Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Soft Power in a Post-9/11 World

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The ever-indispensable Victor Davis Hanson takes a look at European soft power in Opinion Journal, and makes an astute observation:

After September 11 all that one-sided way of doing business is in jeopardy, well aside from eroding American public support for either bases in Western Europe or NATO itself. George Bush turned out to be not just a bombs-away Texan, but a visionary of the Woodrow Wilson and FDR stripe, who risked his re-election, the American economy, world oil markets, and his entire legislative agenda on spreading democracy throughout the Middle East, well beyond the wildest dreams of any European utopian.

If this idealism works, liberated Afghans, Iraqis, Iranians and others might see the U.S. as principled as Europe proved conniving in the days of Oil for Food and extracting oil concessions from Saddam. America, in other words, is learning far more about soft power than the still disarmed Europeans have about hard power. The USS Abraham Lincoln and its supporting flotilla, not the EU minifleet, did the heavy lifting after the tsunami.

If the Europeans lack both hard and soft power, where does that leave them? VDH notes the problems with sclerotic bureaucracies, high unemployment, aging populations, muslim immigation, etc., etc. Europe could end up joining the third world, which would be a very bad thing. Under such circumstances, one can see the US needing to save them from themselves yet again, which is perhaps one of the best arguments for maintaining US troops in Europe. It’s a must read.


Written by martinipundit

February 28, 2005 at 10:50 am

Posted in GWOT

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