Good cop, bad cop, no cop

This condescending piece by Timothy Garton Ash commends Condoleezza Rice for her “impressive charm offensive” in Europe but doubts that “the transatlantic honeymoon” will last long. Ash commends Rice for “presenting a more elegant face, [speaking] a more nuanced language, and play[ing] a sweeter mood music than those who most European have come to associate with the Bush administration over the past four years.” And he praises her for, in effect, growing in office — from a realist who emphasized military power and the hard-nosed pursuit of national interests, to a believer in the power of ideas, specifically the idea of freedom. But Ash remains pessimistic about the future of U.S. relations with Europe because he doubts that President Bush can credibly deliver Rice’s message to the Europeans.
Ash is correct that there will be no extended transatlantic honeymoon. But the reason isn’t President Bush’s failure to measure up to Secretary Rice. The reason is that the Europeans have no desire to attempt to address terrorism by promoting freedom. In that sense, they hold “realist” views similar to those that Ash praises Rice for abandoning. The main difference is that, where Rice emphasized the hard-nosed pursuit of national interests through military power, the Europeans seek to protect their interests through words.

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