||This article appears in the June 22, 2001 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
European Opposition to Bush
Grows Stronger During Visit
by Mark Burdman
[PDF version of this article]
Whatever the final outcome of U.S. President George W. Bush's first official visit to Europe June 12-16, and whatever hyped-up accounts of "breakthroughs" may emanate from the White House in the days to come, the reality is, that the Bush journey is reinforcing the apprehension felt, in intelligent circles in both Europe and the United States, that this administration is doing irreparable harm to the entire fabric of post-World War II transatlantic relations.
Among the most intelligent such circles in Europe, it is understood, that the only way that this outcome can be prevented, is for there to be a rapid and drastic turnaround in American policy, in the direction of Lyndon LaRouche's prescription, that the United States must, in its own patriotic self-interest, participate in the economic development of Eurasia.
This would necessitate overturning the entire radical free-market policy insanity of the Bush Administration. This policy has brought devastation inside the United States itself, as best evidenced in the California-centered energy crisis; Europeans are intent on escaping this fate, as most dramatically evidenced in the voter rejection of privatization of the energy grid in the city of Düsseldorf (EIR, June 1, 2001). At the same time, the collapse of the United States as the "importer of last report," and the collapse of the "new economy" complex, is having devastating consequences, for export-dependent European economies. A vigorous Eurasia infrastructure-development program, as detailed in LaRouche's Eurasian Land-Bridge design, would reverse this downward-spiralling trend.
Leading Europeans look, with interest and hope, at the recent signs of a sea-change in the American political scene, typified by the Democrats' regaining of control of the U.S. Senate, after Vermont's Sen. James Jeffords announced that he was leaving the Republican Party, on May 24. The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which is usually very cautious about criticizing U.S. governments, wrote, on June 11, about the emergence of a "transatlantic counter-alliance" against Bush policies, composed of the West Europeans, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the opposition to Bush in the U.S. Congress. Such a combination was already called for by Lyndon LaRouche, in his first post-election seminar/webcast on Nov. 14, 2000.
Bush in 'Yurp'
Bush's trip first took him to Spain, for June 12 meetings with King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister José Marí Aznar (whom Bush first addressed as "Anzar"; ánsar is Spanish for "goose"); to Brussels, for a June 13 informal NATO leaders' summit; to Gothenburg, Sweden, for the June 14 U.S.-European Union summit; to Warsaw, for a June 15 speech on the future of transatlantic relations and the expansion of NATO; and to Ljubljana, Slovenia, for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, on June 16.
Even before the trip began, there were very good reasons for Europeans to be dismayed about the policy direction of the White House. Above and beyond any particular issue, is the widespread alarm, that the United States has managed to install a cretin and provocateur in the White House.
As soon as Bush stepped down on European soil, he was met with ridicule and laughter. Emblematic, was a June 12 cartoon by the London Guardian's Steve Bell, showing a goofy-looking Bush, stepping off Air Force One, saying, "Where am I? Is this Yurp? Are those people Yurpeans? Can I show 'em my light saber?" This latter reference to the "Star Wars" films, was echoed by the sign on the plane: "Air Force One Be With You."
A more sober tone was the adopted by a front-page commentary in Le Monde, the leading French establishment daily, on June 13. Under the heading, "The 'Me-Nation' of George W. Bush," senior commentator Alain Frachon identified Bush as the essence of the Baby Boomer generation. Frachon wrote: "Americans born after the war, the Baby Boomers, have formed what is called, in the United States, the 'me-generation.' The expression suggests a philosophy of life obeying a first principle: 'Me first.'... It is characterized by a solid egoism, unbridled individualism, and the search for immediate satisfaction. Baby Boomer George W. Bush, visiting Europe this week, is applying this principle to his foreign policy. His ambition seems to be, to transform the United States into a type of me-nation, a country essentially occupied, on the international scene, to defend national interests that are defined in the narrowest way." Frachon warned that the Bush Administration is applying the principle, " 'That's the way it is,' in the service of 'me first.' "
Against 'Brutal Unilateralism'
Bush's specific actions have borne out these fears. Hours before he left for Spain, on June 11, newscasts showed him boasting about the Federal execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, as an act of "justice." This was the same Bush whom Europeans and others came to dread, as Governor of Texas, when more individuals were executed, than in any other state. Bush has frequently been labelled "The Executioner," or "The Assassin," and mass demonstrations denouncing him so, and as an "American Taliban," greeted him on his mid-June journey.
After McVeigh was executed, the Council of Europe, an extremely influential institution on the continent, denounced the McVeigh execution, and warned that continued U.S. support for the death penalty, could result in the withdrawal of U.S. observer status in the Council. Even Bush's ostensible buddy, Spanish Prime Minister, stressed his disagreement with Bush and his own personal opposition to the death penalty, during their June 12 joint press conference.
European ire has also been aroused by the intent of the Bush Administration, to reverse every effort by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, to bring peace to crisis-torn regions. In the Middle East, Bush and his advisers have given the green light to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, to wield his war machine against the Palestinians. There is hope that European-Russian-Arab diplomatic pressure on the administration finally forced Bush to send CIA director George Tenet to the region, and that this might impede the momentum toward general war.
Much the same can be said for the Korean Peninsula. Bush and advisers, like Deputy Secretary of State Michael Armitage, have brutally upended Clinton's efforts to back up the "Sunshine Policy" for North-South Korean reconciliation, architected by South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung. Here, the Europeans directly intervened, with European Union and other diplomatic overtures to North Korea, and, now, there seems to be a Bush shift, with the renewal of U.S.-North Korean talks. Whether this amounts to anything really positive, remains to be seen.
Most explosive, has been the Balkans situation. European rage at Bush was expressed, after comments from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, that the United States would move toward pulling its troops out of the Balkans. At the June 13 NATO meeting, the issue of the dangerous situation in Macedonia was brought to the fore by French President Jacques Chirac and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, despite Bush's manic insistence, that "my National Missile Defense" (NMD) be first on the agenda.
Of course, the two issues of contention most discussed in the media, are the National Missile Defense (NMD) and the Kyoto "global warming" treaty. While the predicates of these two differ greatly, the common thread in both cases, is European anger, that Bush acted with that Le Monde commentator Frachon characterizes as "brutal unilateralism," with no "prior consultation" with either Europe or Japan.
A Paris-based insider, during a June 5 discussion, said that the manner in which European foreign ministers rejected U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's appeal for support for the NMD, during the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Budapest the week of May 28, was "an event of enormous importance, representing an absolutely new element globally." He stressed, that official opposition to a major U.S. strategic policy had not been "expressed so openly, and to such an extent," for several decades. He said, that what had happened in Budapest, was "fully consistent" with the earlier European move, to remove the U.S. from the United Nations Human Rights Commission: "There is a growing rejection, by the Europeans, of this American unilateralism, which is being carried out in a more brutal way now, than was the case with the previous American administration. There is a process of accumulation of anger about this, which we now see culminating. We see a crystallization of feeling, of rejection of American unilateralism."
At the June 13 NATO summit, Bush ran into opposition, from a majority of the 19 countries in attendance, with French President Chirac being most vocal, in opposing the NMD design, counterposing to this, a concept of "strategic stability," based on "multi-polar" negotiations, involving all major countries concerned with proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's insisted that nothing could be done, without consultation with Russia and China.
Here Come the Texas Rangers!
Even before Bush had arrived on the continent, there were other reasons why Europeans were upset with the current U.S. approach toward matters in Eurasia.
The very design of the Bush trip produced dismay among observers, starting with the fact that the President did not to go to the two core countries, France and Germany. The sense that there is a willful lack of desire to understand Europe, has been reinforced by the pattern of Presidential appointments to ambassadorial posts. For France, for the first time in memory, an individual was chosen, Howard Leach, who has no knowledge of French; multi-millionaire businessman Leach's main asset, in Bush's eyes, is that he was a top California fundraiser for the Bush campaign. For Switzerland, the individual chosen was Mercer Reynolds, Bush's business partner in the Texas Rangers baseball team. Two other bigshots in the Texas Rangers enterprise were announced to be ambassadors to Belgium and Spain. For Germany, the man chosen for the job, is former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats, a neo-conservative ideologue in the mold of Newt Gingrich. Coats' most recent dubious claim to fame, was a spate of U.S. press reports, that Dubya had rejected neo-cons' demands, that Coats be made Defense Secretary, because Dubya considered him to be "too dumb" for the job!
The only case where someone has been chosen to be ambassador to a European country who intimately knows the country he is being sent to, is that of Will Farish III, to be Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Farish is an intimate of Queen Elizabeth II. (His family has long-standing ties to the Bush clan, since his grandfather, Will Farish I, collaborated with Dubya's grandfather Prescott Bush, in backing for the Hitler regime in Nazi Germany. As EIR has documented, the Farish family fortune derives, in significant part, from such enterprises as the Auschwitz concentration camp.)
The apparent contempt for Europe is consistent with what has been billed as a fundamental shift in U.S. strategic policy under Bush, according to which future U.S. military-strategic efforts will be focussed in Asia, with China as the "enemy of the future." This shift has been architected by Andrew Marshall, head of the Pentagon's key internal think-tank, the Office of Net Assessment. The so-called "Marshall Doctrine" has received public backing from Rumsfeld, and is supported by Armitage and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.
'Waltzing Through a Pageant of Royalty'
What has upset and angered informed Frenchmen, Germans, and others, is that this devil-may-care attitude has been extended to Russia. The essential point was made on June 12, by Bronwen Maddox, a Washington correspondent for the London Times, usually sympathetic to the Bush Administration. She commented that one of the most "unfortunate" aspects of the Bush tour would be its "itinerary.... The White House has spread out for his tour, a pack of playing cards of the crowned heads of Europe: King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium, and, finally, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden.... He appears set to spend more time with minor royalty, than with President Putin, who has a two-hour slot, on the last day."
True enough, Maddox asserted, the royal encounters would be the only ones Bush would have, that would be free of fights and brawls, but the fact is, such gatherings are far less important than a summit with Putin, since "relations with Russia will shape the continent's politics for the next decade.... It is Russia that should dominate White House concerns," she advised, especially at a time when there is "a crescent of growing unrest in Europe's East and South, from Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania." She concluded that Bush should take this matter, as well as "European concerns," as the priority for his trip, instead of "waltzing through a pageant of royalty."
A very informed strategist in Paris went one step further. During a June 14 discussion, he stressed that the most important moment of Bush's trip, would be the June 16 get-together with Putin, in Ljubljana, and commented: "I can well believe, that Bush would prefer to be meeting royalty, rather than Putin. He's more comfortable in such circumstances, because no points of substance will be discussed."
Geopolitics vs. LaRouche
There is a more diabolical and alarming aspect, to the Bush Administration's approach to Eurasia. Various strategists in the Bush circles, such as "Prince of Darkness" Richard Perle and Russia expert Richard Pipes, were telling European publications during the week of Bush's trip, that the United States wants to use Aznar's Spain and the Italy of newly elected Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, as "U.S. assets" against France and Germany, which are seen as obstructions.
More than just this, it is widely perceived, that the Bush crowd has a "Hobbesian" attitude, of playing all against all: various European countries against each other, Europe against Asia, Russia against China, China against India, and so on.
One of Europe's most incisive strategic experts, in a June 11 discussion with EIR, warned that the fundamental danger, is that the prevailing factions in the American policy establishment, are axiomatically opposed to Eurasian development, on the basis of a re-warmed version of the classical geopolitical doctrine of Britain's Sir Halford Mackinder, dating from the early 20th Century. He said: "I fully agree with LaRouche, that it would be very important now, for the United States to have a positive orientation toward Eurasian development, but the people in control in the States, have the opposite idea, which only makes sense from a narrow geo-strategic view, namely to undermine and obstruct any effective alliance of nations in Eurasia. You and I know, how beneficial such new relationships would be, but those running the show in the U.S., see this as presenting a danger, of a new Eurasian dominance."