Thomas Friedman observes that it's hard to be an American in Paris these days, unless you are an anti-American American. Europe, he says, is the "ultimate Blue State". Only in Iran, apparently, is the general population looking forward to a second Bush Administration.
Watching George W. Bush's second inaugural from a bistro in Paris is like watching the Red Sox win the World Series from a sports bar in New York City. Odds are that someone around you is celebrating -- I mean, someone, somewhere in Europe must be happy about this — but it's not obvious. Why are Europeans so blue over George W. Bush's re-election? Because Europe is the world's biggest "blue state." This whole region is a rhapsody in blue.
But European disapproval is counterpointed by the emotion of surprised helplessness:
and then suddenly, as the truth emerged, there was a feeling of slow resignation: 'Oh well, we've been dreaming,' " said Dominique Moisi, one of France's top foreign policy analysts. "In fact, real America is moving away from us. We don't share the same values." ... Moisi said. "It is not that we are so much against America, it is that we cannot understand the evolution of that country. This election has weakened the concept of 'the West.'
The unspoken assumption of Friedman and Moisi was that the West was authentic only as long as it remained a development of the secular European ideologies of the 19th and 20th centuries. For Friedman, Europe remained the ground of Westernism; and when America and Europe diverged, it was America that had left the 'West'. If so, the 'West' had become a museum. The NIC 2020 report stressed that globalization had so revitalized the world economy that 21st century modernity would almost certainly wear a non-European face.
While today’s most advanced nations -- especially the United States -- will remain important forces driving capital, technology and goods, globalization is likely to take on much more of a “non-Western face” over the next 15 years. Most of the increase in world population and consumer demand through 2020 will take place in today’s developing nations—especially China, India, and Indonesia—and multinational companies from today’s advanced nations will adapt their “profiles” and business practices to the demands of these cultures. ...
Countries such as China and India will be in a position to achieve higher economic growth than Europe and Japan, whose aging work forces may inhibit their growth. Given its enormous population—and assuming a reasonable degree of real currency appreciation—the dollar value of China’s gross national product (GNP) may be the second largest in the world by 2020. For similar reasons, the value of India’s output could match that of a large European country. The economies of other developing countries, such as Brazil and Indonesia, could surpass all but the largest European economies by 2020.
What Moisi should have said was 'in fact, due to unstoppable trends the World may be moving away from us. We don't share the same values.' Friedman's celebration of Europe as the world's largest 'Blue State' avoids mention that it might become the world's only Blue State. Certainly in the matter of religion, the differential growth in populations between the Europe on the one hand, and the Third World and even the United States on the other, is dooming 'Western' secular atheism, and perhaps much else, to demographic extinction. Nor, with India on track to surpass the French and German economies in size by the 2020s is there any realistic hope of re-imposing 'Western' European values on the benighted Red States of the world by aid packages which will by then be regarded as chump change. It is perhaps the subconscious realization that it has awakened to a nightmare new world that drives the the Left's incredulous reaction to George Bush. A story on the Kerry Spot describing a Leftist assault on conservative protesters is provided by Glenn Reynolds, who describes it in terms of 'crushing free speech'. But the real caption should be 'Nooo! It can't be!! This can't be happening!!"
Hundreds of people gathered at both ends of Meridian Hill Park in Northwest Washington for a peace rally sponsored by the D.C Antiwar Network. But there were interlopers: Thirteen members of ProtestWarror, supporting the Bush administration and its policies in Iraq. When the Bush supporters arrived, about 20 black-clad, self-described anarchists emerged from the crowd, shouting profanity and epithets and demanding that they leave the peace rally. When the Bush supporters refused to leave, the anarchists tore the sign out of the Bush supporters' hands and stomped on them. When ProtestWarrior leader Gil Kobrin objected, several male anarchists knocked him to the ground, kicking him in the back and punching him. Other anarchists punched and shoved Kobrin's 12 colleagues.
Yet it is happening. The European ideologies of the last century have left the stream of history and will not, cannot acknowledge it. But it is not merely Liberalism that is unrepentant. Austin Bay listened to President Bush repeat the evangelical themes of his War on Terrorism and said: faster please. "The President’s inaugural speech said in spades what I wish he would say every day. When I returned from Iraq I said our biggest mistake was failing to “ideologize” the war. This war is truly a fight for the future -- a struggle between liberty and tyranny." The Daily Demarche has a literate yet uncompromising reiteration of the same theme: the Delaware is crossed. Fly the colors.
I have long been opposed to the phrase “War on Terror” itself. Designed to be non-offensive to the public in general and Muslims in particular it is an incredibly vague construct. “Terror” is not the enemy, it is the tactic. We have, more or less, declared war on a feeling in order to spare the feelings of a certain demographic and avoid the PC issues inherent in naming a readily identifiable enemy. We can’t even argue that we are at war against terrorists- we are not, after all, pursuing the Basque separatists, or Chechnyan rebels. As was argued on this site back in November, if we are at war with anyone it is the islamo-fscists. We need to clearly articulate who the enemy is, and then define how we will defeat that enemy, thereby identifying an endpoint in the “war”. ...
As the President delivers his speech at the inauguration tomorrow, and as we enter the final countdown for the election in Iraq, we must be sure to say what we mean, and mean what we say. This administration has been accused of oversimplifying matters when it comes to global relations and foreign policy. I accuse the MSM, the apologists and the anti-America crowd of obfuscating what are simple truths: there is an enemy, the enemy can be named and must be defeated. Islamo-fascism is our “bird”- but you can call call this flock what you wish, the name is not important. We have all seen them at work. We all recognize them when presented with their deeds. We all know what they want- nothing short of the death of the West. We all know the difference between the name of this war and the reality. The time has come to stop mincing words.
Personally I find it difficult to conceive of an enmity with Muslims in general when it is Muslims doing the most dying on the side of freedom in Iraq. Surely that is proof that the basic faultline is nothing so slender as the boundary between Sunni and Shi'ite; Muslim and Jew; atheist or Christian, but something wider still. Yet Col. Bay and the Daily Demarche are correct in insisting that the great issues which divide the world must now be called by their proper names, although that name is not religious war. The listeners in Friedman's bistro would have listened to the Bush inaugurual speech more carefully if they understood that Moisi was very near the truth when he remarked, 'Oh well, we've been dreaming' -- a belated realization that words taken to be empty were really uttered in earnest -- that things had changed. Each would have listened, with fear or upliftment, according to his gifts, as the President said:
America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and earth. Across the generations, we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time. ...
We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies. ...
When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, "It rang as if it meant something." In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength tested, but not weary we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.
May God bless you, and may He watch over the United States of America.