Right Wing News has an interview with Victor Davis Hanson; I thought the following exchange was worth quoting in full. Go read the whole piece.
John Hawkins: A related question – Europe and the U. S. do have a lot in common. We’re both Western civilizations. Many of our citizens emigrated from Europe at one point or another in time. We fought in many of the same wars. Yet, we’re so puzzlingly far apart on basic issues like the war on terrorism, Israel and Palestine, & the use of military force. Why do you think Europeans and Americans seem to have such a dissimilar view of the world these days?
Victor Davis Hanson: I wish it was because of issues that divide us on principle, but I’m afraid a lot of it has to do with the absence of 300 Soviet divisions. During the Cold War, the U.S. subsidized the defense of Europe and it kept Russia from going in and doing to Western Europe what it had done to Eastern Europe.
With the demise of the Berlin Wall, the Europeans immediately began to follow up on their socialist utopia. They not only increased social spending, but they cut defense because they were just convinced that the danger was over with. They thought that all of these nukes, all of these divisions, all of these tanks and planes that the U. S. had stationed and protected them were, kind of, if not our fault, at least we were as culpable as the Soviet Union. Now it was the time to let European soft power, money in the U. N., these international bodies, & the EU, adjudicate trouble.
All of a sudden the U. S. says, you know, “Look at the 20th century, whether it’s Prussian militarism, Tojo, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin or Mao, there always seems to be a mass murderer that appears on the stage and every time there’s collective action proposed no one acts. It’s always the U. S. that acts and we’re not going to disarm even though we did cut back radically." Europe saw that as sort of, “Ohmigosh, these guys are retrograde, they’re Neanderthal, they’re going to pull the world back to the use of force,” and so the U. S., I guess, represents a stinging reminder of how weak they are and how the rest of the world does not operate on their premises and that bothers them a great deal.
The very emotional response with Europeans is almost like a child telling the parent, you know, “I can take care of myself, I want the world to work my way,” and then the parent says, you know, “Sorry, you’re on your own.” The child then gets angrier and angrier as he sees the world isn't up to their visions, a very puerile, immature view of the world.