(By Ray D.)
They just can’t get over it. They can’t live it down. Being labeled “old Europe” by Donald Rumsfeld was so profoundly insulting that the German media continues to repeatedly carp about it years after it happened. The latest example is a SPIEGEL ONLINE article entitled “Rice Asks the ‘Old Europeans’ for a New Beginning.”
Excuse me, but might this be an indication that Germans are just a tiny bit insecure? Could it be that America's Euro "allies" are a bit hyper-sensitive? Or is this a sign of the deep-seated anti-Americanism that has sadly become a staple of German political life?
Yeah, it is perfectly fine to insult Bush thousands of times in the most tasteless ways imaginable...but the Americans had better NOT DARE call Germany and France "old Europe." That simply cannot be forgotten or forgiven. NEVER!
Let's also not forget: It was the German Justice Minister who compared
George W. Bush’s “methods” to those of Hitler just three days before German
national elections…and the episode has been all but forgotten in the US. Let’s
ask ourselves what is worse: Calling someone’s continent “old” or comparing
their leader’s methods to those of Hitler? The Americans are ready to move on
and look to the future…apparently the German media is not. They’ve profited
enormously from anti-Bush, anti-American publications for the past three
years…so why stop raking in the money now? The same goes for the Schroeder government. They've profited enormously from exploiting anti-American sentiments...so why stop raking in the political profit now?
In all of this, it might be useful to re-examine Rumsfeld’s actual comments. What is at the root of all this unending anger?:
Q: Sir, a question about the mood among European allies. You were talking about the Islamic world a second ago. But now the European allies. If you look at, for example, France, Germany, also a lot of people in my own country -- I'm from Dutch public TV, by the way -- it seems that a lot of Europeans rather give the benefit of the doubt to Saddam Hussein than President George Bush. These are U.S. allies. What do you make of that?
Rumsfeld: Well, it's -- what do I make of it?
Q: They have no clerics. They have no Muslim clerics there.
Rumsfeld: Are you helping me? (Laughter.) Do you think I need help? (Laughter.)
What do I think about it? Well, there isn't anyone alive who wouldn't prefer unanimity. I mean, you just always would like everyone to stand up and say, Way to go! That's the right to do, United States.
Now, we rarely find unanimity in the world. I was ambassador to NATO, and I -- when we would go in and make a proposal, there wouldn't be unanimity. There wouldn't even be understanding. And we'd have to be persuasive. We'd have to show reasons. We'd have to -- have to give rationales. We'd have to show facts. And, by golly, I found that Europe on any major issue is given -- if there's leadership and if you're right, and if your facts are persuasive, Europe responds. And they always have.
Now, you're thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don't. I think that's old Europe. If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the center of gravity is shifting to the east. And there are a lot of new members. And if you just take the list of all the members of NATO and all of those who have been invited in recently -- what is it? Twenty-six, something like that? -- you're right. Germany has been a problem, and France has been a problem.
Q: But opinion polls --
Rumsfeld: But -- just a minute. Just a minute. But you look at vast numbers of other countries in Europe. They're not with France and Germany on this, they're with the United States."
That's it folks. That is the source of all of the smoldering outrage, enmity and disgust that has been simmering for years now in Euro-snob country. Rumsfeld dared to question German and French hegemony on the continent. Rumsfeld dared to point out that there might actually be European nations with different opinions than those of Germany and France. Rumsfeld dared to suggest that Germany and France did not have a monopoly on the concept of multilateralism. How could he!