Thursday, March 3, 2005

An amazing message from Berlin

I haven't linked this, as it's a paid site — but if you happen to be a WSJ subscriber, it's well worth reading the whole thing (today's commentary page). Meanwhile, here's the startling conclusion:

George Bush is an underestimated American president for whom a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a simple corollary of his courageous political vision: the defense of freedom and democracy against Islamic fundamentalism, not only with words, but also with deeds. Added to this, and in contrast to his first term, he is pursuing this idea in harmony with the State Department, together with Condoleezza Rice. Supported by Tony Blair, America — the world power — is determined to defend the free West. Many Europeans, in contrast, stand on the sidelines and confuse multicultural tolerance with tolerance toward the intolerant.

What would these Europeans say if, in four years, the Bush balance sheet even approaches the following scenario: An independent Palestinian state in stable coexistence with Israel; freedom of opinion prevails in Iraq and the people still vote; Iran has no nuclear weapons; al Qaeda is destabilized; the number of terrorist attacks world-wide continues to decrease; and the American economy is flourishing as a result of determined domestic reforms and tax cuts.

What a turnabout, if the cliché of the reactionary cowboy is replaced by the image of a misjudged but later admired fighter for freedom! When Mr. Bush arrived in Europe, he quoted from his second inaugural address: "We cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time. We must reject anti-Semitism from any source, and we must condemn violence such as we have witnessed in the Netherlands. All our nations must work to integrate minorities into the mainstream of society, and to teach the value of tolerance to each new generation." The Germans couldn't believe their ears. No, they won't immediately give up their anti-Americanism after this visit. But the smiling, congenial George Bush made their dislike a little more difficult to defend.

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