Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Second chapter ("More Questions")

George Weigel (GW) says that his questions about the difference between the U.S. and Europe were intensified when "after an initial period of European solidarity" with the U.S. after 9/11 until "fundamental differences arose between the U.S. and its allies on the question of how best to respond."

Later in this short chapter he bemoans "the protrait in the European press of Americans (and especially an American President) as religious fanatics intent on shooting up the world."

On neither count does GW stop to question whether possibly Europe is right on this one, er these two. On the first count, the "initial period of European solidarity" ended because the world recognized that we were attacking someone who did not attack us. The Europeans saw what was going on because they watched the news which reported the facts. In the U.S., although the president proclaimed they hate us for our liberties, the only commentator in our "free press" that saw through the story the administration was feeding and told the truth was an anchor on a cable access, comedy channel show airing late night, : The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. [See Tom Fenton, Bad News: The Decline of Reporting, the Business of News, and the Danger to us all; Frank Rich, The Greatest Story Every Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina].

On the second count, consider that Bush indicated be wanted to invade not only Iraq, but also Syria and Iran and the Administartion repeatedly tested the waters to see what Americans would think if they made either or both moves. He has also indicated the possibility of action against Venezuela, and is currently fanning the flames of the cold war we all thought was over. He established "The Bush Doctrine": it is now U.S. policy to launch pre-emptive war on any rogue regime that seeks weapons of mass destruction, and to go to war to prevent any other nation from acquiring the power to challenge US hegemony anywhere in the world. How dare they call him a religious fanatic!

After describing Europeans as "cranky" he begins talking about Europe's low birth rate: "western Europe is sommitting a form of demographic suicide." What does this have to do with having a different view of "how best to respond to international terrorism". Smells an awful lot like an argumentum ad hominem.

GW says the "European problem," which we may ourselves be developing is best understood in moral and cultural terms. What is this "European problem"? I'll have to tune in tommorow for the next chapter. If the "European problem" means we might start thinking it's a bad idea to invade, bomb or threaten everyone in the world, I'd like to see what I can do to exacerbate the problem.


confero said...

This chapter is about the differences between the views of Americans and Europeans. You are correct in stating that Weigel does not answer the question as to whether or not they (Europe) was correct in their approach to the Iraq situation (or both were wrong).

However, with this said, I believe your post is missing the essence of this chapter. What drives European thought?

It is not about the Iraq war!! The Iraq war is one of many factors which hint at their thought process. The other factors include low birth rate and not including Christianity in the European Constitution. So let us please stick to the subject. The "second count" has nothing to do with the chapter.

I do see that he has ramblings that should have been better presented. Hopefully, we will be able to sift through his pages to get a better understanding of European thought.

Civis said...


He made 3 references to Iraq and one to 911 in this four page chapter. Now that I have read the third chpater, I see even more about our policy toward Iraq and "our philosophy on the use of power". Will comment on Chapter three after work.

Have an open mind about his message; I am just seeing the forshadowing.


confero said...

As stated in my post, I recognize problems with the author's viewpoint. I just don't understand why your post went on a tangent in your second point.