Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Here's a story from today's Vanguardia, on page eight in the International News section.. Steven Erlanger, a New York Times correspondent in Europe, spoke in Barcelona yesterday on America and Europe. Here's what he had to say:

"The Americans view Europeans as teenagers asking for the keys to the car."

"(The alliance forged after World War II) is breaking up; this is inevitable and dangerous, but that's the way it is."

"The Americans feel that they're at war; the Europeans don't. (9-11) was an act of war and the US responded as a country attacked in a wartime situation."

"(Germany perceives the world) as a peaceful place where no one has a conflict with them, the Germans, and they only want social welfare and ecologism from the EU....This is a tacit and not-thought-through view of the world...Seeing the world as a benign place is strange and absurd, and it creates an unhealthy European dependence on a United States that protects them."

"(Europe is used to territorial terrorism, like the IRA and the ETA), and it does not understand what 9-11 meant and what Al Qaeda is...a form of totalitarianism that promises a world changed through war, sacrifice, and the dictatorship of an elite."

"There's no way in which a Mohammed Atta could one day feel himself self-identified as a German...Europe does not integrate its first and second-generation immigrants. And it doesn't want Turkey in the EU, something essential to legitimate moderate Islamism as an alternative to Islamic jihad."

"Europe is a fantasyland, a wonderful bourgeois paradise that doesn't believe that what it is creating deserves to be defended...Europe should begin taking itself seriously so that the United States will begin to take it seriously, too...What are the Europeans willing to fight for? This is a question that Europeans never ask themselves."

The Vangua reporter, Plàcid García-Planas, was favorably impressed by Erlanger, who comes off as rather a Cassandra in the article. He says, "(Messages like Erlanger's) are a breath of fresh air, a hard but essential wind to help clear up something that needs to be cleared up: the values for which the citizens of the different NATO countries are willing to fight for." Intelligent, sensible man.

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