Perhaps it will come as a surprise to the citizens of the EU that their European Parliament and governments must look to the Untied States for approval of its legislation and foreign policy decisions.
George Bush made this quite clear yesterday at a news conference with reference to the EU intention to lift the arms embargo on China. The NYT article read, “In his news conference, Mr. Bush also told the Europeans that when they settled on their new code of conduct, they needed to “sell it to the United States Congress.” What is this? Need to sell it to the US Congress? What unmitigated arrogance!
The article went on to state “Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed a resolution by a 411-3 vote that condemned the European Union’s plans.” That being the case, it is highly unlikely that Congress can “be sold” on an EU decision to do so. France then stated that it is determined to carry through on its plans to lift the embargo. Vive la France!
It is precisely this arrogance, this presumption of prerogative over other countries’ affairs that is widening the gulf between America and the rest of the world. What cheek!
Senator Lugar went so far as to propose restrictions on sales of military technology to Europe should Europe decide to lift the arms embargo. Brilliant! The US opposes German and French proposals to form their own European military alliance, insisting on an obsolete and America led NATO. So, should Europe have the temerity to thwart US wishes on export of arms, the US would cut off supply of weapons technology to its allies in NATO.
One can hardly interpret Lugar’s remarks and the House of Representatives vote as being a very convincing argument for retaining NATO. On the contrary, the sooner Europe moves to develop its own armed forces and move out of the shadow of the United States, the sooner it can be master of its own destiny.
The NYT article also echoed the thesis in my Post of 21 February, “US, NATO, Europe and a China-India Axis”; namely, that lifting of the ban is inevitable in view of the benefits accruing to Europe in arms sales, financially and politically.
Bush’s puerile efforts to bridge the differences between the United States and Europe are only serving to underscore the differences. However, one should not lay the responsibility for this ham fisted approach solely to Bush. The US Congress, on both sides of the aisle, is equally myopic and haughty.
Yesterday, Senators Liebermann, Democrat, and McCain, Republican put forth a demand that Russia be expelled from the Gang of Eight because it does not meet theocratic America’s standard for a democratic government. All the more reason for Russia to join force with France and China. The upcoming talks between Bush and Putin will be all the more interesting to follow in light of these rash statements.