard, but you didn’t answer my question.

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