My fellow Americans, our Liar in Chief certainly gave Europe and the world an up-close look at the authoritarian idiocy that passes for democratic “leadership” in our glorious nation-state, the self-proclaimed homeland and headquarters of human freedom. With European confidence in George The Decider Bush to “do the right thing” in the world at an all-time low — ranging from 7 percent [!] confidence in Spain to a “high” of 30 percent in England (not much lower than the U.S. population’s approval ratings for their royal brute’s job performance as a whole) — the White House decided yesterday to put the Messianic Nutcase his own dumb self up to answer some questions from some European reporters.
It was a mistake. Even that mendacious war criminal Condaleeza Rice, Bush's doting world geography tutor, looked embarrassed as the terrible dialogue ensued:
EUROPEAN JOURNALIST: “President Bush, you've got Iran's nuclear program, you've got North Korea, yet most Europeans consider the United States the biggest threat to global stability. Do you have any regrets about that?”
THE DECIDER: “That's absurd. We'll defend ourselves, but at the same times we're actively working with our partners to spread peace and democracy. So whoever says that is — it's an absurd statement.”
EUROPEAN JOURNALIST: “Mr. President, you said this is absurd, but you might be aware that, in Europe, the image of America is still falling, and dramatically in some areas. Let me give you some numbers. In Austria, in this country, only 14 percent of the people believe that the United States, what they are doing is good for peace; 64 percent think that it is bad. In the United Kingdom, your ally, there are more citizens who believe that the United States policy under your leadership is helping to destabilize the world than Iran. So my question to you is: Why do you think that you've failed so badly to convince Europeans to win their heads, and hearts, and minds? Thank you.”
THE DECIDER: “Well, yes, I thought it was absurd for people to think that we're more dangerous than Iran. I, you know, it's — we're a transparent democracy. People know exactly what's on our mind. We debate things in the open. We've got a legislative process that's active. Look, people didn't agree with my decision on Iraq, and I understand that. For Europe, September the 11th was a moment; for us, it was a change of thinking. And I vowed to the American people I would do everything I could to defend our people, and will. I don't govern by polls, you know. I just do what I think is right. And I understand some of the decisions I've made are controversial. But I made them in the best interest of our country and, I think, in the best interests of the world.”
Dubya has an intriguing way of referring to the broad majority of the European citizenry: “whoever.”
He also has an interesting concept of democracy: “I just do what I think is right.” As he explained regarding Rumsfeld's formerly endangered job security some time ago, "I'm the Decider and I decide that Uncle Rummy stays."
We know, of course, that Bush makes critical decisions on the basis of what he thinks someone he calls God (the ultimate Decider, whose work Bush seeks to do on earth) wants, not what that mere citizenry (the purported rulers of democratic societies) citizenry desires. This fundamentalist son-of-a-Bush thinks Jehovah told him to occupy Mesopotamia.
George the Lesser has a truly sophisticated response to criticism of America’s role in the world. He says “that’s absurd.” He forgot to add “because I say so,” building on the legacy of his lunatic father George the First, who described the meaning of the first U.S. military assault on Iraq for international relations in the following terms: “What we [the U.S. that is] say goes” (Geez…talk about an invitation for terrorist assault).
I for one demand that The Decider stop speaking for all “Americans” and their “interests,” especially when the preponderant majority of his subjects now repudiate his administration. In the greeting card sections of U.S. grocery stores numerous different versions of a birthday card that combines a picture of Bush II with a comment saying basically the following: “the only thing scarier than getting older is realizing that this moronic bastard is going to be your president for two and a half more years.”
Most Americans were not turned into frothing, racist oil imperialists or fervent supposed "democracy"-exporters by the 9-11 “moment.” We do not generally see the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq (a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11) as defending our interests or security. A lot of us know by now that 9/11 was a great Orwellian gift for Dubya and more sophisticated and sinister Washington War Masters like Cheney, Rumseld, Wolfowitz, Libby, and Rove: a welcome opportunity to concentrate wealth and power and deepen inequality and oppression at home and abroad.
And now for some brief comments on history. Near the end of Dubya’s disturbing press conference yesterday, Austrian CHANCELLOR SCHÜSSEL was moved to remind Europeans that “Austria is really a good example to show that America has something to do with freedom, democracy, prosperity, development. Don't forget I was born in '45. At that time, Vienna and half of Austria laid in ruins. And without the participation of America, what fate would have Europe? Where would be Europe today? Not the peaceful, prosperous Europe like we love it and where we live. Nothing — I will never forget that America fed us with food, with economic support. The Marshall Plan was an immense aid and incentive to develop industry, agriculture, tourism. And by the way, I said it to the President, the Marshall Fund is still working in Austria. It's now transformed into a kind –in a fund for research and development — still working. The American people, at that time, the American government invested billions of dollars in Europe to develop the former enemy. And now we are a partner. So I think it's grotesque to say that America is a threat to the peace in the world compared with North Korea, Iran, other countries.”
Two interesting things about this little history riff from Austria's head of state. First, even if the historical U.S. role in Europe was as positive as Schussel claimed, the public opinion data (from the latest Pew Trust survey of global opinions) that the reporters were confronting The Decider with was about Uncle Sam’s role today —- more than sixty years after the U.S. belatedly helped the Soviet Union and the left-led European resistance (which lost 25 million people in World War II) defeat Nazism.
Second, U.S. policy in Europe during the 1940s and the interwar years was not without a very disturbing dark side that many Europeans would probably find more than a little consistent with current U.S. policy. U.S. policymakers helped enable the rise of European fascism that culminated in native Austrian Adolf Hitler’s march of terror. As is apparent from the relevant historical literature, the US watched with approval as fascist darkness set over Europe during the inter-war years. American policymakers saw Italian, Spanish, German and other strains of the European fascist disease as a welcome counter to the Soviet threat – essentially the demonstration Russia made of the possibilities for modernization (industrialization, urbanization, and nation- building) outside the capitalist world system – and anti-capitalist social democracy within Western European states. In 1937, the US State Department’s European Division argued that European fascism was compatible with America’s economic interests. This key diplomatic agency reported that fascism’s rise was a natural response of “the rich and middle classes” to the threat posed by “dissatisfied masses,” who, with the “the example of the Russian Revolution before them,” might “swing to the left.” Fascism, the State Department argued, “must succeed or the masses, this time reinforced by the disillusioned middle class, will again turn to the left.” The French Popular Front government of the middle 1930s was an example of the popular left threat that made fascism acceptable to American officials before Hitler really launched his drive for a New World Order.
It is true that fascism became an avowed US enemy during WWII. This did not occur, however, until fascism, holding power in two leading imperialist states, directly attacked American interests. American policymakers intervened against fascism on the basis of perceived national self-interest, not out of any particular concern for the human rights of the French or, for that matter, European Jews or anyone else. There's a lot more that could be said along these lines, to be sure.
After the war, it is worth noting, America’s accommodation of European and Asian fascism in the inter-war period became the model for US Third World policy. In the name of resisting supposedly expansionist Soviet influence and anti-capitalism, the US sponsored, funded, equipped, and provided political cover for numerous Third World fascist regimes. In doing so, it protected and enlisted numerous Nazi War criminals (e.g. Klaus Barbie) perceived to have special skills in anti-leftist counter-insurgency. And today, after it conducted a “pre-emptive” invasion of a weak state to advance an American-dominated New World Order, the U.S. understandably strikes many European and other world citizens as the closest thing in recent historical memory to the Hitler’s Third Reich. They don't understand something that The Decider's friend and fellow Texas-Republican, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson explained on the floor of the Senate in 2002, while helping authorizing Bush to use military force againt Iraq: the U.S. is "the beacon to the world of the way life should be."