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Europe's Obama craze cools

Gavin Hewitt | 11:15 UK time, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Barack Obama, 19 Jan 10Inauguration day last year broke cold. Way before dawn there were thousands on the streets, huddled in blankets like homeless people.

The cold was biting, but they would not be deterred - they wanted a vantage point on history. Many were African Americans who could scarcely believe that the day had come when a black man was occupying the White House. I found others, too, from across the globe, drawn there by the belief that America could be different, that under Barack Obama it would live up to its high ideals.

It was inevitable that disappointment would follow. Such is the reality of power. The Europeans had fallen for Obama. It was partly because he was not George Bush. It was also because they wanted America to be a place that fitted their dreams.

Earlier, in 2008, I had stood in the Tiergarten in Berlin and watched tens of thousands of Germans listen to a man who was still only a candidate. For Obama it was a rather leaden speech, too draped in history to inspire the crowd. But later that night there were still people waiting outside his hotel for a glimpse of a man they wanted to be Kennedy. To many Europeans Obama was full of possibility.

The French too had swooned. They loved Obama's style; his youth, his elegance, his mixed background. I remember watchingwhen Obama first visited the Elysee Palace. Sarkozy was left standing on the steps for a good seven or eight minutes while the Obama motorcade threaded its way towards them. The president of France would have done it for few other leaders.

France and Germany. In the poisonous build-up towards the war in Iraq, they had become the "weasels". I recall opening a paper in New York and seeing that the faces of the French and German ministers at the UN had been replaced with those of weasels. Donald Rumsfeld famously sneered at "old Europe".

So a year ago a new dawn broke. Almost immediately Europe nominated Obama for a peace prize. It was a gift for good intentions.

Yet shortly after that Europe experienced Obama's detached cool. There was no rush to get European leaders to the White House. They were vying with each other for an invite, but Obama's world view was not Europe-centred.

In April 2009 the American president came to Prague, at the heart of Europe. It was a message of co-operation. "We affirm our shared values, which are stronger than any force that could drive us apart." Co-operation had to be shared with other nations and institutions. Europeans had hankered after this.

Then Obama offered the dream of a world free of nuclear weapons. He spoke of America's commitment "to seek peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons".

And then reality set in. The nuclear-free world remains but a dream. Afghanistan was going badly. President Obama faced a painful choice: to commit more troops or to scale back. While he agonised, Europe waited. When the American administration finally backed a surge of troops, Europe hesitated. Sure, countries like Italy stepped up. Others made a gesture because they did not want to alienate Obama, but the French and Germans have still to decide what they will do. To some Europeans the Obama world came to resemble much of what went before.

And then there was Copenhagen. Europeans believed they had set the agenda, they had been out in front over climate change. However, in the chaos of the conference they saw Obama do a deal with the Chinese and other emerging "giants". Europe was marginalised and felt excluded.

And the struggle against extremism did not disappear with the demise of a Republican president. President Obama's rhetoric was different, but fighting terrorism was as challenging as ever. Guantanamo Bay remained open. There was no sign that Islamists were in retreat.

Some Europeans had hoped for a breakthrough in the Middle East. It has not happened. The president criticised the Israelis, but they continued building in East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank.

The president offered to speak to Iran. The Europeans liked that, but it has not delivered results.

So the love affair has cooled, but it is not over. Europeans like Obama's belief in consultation, in working with allies. His multilateral approach is popular. It remains true that most European leaders still want to be photographed with the president, but underlying everything is a basic reality: residents of the White House have to protect American interests first - and that did not change a year ago.

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  • 1. At 12:33pm on 20 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    "Inauguration day last year broke cold. Way before dawn there were thousands on the streets, huddled in blankets like homeless people."

    Hmm, "homeless people?" Interesting way you choose to describe them considering the topic.

    "The cold was biting, but they would not be deterred - they wanted a vantage point on history. Many were African Americans who could scarcely believe that the day had come when a black man was occupying the White House. I found others, too, from across the globe, drawn there by the belief that America could be different, that under Barack Obama it would live up to its high ideals."

    Lets face it, when you refer to "across the globe" you are referring to people from European countries, who like to refer to themselves as the voice of the world when it comes to criticizing America. It's an attempt to add weight and fresh air to something old and rotten.

    "It was inevitable that disappointment would follow. Such is the reality of power. The Europeans had fallen for Obama. It was partly because he was not George Bush. It was also because they wanted America to be a place that fitted their dreams."

    No, certain people from European countries "had fallen for Obama." There is no such thing as a European because there is no such thing as a country called Europe or a European culture.

    You are right in that they "wanted America to be a place that fitted their dreams," as if somehow they should have a say in how Americans choose to run their own country. God forbid that they should respect the right of a people to decide how to run their own country.

    "Earlier, in 2008, I had stood in the Tiergarten in Berlin and watched tens of thousands of Germans listen to a man who was still only a candidate. For Obama it was a rather leaden speech, too draped in history to inspire the crowd. But later that night there were still people waiting outside his hotel for a glimpse of a man they wanted to be Kennedy. To many Europeans Obama was full of possibility."

    No, "to many Europeans" he represented someone that would acquiesce to European views and demands.

    "The French too had swooned. They loved Obama's style; his youth, his elegance, his mixed background."

    His "mixed background?" Isn't France the European country that has major issues with blacks not getting equal treatment and rights?

    "I remember watchingwhen Obama first visited the Elysee Palace. Sarkozy was left standing on the steps for a good seven or eight minutes while the Obama motorcade threaded its way towards them. The president of France would have done it for few other leaders."

    Maybe he simply didn't realize it would take so long?

    "France and Germany. In the poisonous build-up towards the war in Iraq, they had become the "weasels". I recall opening a paper in New York and seeing that the faces of the French and German ministers at the UN had been replaced with those of weasels. Donald Rumsfeld famously sneered at "old Europe"."

    Yep, and Bush and his people were seen as Nazis by Germany's leadership while the French ..... Well, do I really need to go into what the French did?

    True allies of America simply and respectfully declined to participate without having to be hostile and betraying.

    "So a year ago a new dawn broke.

    And the angels in heaven began to sing.

    "Almost immediately Europe nominated Obama for a peace prize. It was a gift for good intentions.""

    Which along with Gore's nomination went to show how worthless such a prize is.

    "Yet shortly after that Europe experienced Obama's detached cool. There was no rush to get European leaders to the White House. They were vying with each other for an invite, but Obama's world view was not Europe-centred."

    There may be hope yet.

    "In April 2009 the American president came to Prague, at the heart of Europe. It was a message of co-operation. "We affirm our shared values, which are stronger than any force that could drive us apart." Co-operation had to be shared with other nations and institutions. Europeans had hankered after this."

    People from European countries only wanted a reduction of American power and influence. At least have the guts to say the truth.

    "Then Obama offered the dream of a world free of nuclear weapons. He spoke of America's commitment "to seek peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons"."

    Why would any rational personal actually believe that on such an important issue that he would have the final say on such a matter?

    "And then reality set in. The nuclear-free world remains but a dream."

    It's a "dream" that they be kept out of the hands of tyrants and dictators, those that persecute, imprison and murder their own people.

    "Afghanistan was going badly."

    So said the left wing anti-war media, including the BBC.

    "President Obama faced a painful choice: to commit more troops or to scale back. While he agonised, Europe waited."

    European countries are good at that.

    "When the American administration finally backed a surge of troops, Europe hesitated."

    European countries are also good at that.

    "Sure, countries like Italy stepped up. Others made a gesture because they did not want to alienate Obama, but the French and Germans have still to decide what they will do."

    See what I mean?

    "To some Europeans the Obama world came to resemble much of what went before."

    They need to wake up and step into the real world.

    "And then there was Copenhagen. Europeans believed they had set the agenda, they had been out in front over climate change."

    What "climate change" is that? You mean that so-called theory from all those so-called scientists that did their best to hide and manipulate climate change studies? Right.

    "However, in the chaos of the conference they saw Obama do a deal with the Chinese and other emerging "giants". Europe was marginalised and felt excluded."

    Once again, Europe is not a country!

    "And the struggle against extremism did not disappear with the demise of a Republican president."

    So Bush as a "republican president" in a free and democratic country was an extremist? Interesting. How do feel about those running China and Cuba and other communist countries where people are persecuted, imprisoned and murdered for expressing their opinions?

    And all the countries that supported Bush in the war, and there were quite the many, including in Europe, whether certain European countries liked it or not, were they being run by extremists too?

    "President Obama's rhetoric was different, but fighting terrorism was as challenging as ever. Guantanamo Bay remained open. There was no sign that Islamists were in retreat."

    The "Islamists," as you so incorrectly refer to them, as that is disrespectful to those actually practicing Islam without hurting anyone, have been in "retreat" since the start of the war. It is why most now reside in Pakistan.

    Guantanamo should remain open and those prisoners should be tried under military law as all American military members are if they break the law.

    "Some Europeans had hoped for a breakthrough in the Middle East. It has not happened. The president criticised the Israelis, but they continued building in East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank."

    Let those so-called Europeans create the "breakthrough" themselves, if they can.

    "The president offered to speak to Iran. The Europeans liked that, but it has not delivered results."

    Of course they did since it is always easier to show weakness than it is to show strength.

    "So the love affair has cooled, but it is not over. Europeans like Obama's belief in consultation, in working with allies. His multilateral approach is popular. It remains true that most European leaders still want to be photographed with the president, but underlying everything is a basic reality: residents of the White House have to protect American interests first - and that did not change a year ago."

    A reality that in the end will never change. Thank God.



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  • 2. At 12:36pm on 20 Jan 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    I for one cannot wait for Marcus to comment.

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  • 3. At 12:38pm on 20 Jan 2010, Freeman wrote:

    I know it is frightfully bad form to say "I told you so"...

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  • 4. At 12:38pm on 20 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    I don't see any point of argument in this article. What are we supposed to discuss? Everything you said was correct. Europe needs to get its act together in order to be taken seriously. Everyone (except some contributors here and their likes) knows. Even European heads of government know. Its not Obama's fault. At all.

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  • 5. At 12:44pm on 20 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The desire to see what you want to see, to read into what you see and hear what you want to make of it instead of what is actually there plain as day in front of you, the refusal to see clearly but to instead imagine it is something else results in shattered illusions and buyers remorse every time. Santa didn't bring you that new sleigh last year, it was a lump of coal you wanted to be a sleigh. Now that the ribbons and wrapping paper are gone and it won't take you for a joyride but just sits there, the painful truth of it can't be avoided any longer. If you didn't listen to what he said, all of it, didn't watch what he did, judge him and his actions critically, made him into something in your mind he just wasn't, you have nobody but yourself to blame. That being said, his opponent in the election was hardly any better, just different. John McCain no more had the answers to our problems than Obama did. The bloom is off the rose and now we have just the thorns. I told you so all along, he's no messiah. And by the way, he is not a European, he's as American as all of the others and will not kowtow to Europe's petty self serving demands. He may be weak but he is not stupid and he is not a traitor. He's the President of the United States, not of the world, bribes from the Nobel Committee in Stockholm notwithstanding. Do you like it when he sugar coats telling Europe to go to hell any more than when President Bush said it without the sugar?

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  • 6. At 1:13pm on 20 Jan 2010, I am not a number wrote:

    AllenT2 wrote: "True allies of America simply and respectfully declined to participate without having to be hostile"

    I'm guessing this doesn't apply the other way around? It's okay for the Americans to be hostile towards allies when they don't agree on an action. Resulting in name changing absurdity such as freedom fries or freedom toast or actions which are laughable: buying champagne or French wine (or is that freedom wine?) and throwing it in the gutter. ;-)

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  • 7. At 1:40pm on 20 Jan 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    And then of course , there is his desire to get Turkey into the "EU". He should try opening the border to Mexico and see how he like s it.

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  • 8. At 1:42pm on 20 Jan 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    And then thee is his attempt to change Tory Party policy on the "EU", possibly with some success.

    He should have been telling the "EU" to give us the referendum we were promised.

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  • 9. At 1:52pm on 20 Jan 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    4. At 12:38pm on 20 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    " ... Europe needs to get its act together in order to be taken seriously. Everyone (except some contributors here and their likes) knows. ..."

    EUpris: Re: "Everyone (except some contributors here and their likes) knows." Would that be everyone except the majority? Would that be everyone except the 82% of Brits and the 77% of Germans who wanted a referendum on the Lisbon Rubbish? And of course the majority of people in your home country i.e. Austria , and probably the majority of people in the "EU" as a whole.

    Opponents of the "EU"-Dictatorship need to get their act together and deal with this rubbish using peaceful means before others deal with it using violence.

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  • 10. At 2:46pm on 20 Jan 2010, Freeman wrote:

    I am still confused why anyone thought he was anything other than another politician...

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  • 11. At 3:03pm on 20 Jan 2010, DiscoStu_d wrote:

    Marcus you are correct about the veneer/facade of Obama but the europeans weren't the only ones star-struck. He was hailed as the Messiah in the States as well despite being a political lightweight. Many Americans were charmed and hopeful – and remain so but realize he inherited an overflowing banquet of aggravation and dealing with it was certainly going to annoy some quarters and hasten the return to reality. But he is far from sunk. Congress may change hands in Nov but that is democracy in action. (not Swiss style, mind you, but who can compare with them?)


    Euprisoner: Yes, the US should remain silent over Turkey and the EU. GWB was told to shut up over this and Obama should as well. I can see Leopoldsberg from my grandmothers home in Vienna and believe Turkey should remain outside.


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  • 12. At 3:25pm on 20 Jan 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #11. DiscoStu_d wrote:

    "Marcus..." beware of the Barbarian (with his/her two rottweilers) has in past said he/she does not vote, and yet he/she has also denied being a neocon.

    All politicians offer more than they can deliver and with the Senate now able to block Obama there is little hope for much progress on such vital issues as the health of 50 million US citizens. Perhaps Obama will now concentrate of foreign policy as is usual for American Presidents in this situation!

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  • 13. At 3:29pm on 20 Jan 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Attitudes towards the US, and indeed many of the American opinions to 'Europe' (whatever that is) that we see here daily are typically caricatures that bear little relation to reality. Whether the US really is an untrammelled market economy or Americans really are dying on the streets without healthcare is of secondary importance, so long as such images can be deployed as a counter-example in domestic political discourse to secure public support for greater regulation or public services here. You will find criticism of American culture on the Continental right, but this image of an ugly America is almost of existential importance to the British and Continental left since the collapse of communism deprived them any coherent ideological underpinning. To this has been added the need of European federalists for a common enemy around which the non-existent European 'demos' might unite. For such people, George W. Bush became almost the devil incarnate; the very personification of their own aversion to 'feral capitalism' and 'unilaterlisism'.

    The concept that "my enemy's enemy is my friend" comes naturally to collectivists so Barack Obama became an almost a messiah like figure to the practitioners of the politics of class and Euro-nationalism. But Obama was only ever going to be able to offer Deliverance from Bush himself and not final victory for their own belief systems. The predicament facing all collectivist schools of politics is that the movement exists to overcome those outside the group, so the struggle must be permanent if the movement is not to render itself obsolete. Even with Obama in the White House, European federalists still need their foreign bogeyman; socialists still need their images of Wall Street excess and US citizens dying in misery without healthcare. So it was only a matter of time before the new messiah lost his Euro-halo and transatlantic sniping from the usual suspects was resumed.

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  • 14. At 4:08pm on 20 Jan 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    #5. MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "The desire to see what you want to see, to read into what you see and hear what you want to make of it instead of what is actually there plain as day in front of you, the refusal to see clearly but to instead imagine it is something else"

    Oh the sweet delicious irony.

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  • 15. At 4:32pm on 20 Jan 2010, Audrey13 wrote:

    Obama has good intentions, thinks about the impact of decisions on others & will have to make tough decisions as you cannot please everyone but I still believe in him. He inherited the worst economic position from the Republicans, the War from the Republicans, the poor world image of the US from the Republicans so really I don't know why the Republicans think they are better? They created this mess & he is having to clean it up. Of course 8 years of problems cannot be resolved in 1 or even 2 years - give him at least 3-4 years before making judgements. Why are people so scared of good health for all? It provides a better society & UK health service was one of the best until the Tory Govt under-invested in it & it has struggled but private care had not necessarily been good care, it has just been a bit more prompt to make you feel you were served! How sad that people do not look at the big picture or think forward for a better future for all, including our children. At least Obama accepts his responsibility, unlike the Republican Politicians, who just profited from the wars but never took responsibility for their actions which were hardly based on facts? creating an insecure world for everyone. Just remember that when discussing Obama (he inherited these problems, he did not create them)...

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  • 16. At 4:34pm on 20 Jan 2010, Wonthillian wrote:

    There are a lot of accusations of anti-Americanism flying around. I regularly meet Americans, both in business and socially and get on with them fine. I normally meet them on European soil, so they may have a broader perspective than some of their non-passport-carrying compatriots. What may instil a sense of anti-Americanism in some Europeans is the attitude that comes across from some, maybe a minority, of the US contributors to blogs such as this one. I used to think that these people weren’t for real, that they were actually some satirist's creation, but now I believe that some of them actually believe what they say, which is worrying for all of us. For all of us? Yes, if we get dragged into US neocon- provoked wars, or dragged down by the side-effects of US free-market capitalism, then what's decided in the USA affects all of us.
    Obama was welcomed by much of Europe for the same reason that he was given the Nobel peace prize – not because he'd actually achieved anything, but because he wasn't George W Bush. He still isn't George W Bush and for that reason alone I suspect he's still welcome in Europe.

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  • 17. At 4:40pm on 20 Jan 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    This is the day when the democratic party has lost its senator from Massachusetts. It means that pres. Obama will have very serious problems in getting his health care plan through the US congress. As everybody knows, USA have a health care system that is not near anything we know in western Europe, nonetheless his plan has been branded "socialism".

    The American president has a lot of unsolved problems. So far he has not been able to find solutions on the climate problem, or the wars his country is engaged in, or the conflicts in the Middle East.
    Through lies, manipulations and pressure, and with the assistance and possibly on the initiative of the British PM, his predecessor succeeded in getting a number of European countries into the whole mess of unsolved problems. It has only strengthened terrorism, surveillance, and other control mechanism in many countries, not to speak about the circus it is to take a plane and fly to the USA.

    Unemployment is rising in the USA, which have a tremendous debt. In China. Dollars is loosing its position as a currency. Attempts in the G8 group to get the finance sector regulated have been rejected by the two countries with the most hazardous sector, namely the USA and the UK. The consequence has been an economic crisis we have not seen since the WW2.

    It probably explains the journalism we are reading in this blog article. It is not getting us anywhere.

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  • 18. At 6:16pm on 20 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    It isn't just Europe catching and suffering from USA political-muscle wastage after the post-Obama election fever died down.

    'President Hilary Clinton!'

    Now, doesn't that after only a year have a very positive ring to it? Certainly an incumbent of the State Dept. in whom the USA and the World could/can place a great deal of credence in actually getting on with the tasks.
    A personality in her own right using the Presidency as the tool for logical, sensitive and pertinent short, medium and logterm goals: As opposed to all the fine rhetoric, refined style and almost no substance at all from the present Oval Office.

    It is not really Barack Obama's fault: I blame the US Citizens of 'Democrat' persuasion for falling for the 'breath of fresh air' sound-bites in the Presidential candidate nomination race. They were so desperate to believe anyone must be better than 'Dubya' they thought selecting a man of charm and good looks who also sounded 'Presidential' (so unlike 'Dubya'!) over the politically experienced and proven Mrs Clinton would be an okay thing to do.

    The trouble is the Oval Office is no place for an amateur even with all the grace of Mr Obama! The White House is only involved in realpolitik: It doesn't do small talk, beguiling innovations, all those downhome/backyard/homespun philosophies and quirks have long since lost their Truman-Eisenhower touch of decency.
    Now they are a liability: And, unfortunately for Europe and the World at large there is no greater liability than a President who doesn't have the background clout or basic political nouse/acumen for the job-in-hand.

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  • 19. At 6:28pm on 20 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "And then of course , there is his desire to get Turkey into the "EU". He should try opening the border to Mexico and see how he like s it."


    Well said!

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  • 20. At 6:33pm on 20 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    When will you stop complaining about "that referendum that was promised to you"? Why don't you welcome the Lisbon Treaty for its clause that allows countries to leave the Union? You should be happy!

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  • 21. At 6:35pm on 20 Jan 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Obama and the EU elites suit each other to a tee.

    Both full of 'good intentions' and pompous vapours.

    Luckily for the Americans, they can vote their empty suit out of office.

    How do I get rid of Rumpey?

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  • 22. At 6:36pm on 20 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Wontthrillya;

    "What may instil a sense of anti-Americanism in some Europeans is the attitude that comes across from some, maybe a minority, of the US contributors to blogs such as this one."

    NO! It comes from what we see and hear in the news, what has been live coverage of Europe. We saw lots of it around 2002, 2003 and even before the invasion of Iraq. We saw it when Gerhard Schroeder was running for office in Germany and was behind in the polls. We saw it when Chirac seeing how well the anti-American card played in Germany used it himself successfully in France. We saw the marches, the screaming in the streets, the results of opinion polls, and the venomous anti-American rhetoric that came out of the likes of de Villepin and Chirac. We saw 90% of the people in mainland Europe line up against America not only in Iraq but many regarding Afghanistan as well and 50% in the UK. We've seen it for a long time before that too such as when Europeans fell for Soviet propaganda and objected vehemently to the Pershing II missiles in Germany, nuclear submarines visiting Scotland. We saw the release of Megrahi as an anti-American act designed to anger us. Don't you think there was a reaction? You have no idea how much hatred there is for Europe in the United States right now. After the sacrifices America made for Europe, many Americans have written Europe off and do not regard their nations as friendly at all. There may only be a few who say it to Europe's face like me here but the seething rage is real, widespread, and will not go away. Were a disaster like the one that just befell Haiti to happen in Europe, I doubt that many Americans would really care very much or contribute much. We'd tell Europeans to take care of themselves for once. Europe has burned its bridge to America and it won't be rebuilt for a very long time if ever. There is nothing government can do about it either, this is about a people to people thing. Personally I boycott all European goods as much as possible. Many others I know do too.

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  • 23. At 6:45pm on 20 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Re #17

    Hmm, so is there anything not the fault of the USA aided and abetted by that nefarious, boot-licking UK!?

    Honestly, did you pause at all before writing such unsubstantiated dross?

    It is seldom one reads such a clear, sustained, prejudiced viewpoint by a European Citizen about another Nation.
    When the Danish Cartoonist drew those Cartoons of Muhammad was he also under the influence of US-UK? And the aggressive over-reaction of some of the followers of Islam, was that the fault of US-UK too?


    With 156+ Nations in the World is there any chance the USA/UK may not be arraigned and tried for causing the Haiti Earthquake as you seem to have judged and found them guilty on every other possible charge!?

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  • 24. At 6:49pm on 20 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Matty;

    "This is the day when the democratic party has lost its senator from Massachusetts."

    The Democratic Party doesn't have and never has had a sentator from Massachussets, the People of Massachussets have two senators who represent them in the United States Senate. They happened to have been in the Democratic party these last fifty odd years. This is what the Democrats forgot which in part explains why Coakley lost. They don't have Massachussets in their hip pocket the way they thought they did. Nobody has. American politics doesn't work that way.

    When you get past the charisma which is designed to hide the substance and are not seduced by personality, what you are left with in Barack Obama is a man who is very intelligent, likeable, had experience as a law journal editor, a community organizer, three undistinguished years in the Senate half of which time he was running for President, and a man who does not have the experience yet to be President, at least he didn't when he was elected. You also have a man who had access as a US Senator to every fact and opinion about the economy, the world, and everything in it known to the United States government. He went into this office with his eyes wide open. If he can't handle it, he shouldn't have run after it and he can't legitimately complain about it now. The Tony Blair gambit of "its the fault of the previous government under the party opposite" doesn't fly for very long here. He and the Democrats own it all now. It's their mess and they promised to clean it up when they were elected. We're still waiting.

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  • 25. At 6:50pm on 20 Jan 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Gavin, forgive me, but the abismal quality of this report when it comes to objectivity and fairness is utterly dismaying. You work for the BBC. The most prestigious, revered and respected news organization in the English speaking world. One that helped dissenters of Nazi Germany's occupation of Europe fight back through certain coded orders to action in its radio broadcasts for crying out loud!! You aught to be better than this! There is simply no excuse!!



    For example, "In the poisonous build-up towards the war in Iraq, they (France and Germany) had become the "weasels". I recall opening a paper in New York and seeing that the faces of the French and German ministers at the UN had been replaced with those of weasels. Donald Rumsfeld famously sneered at "old Europe"."

    And curiously, I notice, no reference to the undiplomatic, rude things that French and German citizens did to hurt and insult us. Of course, as one of the most powerful countries in the world, it is expected of us (and rightly so) to be the most responsible of the international comunity; to be the most mature. And the fact that we drew that cartoon, dubbed "french fries" "freedom fries," and poored out insanely good champagne just because it was made in France was utterly inexcusable. But that doesn't mean, that in retrospect of many years after the act, that it is ok for you to recall those misdeeds but not the ones committed by European countries. Because let me tell you, just because France and Germany weren't as powerful as us, doesn't mean in any way shape or form that their actions weren't just as offensive and stinging.

    "Yet shortly after that Europe experienced Obama's detached cool. There was no rush to get European leaders to the White House. They were vying with each other for an invite, but Obama's world view was not Europe-centred."

    Actually, if you'll recall, Obama had the prime minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown, over second only to Japan's prime minister. Now given Britain's rather tumultuous history with Europe (and the passionate debate over EU membership still going on) I'm not quite sure whether Brown necessarily counts as a "European leader?" But nevertheless, he was one of the first foreign leaders to visit the White House. And speaking of a "world view," I'd guess that the reason why Obama's isn't "Europe-centered" is because new powers are rising, and as a result the world is changing, and along with that all world leaders' "world views," not just Obama's. So Europe need not take it personally. But again, I notice here that you do not ask the same question of European leaders. Are European leaders' world views shifting away from being "America-centered?" If so, why? Is it because of the entirely inevitable and justifyable rise of China, Brazille and other such world powers? Or is it because of some other unfriendly, selfish reason as you imply here as the reason for Obama's shift?

    "In April 2009 the American president came to Prague, at the heart of Europe. It was a message of co-operation. "We affirm our shared values, which are stronger than any force that could drive us apart." Co-operation had to be shared with other nations and institutions. Europeans had hankered after this."

    As any self respecting American and true friend of Europe should, Republican and Democrat alike. Unfortunately, only one party does at the moment. Shame.

    "Then Obama offered the dream of a world free of nuclear weapons. He spoke of America's commitment "to seek peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons". And then reality set in. The nuclear-free world remains but a dream."

    Obama didn't, I'm pretty sure, intend to set a deadline for a nuclear-free world to exist, as if its health care reform or the closure of Guantanamo Bay. Those issues are complicated in and of themselves, but ridding the world of nuclear weapons is perhaps the single most complex problem in this world, and for Europeans not only to infer from Obama's speech that it can be done within a certain time frame when in fact he said no such thing, but to expect it to be done, much less heavy progress to have been made toward that end after less than a year is simply naivety at its finest. And then for them to be angry when their naive expectations don't come to fruition? There are no words.

    "Afghanistan was going badly. President Obama faced a painful choice: to commit more troops or to scale back. While he agonised, Europe waited. When the American administration finally backed a surge of troops, Europe hesitated. Sure, countries like Italy stepped up. Others made a gesture because they did not want to alienate Obama, but the French and Germans have still to decide what they will
    do."

    Which is why, perhaps you can understand, some Americans are a little iffy about having a "world view" that is "Europe-centered." Because they fear that no matter how much they may put Europe first, no matter how much they act like a true friend of Europe's, that at the end of the day, Europe will never return the favor.

    "To some Europeans the Obama world came to resemble much of what went before."

    Well then those Europeans are either 9/11 supporters or anti-American. Because as far as I know, Obama hasn't invaded a wholly innocent defenceless country on the false pretext of weapons of mass distruction in order to gain control of that country's oil since he's been in office, so call me a stupid yank, but I fail to see how Obama resembles Bush in this regard.

    "And then there was Copenhagen. Europeans believed they had set the agenda, they had been out in front over climate change. However, in the chaos of the conference they saw Obama do a deal with the Chinese and other emerging "giants". Europe was marginalised and felt excluded."

    Yes, I too agree that Obama should have made an attempt at including Europe in the discussions instead of simply making a deal with China and leaving. But you're making it sound as if he deliberately stole Europe's thunder in order to anger them, and that is simply not true. The conference was going nowhere. Officials were scurrying around like mice passing out drafts of communiques, only to be written and rewritten later. Everyone was talking as though if a deal weren't reached, that we would miss our chance to combat climate change and all we could do after that was to sit back and watch the earth stew to its death. In the face of that enormous pressure, Obama, the leader of the world's second largest emitter of green house gass emitions, did a deal with China, the world's largest emitter of green house gass emitions because it is easier to strike a compromise with one person in a hectic atmosphere than several people. So at least we - and the world - could say that the summit wasn't a total waste of time; that we didn't let our planet
    down; that human kind will survive another year. Now again, I agree that it was rude of him to not at least try to include Europe no matter how frantic things were, but face it. If it weren't for that deal with China, the world would have been lambasting us for neglecting the earth and denying that climate change is real just like Bush did for 7 years.

    "And the struggle against extremism did not disappear with the demise of a Republican president. President Obama's rhetoric was different, but fighting terrorism was as challenging as ever."

    The first duty of any government is to keep its citizens safe. What makes Europeans think that this is, or should be, different for America no matter what party occupies the White House? Who wouldn't desire the safety of their fellow man?

    "Guantanamo Bay remained open. There was no sign that Islamists were in retreat."

    Guantanamo Bay is fraught with legal hurtles, both constitutionally and internationally. Plus there's the issue of where to send the innocent (but somewhat dangerous) prisoners, something which, ironically, European countries haven't exactly been jumping up and down offering to do. Islamists hate the values and ideals of certain societies, not their leaders. They don't differenciate (when it comes to America, for instance) between Republican and Democrat, so its hardly surprising that they still exist with a Democratic presidency.

    "Some Europeans had hoped for a breakthrough in the Middle East. It has not happened. The president criticised the Israelis, but they continued building in East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank."

    That's because his criticisms weren't backed up with a threat of some kind of action that Isrial wouldn't like. But again, very complicated issue. Naive to think that it can be solved in a year.

    "The president offered to speak to Iran. The Europeans liked that, but it has not delivered results."

    More Iran's fault than America's, I'd say. Obama made the first move toward reconciliation, now its Iran's turn. For example, a marrige on the virge of collapse won't be repaired if only one partner offers to do the hard work in order to reconcile and the other remains as cold and distant as ever.

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  • 26. At 6:55pm on 20 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MAII

    Re #24

    Nice one!

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  • 27. At 7:00pm on 20 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Gheryando

    Re #19 and #20

    Apologies, but confusion on my part: Am I reading those 2 short entries correctly?
    Do they imply, you oppose Turkish membership of the EU, and, if Turkey succeeds in gaining Membership of the EU, will you be pressing for your Nation's withdrawal?

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  • 28. At 7:01pm on 20 Jan 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Gavin: "Underlying everything is a basic reality: residents of the White House have to protect American interests first - and that did not change a year ago."

    As do residents of NO 10, the Elise palace, and every other world leader's place of occupency. For anyone to think otherwise is simply foolish. If the president doesn't protect our interests, who will? If the prime minister doesn't protect Britain's interests, who will? Its the way the world works.

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  • 29. At 7:13pm on 20 Jan 2010, ClassValedictorian wrote:

    I have always viewed Europe as something of a "neccessary evil" -as the old people say. We're not particularly fond of them and they aren't particularly fond of us but when the shit hits the fan, we share the same wants, needs, and aspirations so typical of western society and if one of us fails, so too will the other.

    Right now, European member states have dire priorities which include amoung others: the plumitting birthrate, very high levels of immigration, a dangerous rise in violent crime, radical islamists who hate your society living amongst you, and Russia sneering at every move Europe makes. The fact that they control your gas doesn't help the situation much either. In short, Europe's priorities are so imposing that they really can't afford to be destracted by America's adventures abroad.

    On the other hand, America seems to be just the opposite. We never have cared much about people over here. Preservation of Civilization is an almost unheard of term. If you work hard then you survive, if not then you go hungry, unhealthy and uneducated. It's that simple. Each for his own and every man for himself. So our priorities focus on pretty much everything the EU states don't focus on.

    We're not completely adverse though. The Marshall plan helped greatly to rebuild Europe after WWII. Alliances forged in that time have helped during the Cold War to expand civil rights, democracy, and personal liberty on a scale never seen before. NATO has allowed us to watch each other's back, even if it is us who are on the offensive. Together we have built the International Space Station, widely regarded as the most impressive engineering masterpiece of our time.

    America exists because of Europe and Europe is free and prosperous because of America. We've become like conjoined twins that share the same sexual organs but one is straight and the other is gay (I know that's a really bad analogy, but come on...it's fitting). I don't expect Europe to adore President Obama or tag along like a lackey, but I don't expect NATO members to back out on our alliance either. Nor do I expect America to make important decisions unilaterally in the future without consulting our allies first. But through all our discontent with each other, I think it's safe to say that America's best interests always lie with Europe. After all, the only countries in the world that we can truly call "friendly countries" are the European countries.

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  • 30. At 7:29pm on 20 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    PursuitofLove

    Re #25 and #28

    The BBC and 'quality' journalism!

    In 1945 Richard Dimbleby broadcast live from Belsen Concentration Camp: My father was present at that time and over a few subsequent days (a British Army lorry driver with a Signals Unit).
    In later years though he often refused to speak of such things, dad di tell us of how Dimbleby in a private moment cried with some of the 'tommies' at the conditions they were witnessing.

    From Dimbleby at Belsen to the BBC of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand! You may not have heard of them, but suffice to say, any idea you may have had that the modern BBC is connected to, represents or upholds the finest traditions of UK Journalism as in the 'old Europe' British Broadcasting Corporation is sadly, completely wide of the mark.

    In my view Mr Hewitt is one of the better ones in this modern, but hardly modest facsimile of a BBC bringing the news to the public: So, if he's one of the best, you are right to worry for much that is around him!

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  • 31. At 7:53pm on 20 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    CWB

    Yes to your two questions in 27.

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  • 32. At 8:00pm on 20 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    I liked Mark. He seemed to be truly "engaged". I guess its because its the beginning and Gavin needs to get a "feel" for it.

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  • 33. At 8:35pm on 20 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    I liks Europe, Europe likes the USA. All this "telling the other one off" is merely disregarding the feelings of everyday intelligent people..like Gheryando.

    Why bother? Seriously, is it really fun to get our knives out and go for others throats?

    For that, I can go to the Guardian site (where the comments are "nutty") and just not respond, because I haven't signed up--too difficult and ..umm scary)

    Hmmmm, I think I will, wow ..here comes some fun, now:)

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  • 34. At 8:36pm on 20 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    Btw, Mathiesen,

    good post.:)

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  • 35. At 9:40pm on 20 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    Here is a nice American song to cheer us up:)

    What a lovely night
    I feel so fresh and alive,
    It's all so grand,
    Now its easy to see that you
    don't need a palace
    to feel like ..

    where have I been all these years
    listen, please, come on and tell me, ..
    ... how long has this (good writing)
    been going on?

    It goes on but ..hey it's kind of a tribute to the literature I do read here. And, its close TO Literature..many, MANY times:)

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  • 36. At 9:51pm on 20 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Class InValid;

    "On the other hand, America seems to be just the opposite. We never have cared much about people over here."

    Oh really? Ever hear of No Child Left Behind, Food Stamps, SSI, Welfare, Americans with Disabilities Act, Medicaid, not to mention a million charities. More money goes to the needy from private voluntary donations than from the huge government expenditures. More aid is given to the needy outside our own country by Americans in the from of private voluntary donations than all of the rest of the world combined by far. Bill Gates alone has probably given more for some purposes like help to some countries in Africa than entire wealthy nations in Europe and he's only one example. Who has sent the most and the fastest aid to Haiti? Which country is bearing the brunt of the cost and the effort both with public and private money? Who always does...and who just mostly talks and when they act just send a few high profile projects?

    Show me one country in Europe which has demonstrated anything remotely resembling the change just one law, "The Americans with Disabilities Act" alone brought about for people with handicaps in their own country. Or are you unaware that virtually every place of public accomodation in America must make provisions for them?

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  • 37. At 10:18pm on 20 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mavrelius I think on Haiti it's too early to join it in the list of your recognised by all achievements. I would hold on with that until the dust settles down.

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  • 38. At 11:02pm on 20 Jan 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #24. Maximus Barbarius wrote:

    "... a senator from Massachussets..."

    I remember walking through the streets (or rather being shown round his home town by a former Mayor (of Boston) We had lunch at the Parker House (I paid) and we discussed democratic politics for perhaps half a day. He was a friend of Joe Kennedy's whole clan and knew everyone and everyone knew him. (It was only after I left Boston that I noticed, when glancing at a map, a freeway named after him.) When we walked together through his home town many people came up to him and shook his hand and seemed genuinely glad to see him.

    His was the old school Democratic party that had already died out 20 years ago and my guess is that the new democrats have entirely lost their connection to the people - certainly that is how their candidate seemed to me. (I found the Republican winner really quite frightening and even more so the dominant figure of the woman standing by him who I take to be his wife - she seemed to be in possession - such a brightly coloured frock!)

    The point I am working towards is that the dynastic role of the Kennedy clan and their coterie had to come to an end as all things do and I wonder if this too did not play its part in the loss of the seat. People who bother to vote (unlike Maximus Barbarius) do get a little fed up by being expected to vote for the same ruling clan for 50 years or more. I also note the prominence on the front page of today's Boston Globe of similar explanations. I am now however a long way in time and distance from Boston.

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  • 39. At 00:14am on 21 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Henpecked in Hell hath no fury;

    "When we walked together through his home town many people came up to him and shook his hand and seemed genuinely glad to see him."

    These must have been his friends. The ones whom his administration gave construction contracts, trash collection contracts, and other business to, perhaps to build that underground bypass that took 20 years to complete. Or perhaps they were grateful for other favors. Politics has a funny way of being that way, especially local politics where certain officials have control over large amounts of money to spread around. This is money received as donations to their campaigns from their supporters and donations to the city coffers from the taxpayers.

    I'm sure the Boston Globe and all other partisans will find countless excuses for why Coakley lost the election, anything but the truth. And what is the truth? She was a smug arrogant politician who took the voters for granted and represents an administration that has recently descended from generating grave disappointment among the electorate to generating real anger instead. America is becoming fed up with Barack Obama. Many are waking up to the fact that they bought a pig in a poke when they elected him. And by the way, not voting is the way you vote no to all candidates by witholding your endorsement. In some places like Iraq under Saddam Hussein, not voting could be a crime punishable by imprisonment or worse. The right not to vote is as important as the right to vote. Anyway, your leader is the Queen. You get no say in that whether you like it or not...unless you decide to leave the UK the way 10% of the population has already.

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  • 40. At 01:16am on 21 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    I'm sure the Senator will be good. His alma mater certainly is :)

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  • 41. At 02:19am on 21 Jan 2010, Maria Ashot wrote:

    He is still not George Bush -- thank God.

    As for "America's interests": with the one obvious exception of Haiti relief, I doubt many Americans have any kind of clear understanding of where America's best interests really lie, anymore.

    I suspect President Obama may by now know -- certainly he knows more than he did 366 days ago, and he is intelligent enough to learn quickly -- but he does not have a great deal of freedom or discretion to act according to his own understanding of things. Except in the most obvious cases, again: Haiti, security threats.

    Even there, he catches flak. Why? Because his positions have been compromised in some way?

    No. Because too many Americans, in extremely challenging times (economically challenging above all, thanks to Bush-Cheney above all), are much more disoriented than they have been for many decades, when it comes to making up their minds as to how to go forward.

    They are almost paralysed with ambivalence & inner turmoil.

    That state of affairs should not only alarm Europe, but also encourage Europe.

    To act wisely -- in your own interests -- it would be best to stop thinking of relations with other countries as "love affairs." Love affairs are generally messy, fluid, exhausting, disruptive & ultimately inscrutable even to the parties involved.

    Much better to have a fast friendship, or a kinship bond, or even a straightforward & productive collaborative alliance (as in an excellent stage ensemble, or orchestra, or football team) than an all-out "love affair" -- especially when there is such a huge difference in age, interests, attitudes and beliefs, as exists between Europe & the New World.

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  • 42. At 02:48am on 21 Jan 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    20. At 6:33pm on 20 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "When will you stop complaining about "that referendum that was promised to you"? Why don't you welcome the Lisbon Treaty for its clause that allows countries to leave the Union? You should be happy! "

    EUprisoner: Re: 20. At 6:33pm on 20 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    'When will you stop complaining about "that referendum that was promised to you"? '

    EUprisoner: Like, never man!


    Gheryndo: 20. At 6:33pm on 20 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    ' Why don't you welcome the Lisbon Treaty for its clause that allows countries to leave the Union? '

    EUprisoner: Because we could leave anyway without that piece of paper.




    Why don't you welcome the Lisbon Treaty for its clause that allows countries to leave the Union? You should be happy!

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  • 43. At 02:49am on 21 Jan 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    32. At 8:00pm on 20 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "I liked Mark. He seemed to be truly "engaged". I guess its because its the beginning and Gavin needs to get a "feel" for it."

    EUprisoner: You like Mark because he had a pro-"EU" bias.

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  • 44. At 02:52am on 21 Jan 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    31. At 7:53pm on 20 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "CWB

    Yes to your two questions in 27. "

    EUprisoner: Which nation do you mean? Austria or Italy or both?

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  • 45. At 02:59am on 21 Jan 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    "Spain aims to boost EU gender equality "


    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8469654.stm

    I suppose that means that whether you are male or female and live in Gibraltar they wouldn't give you a vote over becoming part of Spain because whether you are male or female they don't give a damn about your right of self-determination.

    Similarly about our right here in the UK to have the referendum we were promised on the Lisbon Treachery.

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  • 46. At 04:36am on 21 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Maria Ashot #41;

    If your love affairs result in exhausting messy fluids, could you please keep your personal life to yourself. We are discussing politics here.

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  • 47. At 05:37am on 21 Jan 2010, rushbabe wrote:

    What an education, and I thank you all.

    But you must stop saying "democratic" for "democrat": Kennedy was a democrat senator. Obama is a democrat president. And it is true that American scorn for Europe is ripe: what did that Messiah give you all for gifts, please remember? While returning a bust of Churchill, a gift of the British people to America? An ipod recording of his speeches (to put the Queen to sleep), unfortunately formated DVDs, gifts from the WH gift shop? Hmm?

    Obama has no regard for you. Or me, or mine. Another revolution is on the back burner; a core American rejection of a present socialist thrust into the psyche of an unusual, and uniquely positioned people to choose freedom and liberty for all, thus set a global standard for every ornery minded person who knows what they know because they know it.

    Like, that racial profiling is a damn good idea?

    As a woman on the street, I tell you disgust for this Mistake is rampant. America is taking another long look, and we don't like what we did.

    "We aren't racist, okay now??"

    Tired of kissing ass. Saved your ass, bought your ass, put your ass back together. Kissing ass now - sorry about the champagne - but we are tired of you (the non-existant country of "Europe") telling us who we have to be because we, your mongrel offspring, are more of what all of Europe together ought to be and never can be. And we hate Obama's health care and his government intrusion and his betrayal of our constitution and the idea of what America is to Mom and Apple Pie, and we don't give a rat's ass that you don't like that. Because you never really got it in the first place. And you can stand there all you want and rant against us, not like us, reject us, love the man we reject, even say his wife wears lovely garments, and we still stand by the fact that back in 1776 we rejected you, kingship, mob rule, and classism.

    America is going to hand Barak Hussein Obama back to Chicago, in 2012. Before that, all his democrat supporters are going to be sent back to find nice desk jobs in the corporations they undermined. The United States of America is a conservative nation, tolerant, but firm in conviction that we know what we know because we know it. Show me another people doing that in these times, while giving beyond measure from our pockets, our blood our liberty away - giving it away. Show me an elitist slob, and I will point out the anti-thesis to what America means. Let that elitist, educated slob open his mouth. Try to wrap his warped, redundant, resplendent, objectifying, endless pacifications around the politically correct tongue of his socialist puppeteers, and I will show you a soldier sick of himself. Kind of like the obvious Hewitt.

    And that's all I have to say about that.

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  • 48. At 09:38am on 21 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "EUprisoner: Like, never man!"

    Hahahaha!

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  • 49. At 10:18am on 21 Jan 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #39. Maximus Barbarius wrote:

    "And by the way, not voting is the way you vote no to all candidates by withholding your endorsement."

    Politics is the art of the possible. All ways of social organisation are corrupt, but that does not mean that one should stand on the sidelines and the the ba****ds who are currently in possession of the gravy train do exactly what they like - in fact that is exactly what they want you to do. By not participating at all you are just s responsible!

    "In some places like Iraq under Saddam Hussein, not voting could be a crime punishable by imprisonment or worse. The right not to vote is as important as the right to vote."

    In Australia you have to vote. - My opinion is that everyone should be actively persuaded to turn up and spend at least a small fraction of their life thinking about others. Your attitude is the epitome of selfishness. However I am not entirely against insisting that on every ballot there should not be a 'none of the above' option.

    "Anyway, your leader is the Queen."

    You do have a distorted view of the nature of a figurehead head of state. The monarchy ceased to be absolute from at least 1215. We have swapped them for a variety of, mainly foreign replacements, ever since - with a short period of puritan revolution when the incumbent got above himself and that axe always hangs over every incumbent. You have never managed to free yourself from your (over-powerful!) head of state - until you have done so please do not presume to lecture others.

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  • 50. At 10:30am on 21 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    I am not a number wrote: "I'm guessing this doesn't apply the other way around? It's okay for the Americans to be hostile towards allies when they don't agree on an action."

    Feel free to point out any hostilities and disrespect that America gave to any country that respectfully disagreed and chose not to participate in Iraq. Good luck.

    "Resulting in name changing absurdity such as freedom fries or freedom toast or actions which are laughable: buying champagne or French wine (or is that freedom wine?) and throwing it in the gutter. ;-)"

    The French have done and do much worse every day with their widespread, institutionalized and insidious anti-Americanism. No comparison at all.

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  • 51. At 11:54am on 21 Jan 2010, cping500 wrote:

    It is curious why a blog devoted to Europe should today attract so many contributions for another continent to a discussion on a forum entirely paid for by taxation, and indeed described by an US citizen who runs a rival, effectively foreign owned broadcaster, as 'state controlled'. But we should be welcoming and the box for donations is by the door.

    The USA has only been a real power on the World Stage since 1942 and FDR. Even after 1945 the US looked as though it would return to let us say a semi detached attitude. It took a determined British Trade Union Leader (who was a Government Minister at the time), and a East Coast Liberal to drag the US to take an interest in Europe and the World. It was touch an go as we say. Even now I doubt if the people of Nebraska or Montana or others in the heartland really approve.

    In return others are expect to love the USA. Any thing which is less that full support , any offer of friendly advice is treated as being, anti American. This is even understandable after the reassertion by the neo cons of America's Manifest Destiny to free the world for democracy and capitalism.

    But the USA's elective monarchy and its constitutional division of powers is no base for a World Leader. Margaret Thatcher or even Tony Blair would not have succeeded in making it work. A more modest ambition and less rhetoric is desirable.

    An I forgive you for failing to stop some of your citizens from financing the terrorists who blew up the centre of the city in which I live.

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  • 52. At 12:13pm on 21 Jan 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Gheryando wrote:
    "I liked Mark. He seemed to be truly "engaged". I guess its because its the beginning and Gavin needs to get a "feel" for it."

    I didn't like Mardell because I never met the man and don't know anything about him one way or the other.

    But he was a good journalist. He wrote interesting pieces about issues affecting Europe. He travelled around and took the job seriously.

    Hewitt, sadly, is an appalling journalist. This blog piece is yet another luke warm rehash of a non issue. Once again, Hewitt has written from his armchair at the BBC, and he has not even done it well.

    There are no facts here. There is no investigation of topical issues affecting European people. It is just chatter about politicians. It is very disappointing.

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  • 53. At 12:36pm on 21 Jan 2010, Freeman wrote:

    "Hewitt, sadly, is an appalling journalist."

    That seems a tad harsh DT. As I remember Mark got slated by some for reporting on people in Europe when the EU was on some inane or power grabbing matter (I forget as there is so much). Some people prefer to concentrate on the politicians and Brussels. Tastes vary.

    It would be nice to hear from the people of Europe again though and I agree Mr Hewitt needs to get out a bit more. Appalling is a still harsh though. Different. He is certainly more balanced than Mark Mardell (If he loves the EU then he is less obvious about it).

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  • 54. At 1:08pm on 21 Jan 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Democracythreat (52): There is no way you can describe Gavin Hewitt as an appalling journalist. He has been the main BBC man covering various disasters around the world from Hurricane Katrina to the Asian tsunami, one of the first to reach Gound Zero on 9/11, and the principle BBC reporter following the US election in 2008.

    Mathiason criticises Gavin for reporting Europe as it is, rather than as German wishful thinkers would like it to be. I would suggest that if he wants German wishful thinking dressed up as journalism then he can go to the Sued Deutsche Zeiting, Der Spiegel or Wolfgang Munchau's column in the FT instead. Gherando does not like any report that does not focus narrowly on Europe, and which might therefore show the EU is no longer necessary in the wider context of the emerging global economy and the spread of peaceful democratic nation-states worldwide. However i am not sure what your criticism is, as you seem to oscillate wildly between praise and damming criticism.

    I would suggest as a minimum that the last two blog posts on Haiti and European attitudes towards Obama have been very well written. They also bring Gavin's past journalistic experience to bear on the strange reaction we have seen in Brussels and Paris (and among some commentators here) who seem to think that saving Haitian lives is not a worthwhile end in itself, and should only be done as a means to the end of making the EU institutions more visible on the world stage relative to the US administration.

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  • 55. At 1:17pm on 21 Jan 2010, Starbuck wrote:

    @Freeman

    I somehow would agree with DT.
    By and far, Mr Hewitt reporting has been rather bland or gossip-like, rather than investigative.

    Well, I don't know whether he's interested or not in his new assignment, but "engaged" he certainly is not.
    And that's nothing to do with either being pro- or anti-EU. Frankly, I think he doesn't care much about it because for him, it's a just "another job", and he's Canadian (Mr Mardell being British with Belgian families had more of a "root" interest).

    There have been several issues he could have covered. Without thinking too much, and about events of the last 2-3 months :

    - energy independence : nuclear reactor shut in the Baltics, Turkey signing deals with Russia (what about Nabucco ?), green sector in Europe (as opposed to UK)
    - security : European navies in Indian Ocean, CIA and its mercenaries involved in illegal rendition from Italy (Milan) to Germany (Hamburg)
    - institutions : detailed presentation of all Commissioners instead of mostly CA (okay the BBC is UK, and so is she ...), presentation of the European parliament and its party "groupings" (I can't stand that term !!)

    ....

    Much more can be found, I'm sure.
    But here we go again, the problem remains that it doesn't seem Mr Hewitt is out to get the stories.

    To be fair, he did some entries on societal issues, like immigration or cultural integration, but they missed the points. Either because they were rehash or just lazy.

    And the worst of all, was the cheerleading for the Blair candidacy to the position of Euopean Council president. I can understand (and forgive) chauvinism, but to be the blabbermouth of the government is what you would expect from a national press in Venezuela or China, or in the societ Pravda ... not at the BBC.
    At least, not the same BBC that dared to question the "sex-up" of the Iraq dossiers, "45 min" claim or the suicide of Dr Kelly.


    Sure, let's give him some time ...


    Best regards,

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  • 56. At 1:28pm on 21 Jan 2010, Starbuck wrote:

    @FBJ

    Institutional aid to any disaster area is mostly a PR stunt.
    I do not disagree that the willingness to help those affected is sincere, only that this motivation comes way below the need to "show up" yourself.

    Considering the responsibility of the US in the past 200 years for destroying Haiti, it's really naive to actually believe that the US government efforts is little more than to showcase "american generosity" (ie: public diplomacy), federal effectivity (ie: after Katrina) and stabilize Haiti (to avoid a mass exodus of boat people).

    But the EU is in the same game, as it is a good opportunity to see how coordinated the various european efforts can be.

    Best regards,

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  • 57. At 1:37pm on 21 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    John from Helldom;

    "In Australia you have to vote. - My opinion is that everyone should be actively persuaded to turn up and spend at least a small fraction of their life thinking about others. Your attitude is the epitome of selfishness."

    Thank you. So I profited from reading Ayn Rand after all. I owe nobody anything, not to individuals not to society. I have every right to live my life exclusively for my own benefit and I will fight to the death if I have to, to defend that right. Your opinion starts by forcing me to vote. Where would it end up? In complete tyranny over me and everyone else just where the European mind always ends up. Without hope of being captive of the USSR, Europe had to convert the EU into the EUSSR.

    ""Anyway, your leader is the Queen."

    You do have a distorted view of the nature of a figurehead head of state. The monarchy ceased to be absolute from at least 1215. We have swapped them for a variety of, mainly foreign replacements, ever since - with a short period of puritan revolution when the incumbent got above himself and that axe always hangs over every incumbent. You have never managed to free yourself from your (over-powerful!) head of state - until you have done so please do not presume to lecture others."

    So all that writing in the Declaration of Independence about the tyrant King George III imposing his arbitrary cruel will on the American colonists was a lie? I don't think so. One freedom Americans fought for, won, and have enjoyed for 233 years that the British people haven't is escape from the tyranny of the rule of the British government. And now by fiat that tyranny is being outsourced to Brussels from where it will be imposed even more arbitrarily, more cruely, more insensitively to the desires and needs of British people. And they have accepted it passively like the sheep they are with hardly a bleat of protest over it. At least whatever mistakes we in America suffer, we make them ourselves for ourselves. In Britain the concept of a single unified centralized authority as in the rest of Europe is how all of life is run. Europeans are not merely prisoners as EUpris would have it, they are slaves, property of their governments. If and when those who remain and are somehow still productive realize they cannot have any decent life for themselves because they are being overwhelmed by tax to pay for those who aren't and decide to flee in any numbers, the door will be slammed shut from the inside and triple locked just the way other absolute tyrannies like hte USSR did.

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  • 58. At 2:07pm on 21 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    cping500 wrote: "It is curious why a blog devoted to Europe should today attract so many contributions for another continent to a discussion on a forum entirely paid for by taxation, and indeed described by an US citizen who runs a rival, effectively foreign owned broadcaster, as 'state controlled'. But we should be welcoming and the box for donations is by the door."

    Many so-called Europeans need to have a serious look into their obsessions, insecurities, resentment and hatred towards America and then you wouldn't have so many topics derailed by the same old rotten anti-Americanism that infests this site.

    "Even now I doubt if the people of Nebraska or Montana or others in the heartland really approve."

    Americans in the "heartland" are not noticeably different than most Americans throughout the country once you exclude the minority elitist leftists in some of the bigger cities and all the illegals.

    "In return others are expect to love the USA. Any thing which is less that full support , any offer of friendly advice is treated as being, anti American."

    You may find it hard to believe but most Americans of average intelligence can tell the difference between "friendly advice" and anti-Americanism.

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  • 59. At 2:25pm on 21 Jan 2010, Starbuck wrote:

    @AllenT2

    I guess this mean you don't belong to this "most Americans of average intelligence can tell the difference between "friendly advice" and anti-Americanism" category ?

    Best regards,

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  • 60. At 2:32pm on 21 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Maria Ashot wrote: "He is still not George Bush -- thank God.

    As for "America's interests": with the one obvious exception of Haiti relief, I doubt many Americans have any kind of clear understanding of where America's best interests really lie, anymore."

    Not a problem. Many foreigners out of Europe obviously know better than Americans on what America is all about and how she should be run and I'm sure will be more than glad to tell them where their interests should "really lie."

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  • 61. At 2:43pm on 21 Jan 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Starbuck11 (56): You should be ashamed of yourself to write that. But thanks for confirming that saving human lives in Haiti is not a worthwhile end in itself as far as you are concerned, but simply a means towards more European integration and your ultimate goal of lashing back at Uncle Sam.

    Let me tell you what the EU story is all about: It is about millions of people whose priorities are all wrong. People who care more about governments of other countries than the government they live under themselves, and who are prepared to see their own democracy subverted if it will help to lash back against all the perceived historical wrongs they attribute to Uncle Sam or Moscow, etc.. And who even regard saving human lives as nothing but a PR stunt to look good relative to the US.

    The mutual antipathy between people like you and your American alter-egos (e.g. MA2, etc.) is what keeps the institutional soufflé in Brussels from collapsing. The list of stories you would like reported, from CIA rendition to energy independence from Russia (which the UK already has) all underline that your main pre-occupation is what foreign governments might do. If MA2 were more concerned with what his government does, and you that the government you elect to Westminster does the right thing, then the world might be a better place, but complaining about each other's government is useless.

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  • 62. At 3:13pm on 21 Jan 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "Let me tell you what the EU story is all about: It is about millions of people whose priorities are all wrong. People who care more about governments of other countries than the government they live under themselves, and who are prepared to see their own democracy subverted if it will help to lash back against all the perceived historical wrongs they attribute to Uncle Sam or Moscow, etc.. And who even regard saving human lives as nothing but a PR stunt to look good relative to the US."

    so wrong

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  • 63. At 3:22pm on 21 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Starbuck11

    Re #56

    You reveal astonishingly poor judgement writing such stuff.

    However, when one is that blindly anti-American it may well serve as a reminder to the rest of us of just how prejudiced some 'pro-EU' are against the USA and what sort of people membership of the EU and EDF may align us with in the future.

    'Medecin Frontier' and others are doing invaluable humanitarian work in Haiti and elsewhere: As are many American agencies and people. There is always a form of 'PR' in International Aid, how else would the humanitarian cause raise awareness and widespread support? The least important and most down-played of that PR is the political 'stunt' you allude to: Trying to save lives and assist people in distress requires a good deal more insight and commitment than you clearly show in your views on the USA.

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  • 64. At 3:23pm on 21 Jan 2010, Starbuck wrote:

    @61

    hehe

    Should I cry or laugh at your writings ? try re-reading my post @56

    Hopefully, you'll realize that there is nothing of the like "But thanks for confirming that saving human lives in Haiti is not a worthwhile end in itself as far as you are concerned, but simply a means towards more European integration and your ultimate goal of lashing back at Uncle Sam."

    And start learning a bit about Haitian history, and US involvement in that country, for the past 200 years.
    Even the last 100 or 50 years would do great as it would help you understand A LOT, why Haiti kept regressing, instead of developping like most other Caribeean or Central American states.

    After which, feel free to claim that I like "lashing out" at the US or not ... but at least, you would start debating, instead of simply killing factual criticism.


    and btw, don't call MA2 or AllenT2 (or even yourself) my alter-egos.

    For a first, I'm willing to learn and challenge my prejudices
    For a second, I've no personnal antipathy (or sympathy) for those posters. How could I since this is completely anonymous ?
    For a third, I'm not interested in purposefully insulting or hitting on people for no other reasons that insulting or bullying them.
    Though, I certainly do find it pathetic to see the same old, retired personnae, stubbornely parroting the same cliches and innuendos, years after years, over and again ...

    However, I'll gladly enjoy rubbing them with facts to counter their wild prejudices from time to time.

    Finally, I don't care what Westminster does or does not since I'm no UK citizen (or subject). Actually, I've been residing in Ireland for well over a decade.


    Best regards,

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  • 65. At 4:02pm on 21 Jan 2010, Starbuck wrote:

    @63

    haha

    Start talking to a crow, and they all start flocking to you
    CBW, if you want to misread my writings, that's up to you, but that won't make you sound smarter.

    why do you think a French airplaine carrying field hospital equipment was refused landing in Haiti ?
    a) because it was French ?
    b) because it carried medical equipment ?
    c) because it wasn't a Boeing ?
    d) because Hillary Clinton was landing around the same time, her security and PR were paramount to any other considerations ?

    ... just go reading the news behind the news to find the correct answer ...


    why is it that some people would describe this comment as anti-american and still pretend to be rational, fact-based people at the same time is beyond me.

    okay,so far it was only snipîng.
    for more on Haiti, just help yourslef with those US entries :

    http://wondersofpakistan.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/there-is-only-one-way-to-save-haiti/

    http://www.timesrecord.com/articles/2010/01/19/opinion/commentaries/doc4b562774229fd612227891.txt


    Best regards,

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  • 66. At 4:44pm on 21 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Starbuck11

    Yes, I do have a crow to pick with you!

    My goodness! You have got it bad, haven't you!? Awful condition. Plank in both eyes.

    I don't know, why do you suppose the France Plane should have been landed ahead of any other of the dozens of planes waiting to get in to the 1 working airport at that time (incidentally, you do know that French hospital team was on the ground 30 hrs later).

    Now there are 4 working airports and latest reports suggest 1,400 aircraft scheduled to land - - almost every one will have valuable skilled people, equipment and supplies - - logistically a really immense task to undertake (the USA are running the 4).

    Now, from your vast experience do tell us which of the 1,400 flights gets your priority?
    Oh, and while you are at it: Do take into account the size of aircraft and weight of payloads, length of runway, runway maintenance (are there landing lights?), aircraft maintenance, ground control systems, shift-work patterns for technical staff, re-fuelling facilities/storage, appropriate forklifts, warehousing etc.. vehicles (+ reliable drivers) to distribute..
    And then there's the different types of Aid: Medicine, Food, Shelter, Water, Hardware...
    Which Americans are deliberately slowing that lot up because of their prior involvement in Haiti?

    Go on, you obviously know all about how the USA/International Emergency Aid effort functions!

    Why not give us the benefit of your wisdom on where the next US sponsored earthquake or natural disaster is scheduled.

    Why someone would bother having a dig at the USA when the Haitian people are in such mortal danger is beyond practically everyone else on here, bar You!?



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  • 67. At 5:58pm on 21 Jan 2010, Starbuck wrote:

    @66

    interesting figures you got there.
    1400 planes scheduled to land in Haiti ? that's forward looking.

    By January 19th, USAID considered that max 100 planes COULD land daily in Port-au-Prince airport (you know, the one restricted by the US military and the largest in the country).
    And out of the total 6 airports in Haiti (not 4), only 2 have the sizes for international cargoes.

    So, I wonder what you throwing that "1400 planes scheduled to land" has much to do with the fact that the relief effort when institutionalized (as opposed to NGO-led) is for Public Diplomacy ?
    Have they even taken off or are they expected to be diverted to the Dominican Republic (like most others).

    And mentionning that french plane, was simply using one example (though one glaring) about that fact.
    Hillary Clinton could have been flown to the US carriers at sea, then heliported, instead of blocking the only runway available for hours.
    Like you said, shipping aid is more important.

    But that's not better than a good photoshoot for most politicians.
    And institutionalized aid is all about politicians selling their generous qualities.


    As for your "why someone would bother having a dig at the USA when the Haitian people are in such mortal danger" ?

    Simply, because we have had US posters right here refusing to acknowledge the historic responsibility that their country had in impoverishing and destabilizing Haiti over the past 200 years, thus leading to the extreme conditions (slums, deforestations, little to none social infrastructures, UN administered, over-indebted ...) that make this earthquake all the most devastating for the Haitian people.

    And because the cheerleadies like you or FBJ consider anything like reminding some facts that might be construed as criticism for the actions oftheUS government as "anti-americanism" or "irresponsible" or "inhuman" (and so on ...)

    And as long as this continue, Haiti is bound to suffera repeat scenario at the next typhoon/earthquake/tsunami ... and the "media circus" will play again.


    And why I mention that the EU "was in the same game".

    I thought that most average intelligent person would understand that this aid is not for free when distributed by state actors. There are other motivations like political (PR stunt) or economical (corporate lobbies) too, no matter how useful that aid is to the victims.
    But hey, like for AllenT2, I made the mistake of thinking that you had enough "average intelligence", or at least some intellectual honesty.


    ps : don't go back to Britain too soon, the customs might hold you in quarantine for "rabid dog" disease.


    Best regards,

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  • 68. At 7:10pm on 21 Jan 2010, troymolloy wrote:

    Starbuck11 lays the blame for the lack of economic development in Haiti firmly at the feet of the USA. But as so often it's a lot more complicated and nuanced than that. Consider for example some critical differences between Haiti and Dominican Republic:

    * Hispaniola's rains come mainly from the East. DR gets a lot of rain, Haiti doesn't. As a result much less productive soil and much less plant growth.
    * Haiti is more mountainous, hence there is less land available for agriculture too.
    * The slave ships coming into Haiti left with timber to take back to Europe; massively damaging.
    * Haiti's burst of agricultural development following the slave revolt came at the price of a vast proportion of Haiti's remaining forests, with disastrous consequences in the long term (soil thinned out, fertility greatly reduced, its capacity for recovery practically removed).
    * DR was always more attractive to immigrants; after all Haiti's population was almost exclusively former slaves who didn't speak a European language.
    * Thanks to slavery the population density in Haiti was, and remains, much higher than that in DR, with far less productive land available to support them.
    * More recently (in the last 40 years) the disparities between DR and Haiti have been compounded further. DR opted to import gas for fuel rather than deforesting (which in any case had not been allowed to happen to any great extent since the beginning of the 20th century), and indeed invested in Hydro-electricity. Haiti's poverty forced it to remain dependent on charcoal for fuel, pretty much dooming its remaining forests.

    That's before you get into the differences between the regimes that both countries suffered under. But to say Haiti's situation stems from the USA is to gloss over a mass of circumstances since 1500 AD. Granted, the last 200 years are those during which Haiti became the underdog, but for the most part the above factors explain why.

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  • 69. At 8:13pm on 21 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Starbuck11

    Re #67

    Aircraft numbers were reported in SKY and BBC News bulletins throughout most of today.

    Don't know where you got your 100 from but it was CNN and again BBC reporting USA Haiti Relief that '4' Airports were open (as previously indicated, size etc. was not mentioned).

    I don't accept Your diatribe against the USA with regard to this topic of emergency Aid to Haiti: You were and are still being totally unfair in your assessment.
    And no, you have not explained the France Hospital plane incident - - so far as is known Clinton's visit had nothing to do with the divertion - - it is just your and the annoyed Med team's version of the incident.

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  • 70. At 8:20pm on 21 Jan 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    "I would suggest as a minimum that the last two blog posts on Haiti and European attitudes towards Obama have been very well written."

    Sure, he writes OK. He writes well, in fact.

    But he doesn't often write journalism. He writes political hackery. He turns up to press conferences organized by political press officers and writes down the things politicians want the press to report. That isn't journalism. It is being a mouthpiece for party politics.

    However, his latest piece is better. He still doesn't get out much, and rarely interviews people outside the political elite, but at least the burka issue is a live issue for most Europeans.

    The pieces on Haiti and Obama were simply ridiculous. They were transparently what the BBC staff found interesting in the cafeteria, and had nothing to do with the subject of Europe.

    There is a significant danger to the state of the public mind if journalists allow themselves to become mouthpieces for large corporations and political parties.

    Mardell's strength was to find a topic that affect the law under which Europeans lived, and then to source opinions and facts from a variety of authentic settings. He got away from scheduled press conferences, although i have stopped reading his entries on the USA since he is fixated with Obama and seems incapable of writing about anything else. Though he seems to have improved lately, I admit.

    Now I am not passing judgement on these guys as people. I'm sure they are wonderful people who are kind to kittens and small children. I mean, I don;t know them, I've not met them. I have no opinion on them as people.

    But as journalism, the BBC is growing ever more pathetic. I say that because, across the board, it has become a mouthpiece for large corporations, large political parties and governments.

    In fact, I even spare some sympathy for both Mardell and Hewitt, because I fully comprehend that it cannot be much fun to be able to write well, as both of them can, and yet to work in a professional environment that stifles good journalism in favour of political and corporate junk.

    Nevertheless, it is what it is, and it isn't good journalism.

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  • 71. At 9:12pm on 21 Jan 2010, Starbuck wrote:

    @68

    Thx for more details on Haiti history.
    Rest assured that I do not consider the US as the only one to blame for the sordid situation Haitians are in.
    Starting with European conquistadors, then the French slave occupation, economic blockades and feudal tribalisms.

    Haiti didn't become deforested by 1804. And after that, there were still 200 years to reforest, but instead it became a failed state with not much central authority.
    This was compounded by further occupation (1915-34) and economic exploitations.
    And all the while governed by a kleptocracy (and who were their backers ?).

    So if lots got to do with Haitians themselves, I also claim that any imperialist power who meddled with their development got a historic responsability.
    But it wasn't European nations or France that meddled with Haiti in the 20th century. It was a more closer neighbiour, up north.

    And I just can't stand that one of the main malefactors to Haitian's misery in the past 200 years being given a free card (or even a "Shining Knight" role) by some of the posters here.
    To do so would actually condemn past and present Haitian's misfortunes to repeat itself.

    It seems so cliche sometimes to state that "History repeats itself for those who don't learn from it".
    But it's all so very true for Haiti.


    Best regards,

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  • 72. At 10:10pm on 21 Jan 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    cool-brush and starbuck, the answer fair or not is where doctors arrivals were written down by day. I think most of the hospitals landed earlier than the French one. And still by Saturday, from reading general press, I had an impression that medical centres are still bad deficit.
    So may be some hospitals were able to land on Saturday, even with Hillary Clinton there, only one "Frontiers" so un-lucky. We don't know.
    May be not, none hospitals were able to land on saturday - then it is indeed nasty business.

    If I were prioritising landings on Saturday I would have given any flying hospital a priority landing - as simple as that.

    Haitian government though - remember - clearly cast their lot with the USA, as told off the French when they complained. In a mild format, like "don't all quarrel please" but it was clear who should do something "not".
    So, as min. from the point of view of Haitian government, that French hospital was not the priority for the day, and they are happy with the US decision.
    Remember the place still theoretically has a government who thinks it knows what is better for their people, and that was clearly not the hospital, otherwise they wouldn't speak up to media supporting the US decision in that particular case.
    May be Haitian government thought that Hillary - and good relations with the USA - are more important for them in the long term, than any operations done to 30-40-50 people in the short run, and prioritised based on that. Why not?
    who decides don't know, how it is prioritised no idea but starbuck - clearly answer d./

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  • 73. At 00:09am on 22 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WA;

    "If I were prioritising landings on Saturday I would have given any flying hospital a priority landing - as simple as that."

    If you were prioritising landings 300 would be saved in the flying hospital while 10,000 died of thirst because the same landing could have dropped off enough water to save their lives.

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  • 74. At 06:58am on 22 Jan 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    For a long time general de Gaulle resisted the admission of the UK in the EU. The reason was that in cases of doubt the UK would always look at its national interests instead on the interests of the community. Time has proven the truth of his analysis, and when Gordon Brown recently in Berlin said something about the commitment of the UK in the community hardly many understood this as anything but polite remarks. It has not been possible to observe any fundamental change of British interest in the matter of the financial sector during the present crisis.

    This blog reflects the national British reasoning in EU matters. It has been very obvious in the articles on the theme “British financial sector and EU”. This blog has also campaigned for Tony Blair as chairman of the council.
    Of course, you might expect a little more independence of a medium in a Western country. On the other hand, this nearness between a national medium and national interests can be observed in other European countries than the UK, and if you didn’t know better you would think that CNN is a mixture of an American political party and the US ministry of foreign affairs.

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  • 75. At 10:28am on 22 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Re #74

    Still up there on that lofty perch, I see, and still knocking all things American and/or British!

    Mind, you still haven't managed to explain the content of your #17 (my #23), and for that one even MAII (#24) accurately took it apart and exposed Your limited grasp of reality.

    Any chance whilst up there you could re-examine your view:

    Consider, if past and present Governments of America and indeed Britain act in the interests of their Citizens they just might be democratically following their Citizens' wishes?
    Maybe it is European Governments ignoring their Electorate's wishes which actually explains the disastrous EU low voter turnout and reluctance of USA - UK to accept the 'new' Europe you so proudly represent?
    Maybe, like CCN in USA and BBC in UK (though few Britons would agree with your surmise re Blair whom the BBC loathe since he crushed it over the Iraq affair) there are TV-Radio stations in Europe reflecting European National interests (which is more than can be said for Your EU Commission or Parliament)?

    Mathiasen, just maybe Your perch is a tad too high off the political-media plain and You are missing key-points as a result?

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  • 76. At 10:38am on 22 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Freeborn John wrote: "The mutual antipathy between people like you and your American alter-egos (e.g. MA2, etc.) is what keeps the institutional soufflé in Brussels from collapsing. The list of stories you would like reported, from CIA rendition to energy independence from Russia (which the UK already has) all underline that your main pre-occupation is what foreign governments might do. If MA2 were more concerned with what his government does, and you that the government you elect to Westminster does the right thing, then the world might be a better place, but complaining about each other's government is useless."

    While I might find it interesting to read stories that are coming out of Europe, which explains why I am here, this American ultimately couldn't care less what the people or governments out of Europe do, as I know most Americans couldn't care less, so long as hostility is not unfairly directed at us and especially if they don't interfere in matters of purely domestic policy.

    Unfortunately that isn't the case, is it? Just look at the Have Your Say section of this site and look at who responds when questions about things strictly having to do with the UK are posed. Do you see hoards of Americans chiming in to criticize, attack and insult Britons for how they choose to run their country? Of course you don't.

    But then when you get a topic that has absolutely nothing to do with any other country but America, like health care, the right to bear arms, etc, etc, do you see the same kind of reaction from most of the Brits on this site? Of course you don't.

    All of a sudden they feel they have a right to tell us how we should run our own country while lobbing insults after insults at us and our culture. At that point you shouldn't be surprised when Americans come on to defend themselves and their country.

    So before you try and claim that Americans like me are anything like the anti-Americans that infest this site, and much of Europe, try being honest about what obviously goes on here instead of acting like a poor mother scolding two children when the source of the problem is just one just so she can get some peace and quiet.

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  • 77. At 11:19am on 22 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    AllenT2

    Re #76

    Thank you for the American perspective: I must say these Blog articles do need comments from more like you. As a Briton and Englishman who recognises the historic contribution, values and quality of the USA whilst ready to criticise if I think it is needed, the extreme anti-American bias is at times wholly unacceptable and unjustified.

    The 'HYS' is a curious format: With usually a limit of only 500 characters to make a Comment I suspect some things do come across as more strident than perhaps intended. Couple that with some incredibly poor Moderation - - e.g. anti-American/anti-Israeli comments seemingly allowed anytime and replies to them Rejected or Unpublished - - it is also a very worrying Editorial stance the BBC is apparently following.

    Technical limitations must make it difficult for the BBC, however, there is no doubt from monitoring by quite a number of us contributors we can offer figures to show on the HYS there is a distinct 2 to 1 hostile Comment (re USA) publication-moderation process!
    We have sent to the HYS exact replies to certain comments and these have been rejected and/or unpublished.

    There is increasing cause for concern about certain BBC Editorial choices: Not least that HYS by 3 to 1 concentrates on 'news' issues generated from the USA as topics for discussion. This from a Media service that purports to be called the British Broadcasting Corporation!
    Even under the catch-all of being a 'World' media service the topic choice fails to match-up to the claim.

    Keep going: USA has it good and bad moments - - at least US Citizens appear to recognise this - - if you read enough European Comments you come to realise the European Union on the other hand is a sacrosanct political entity that can do no wrong.

    Yeah, right!

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  • 78. At 2:33pm on 22 Jan 2010, Starbuck wrote:

    I wonder if Ben Ehrenreich's piece is going to be called "anti-american" or just opiniated criticism ?
    It doesn't take anything away from the generosity and sympathetic instant that many individuals felt for Haitians, all around the world.
    But it does put state intervention into a much broader light, whatever some posters might think.


    http://www.slate.com/id/2242078


    "Why Did We Focus on Securing Haiti Rather Than Helping Haitians?"


    By the weekend, it was clear that something perverse was going on in Haiti, something savage and bestial in its lack of concern for human life. I'm not talking about the earthquake, and certainly not about the so-called "looting," which I prefer to think of as the autonomously organized distribution of unjustly hoarded goods. I'm talking about the U.S. relief effort.

    For two days after the quake, despite almost unimaginable destruction, there were reasons to be optimistic. With a few notable exceptions—Pat Robertson and David Brooks among them—Americans reacted with extraordinary and unhesitating generosity of spirit and of purse. Port-au-Prince is not much farther from Washington, D.C., than, say, New Orleans, and the current president of the United States, unlike his predecessor, was quick to react to catastrophe. Taking advantage of "our unique capacity to project power around the world," President Barack Obama pledged abundant aid and 10,000 troops.

    Troops? Port-au-Prince had been leveled by an earthquake, not a barbarian invasion, but, OK, troops. Maybe they could put down their rifles and, you know, carry stuff, make themselves useful. At least they could get there soon: The naval base at Guantanamo was barely 200 miles away.

    The Cubans, at least, would show up quickly. It wasn't until Friday, three days after the quake, that the "supercarrier" USS Carl Vinson, arrived—and promptly ran out of supplies. "We have communications, we have some command and control, but we don't have much relief supplies to offer," admitted Rear Adm. Ted Branch. So what were they doing there?

    "Command and control" turned out to be the key words. The U.S. military did what the U.S. military does. Like a slow-witted, fearful giant, it built a wall around itself, commandeering the Port-au-Prince airport and constructing a mini-Green Zone. As thousands of tons of desperately needed food, water, and medical supplies piled up behind the airport fences—and thousands of corpses piled up outside them—Defense Secretary Robert Gates ruled out the possibility of using American aircraft to airdrop supplies: "An airdrop is simply going to lead to riots," he said. The military's first priority was to build a "structure for distribution" and "to provide security." (Four days and many deaths later, the United States began airdropping aid.)

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  • 79. At 2:35pm on 22 Jan 2010, Starbuck wrote:

    The TV networks and major papers gamely played along. Forget hunger, dehydration, gangrene, septicemia—the real concern was "the security situation," the possibility of chaos, violence, looting. Never mind that the overwhelming majority of on-the-ground accounts from people who did not have to answer to editors described Haitians taking care of one another, digging through rubble with their bare hands, caring for injured loved ones—and strangers—in the absence of outside help. Even the evidence of "looting" documented something that looked more like mutual aid: The photograph that accompanied a Sunday New York Times article reporting "pockets of violence and anarchy" showed men standing atop the ruins of a store, tossing supplies to the gathered crowd.

    The guiding assumption, though, was that Haitian society was on the very edge of dissolving into savagery. Suffering from "progress-resistant cultural influences" (that's David Brooks finding a polite way to call black people primitive), Haitians were expected to devour one another and, like wounded dogs, to snap at the hands that fed them. As much as any logistical bottleneck, the mania for security slowed the distribution of aid.

    The TV networks and major papers gamely played along. Forget hunger, dehydration, gangrene, septicemia—the real concern was "the security situation," the possibility of chaos, violence, looting. Never mind that the overwhelming majority of on-the-ground accounts from people who did not have to answer to editors described Haitians taking care of one another, digging through rubble with their bare hands, caring for injured loved ones—and strangers—in the absence of outside help. Even the evidence of "looting" documented something that looked more like mutual aid: The photograph that accompanied a Sunday New York Times article reporting "pockets of violence and anarchy" showed men standing atop the ruins of a store, tossing supplies to the gathered crowd.

    The guiding assumption, though, was that Haitian society was on the very edge of dissolving into savagery. Suffering from "progress-resistant cultural influences" (that's David Brooks finding a polite way to call black people primitive), Haitians were expected to devour one another and, like wounded dogs, to snap at the hands that fed them. As much as any logistical bottleneck, the mania for security slowed the distribution of aid.

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  • 80. At 2:36pm on 22 Jan 2010, Starbuck wrote:

    Air-traffic control in the Haitian capital was outsourced to an Air Force base in Florida, which, not surprisingly, gave priority to its own pilots. While the military flew in troops and equipment, planes bearing supplies for the Red Cross, the World Food Program, and Doctors Without Borders were rerouted to Santo Domingo in neighboring Dominican Republic. Aid flights from Mexico, Russia, and France were refused permission to land. On Monday, the British Daily Telegraph reported, the French minister in charge of humanitarian aid admitted he had been involved in a "scuffle" with a U.S. commander in the airport's control tower. According to the Telegraph, it took the intervention of the United Nations for the United States to agree to prioritize humanitarian flights over military deliveries.

    Meanwhile, much of the aid that was arriving remained at the airport. Haitians watched American helicopters fly over the capital, commanding and controlling, but no aid at all was being distributed in most of the city. On Tuesday, a doctor at a field hospital within site of the runways complained that five to 10 patients were dying each day for lack of the most basic medical necessities. "We can look at the supplies sitting there," Alphonse Edward told Britain's Channel 4 News.

    The much-feared descent into anarchy stubbornly refused to materialize. "It is calm at this time," Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command, admitted to the AP on Monday. "Those who live and work here … tell me that the level of violence that we see right now is below pre-earthquake levels." He announced that four—four, in a city of more than 2 million—aid-distribution points had been set up on the sixth day of the crisis.

    So what happened? Why the mad rush to command and control, with all its ultimately murderous consequences? Why the paranoid focus on security above saving lives? Clearly, President Obama failed to learn one of the basic lessons taught by Hurricane Katrina: You can't solve a humanitarian problem by throwing guns at it. Before the president had finished insisting that "my national security team understands that I will not put up with any excuses," Haiti's fate was sealed. National security teams prioritize national security, an amorphous and expensive notion that has little to do with keeping Haitian citizens alive.

    This leaves the more disturbing question of why the Obama administration chose to respond as if they were there to confront an insurgency, rather than to clear rubble and distribute antibiotics and MREs. The beginning of an answer can be found in what Rebecca Solnit, author of A Paradise Built in Hell, calls "elite panic"—the conviction of the powerful that their own Hobbesian corporate ethic is innate in all of us, that in the absence of centralized authority, only cannibalism can reign.

    But the danger of hunger-crazed mobs never came up after the 2004 Pacific tsunami, and no one mentions security when tornados and floods wipe out swaths of the American Midwest. This suggests two possibilities, neither of them flattering. The first is that the administration had strategic reasons for sending 10,000 troops that had little to do with disaster relief. This is the explanation favored by the Latin American left and, given the United States' history of invasion and occupation in Haiti (and in the Dominican Republic and Cuba and Nicaragua and Grenada and Panama), it is difficult to dismiss. Only time will tell what "reconstruction" means.

    Another answer lies closer to home. New Orleans and Port-au-Prince have one obvious thing in common: The majority of both cities' residents are black and poor. White people who are not poor have been known, when confronted with black people who are, to start locking their car doors and muttering about their security. It doesn't matter what color our president is. Even when it is ostensibly doing good, the U.S. government can be racist, and, in an entirely civil and bureaucratic fashion, savagely cruel.

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  • 81. At 5:29pm on 22 Jan 2010, I am not a number wrote:

    AllenT2. "Feel free to point out any hostilities and disrespect that America gave to any country that respectfully disagreed and chose not to participate in Iraq. Good luck."

    Oh I have given an example, it simply didn't count because apparently when an American makes anti-French comments its perfectly acceptable but when the French make anti-American comment it's part of some evil plot. :)

    "Do you see hoards of Americans chiming in to criticize, attack and insult Britons for how they choose to run their country? Of course you don't."

    That's natural, considering the US media coverage on British politics is non existent compared to the British media coverage on US politics.

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  • 82. At 6:22pm on 22 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re "..anti-American' comments that are unjustified in view of the topic.

    Comments #74, 78, 79, 80 and 81 being the most recent and classic examples of this phenomenon.

    I.e. the USA is involved in an episode that has attracted Worldwide concern and contribution - - only 1 Nation attracts every kind of criticism - - and most of it simply for being the 'americans' doing their bit in an a truly International crisis.

    Truly remarkable that nothing by Canada, France, BeNeLux, Spain, Finland, Sweden, Caribbean and South American nations etc. is apparently worthy of comment - - only those Americans!?

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  • 83. At 8:21pm on 22 Jan 2010, Starbuck wrote:

    haha

    Wild claims of "anti-americanism" are used much like "anti-semitism", anytime one wants to stiffle debate.
    And what a sweet irony to see those illiberate actions understaken by those same who claim to defend liberal democracy !!

    This entry is about Europe's relation towards the current POTUS, and more broadly about some European relations towards the US (and vice-versa).
    And what more relevant to the discussion than to debunk some myths relative to the topic (ie: the US).
    Considering that some US posters don't mind making insulting and false mischaractization about Europeans, it should be even to ban them under the motto of "anti-europeanism" ... what a farce that would become !!


    As far as I can tell, criticism, biased or constructive, is welcome in this blog.
    At least by those mature enough to recognize the virtues of free speech, and with the ability to debate, rationally and factually.

    But, that might be too much to expect from the likes of you.
    CBW, be warned, in addition to rabies, it's also senility that's coming onto you.


    ps : Haiti was first mentionned by FBJ before me ... but you didn't find him off-topic, didn't you ? such dishonesty !!

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  • 84. At 9:00pm on 22 Jan 2010, Starbuck wrote:

    typo correctionon my previous post

    "Illiberate" sould be read "illiberal"

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  • 85. At 00:15am on 23 Jan 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Starbuck11

    Re #83

    Nobody says Your stuff should be removed or censored! It is not so much that You are 'off-topic' as missing the Human topic altogether in Your anxiety to get across Your views on the USA.

    Some of us have argued Your stuff is way off the fair and justified: I for one find it to some extent offensive You keep harping on about Haiti's very unfortunate history when right here and now there's a huge tragedy taking place and People from across the 'World' are trying to alleviate the distress and damAge.

    The fact You can begin Your diatribe with 'HaHa' suggests to me You have a very poor judgement of the relevance, at this time, of Your Comments about the USA and Haiti.

    By all means write Your critique: However, there is a time and place.
    I respectfully suggest You have, in this instance, got Your 'time' and 'place' hopelessly out of sync with the issues at hand.

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  • 86. At 06:12am on 23 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    I am not a number wrote: "Oh I have given an example, it simply didn't count because apparently when an American makes anti-French comments its perfectly acceptable but when the French make anti-American comment it's part of some evil plot. :)"

    No, I said "feel free to point out any hostilities and disrespect that America gave to any country **that respectfully disagreed** and chose not to participate in Iraq."

    France, as one of the core countries that instigated open hostilities towards America in the run up to the war, is certainly not one of those countries that "respectfully disagreed."

    "That's natural, considering the US media coverage on British politics is non existent compared to the British media coverage on US politics."

    There are a lot of Americans that read and post to this site and one can easily see that when questions are posed directly to Americans and in any Have Your Say topic that has to do strictly with America so the fact that there is little American "media coverage on British politics" is irrelevant to what I said.

    The fact of the matter is most Americans understand and appreciate the simple concept of respecting the right of the people of other free and democratic countries to choose how they wish to run their countries so long as they are not being harmed in their own.

    It is no surprise then that when topics that are brought up in Have Your Say that are strictly about things that only concern the UK you get almost non-existent input from Americans.

    Many Brits, and so-called Europeans, do not share that same kind of respect towards Americans and things to do strictly with America. That is what I said and that is certainly a very obvious fact.

    Most Americans wouldn't even mind hearing the opinions of foreigners so long as it remained respectful and non-interfering, and respectful doesn't mean you can not share an opposing opinion. But when you have so many people from your part of the world judging us, insulting us, and trying to dictate to us how we should run **our country,** especially when it comes to things that have absolutely nothing to do with foreigners, **things that are purely of a domestic concern,** then don't be surprised when you have Americans responding very defensively and aggressively, as they rightly should.

    America declared its independence in 1776 from a country, and even a part of the world, that shared the same kind of condescending, interfering and disgustingly cynical attitudes that obviously, and unfortunately, still exist today. Go figure.


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  • 87. At 07:04am on 23 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Starbuck11 wrote: "Air-traffic control in the Haitian capital was outsourced to an Air Force base in Florida, which, not surprisingly, gave priority to its own pilots. While the military flew in troops and equipment, planes bearing supplies for the Red Cross, the World Food Program, and Doctors Without Borders were rerouted to Santo Domingo in neighboring Dominican Republic. Aid flights from Mexico, Russia, and France were refused permission to land. On Monday, the British Daily Telegraph reported, the French minister in charge of humanitarian aid admitted he had been involved in a "scuffle" with a U.S. commander in the airport's control tower. According to the Telegraph, it took the intervention of the United Nations for the United States to agree to prioritize humanitarian flights over military deliveries."

    Don't be silly, the only true control that can be undertaken under similar circumstances is martial law. The fact is both military and civilian flights continued to come in and it isn't surprising that many were turned away because there simply wasn't enough room for them. Many military flights being given priority made sense.

    Those bozos on the French plane with a portable hospital and the French politician complaining about them being diverted away were childish and petty and entirely unprofessional. What did they think, that no other medical units had made it there yet?

    They need to get over themselves, along with many of the aid groups, who often seem more concerned about showing how much more, or better, they did or can do against another group or country. A bunch of children.

    "Meanwhile, much of the aid that was arriving remained at the airport. Haitians watched American helicopters fly over the capital, commanding and controlling, but no aid at all was being distributed in most of the city."

    Distribution of aid was hampered by natural conditions and obstacles that one would normally see in such a disaster. Stop being petty by trying to blame the country that by far is giving the most aid.

    "On Tuesday, a doctor at a field hospital within site of the runways complained that five to 10 patients were dying each day for lack of the most basic medical necessities. "We can look at the supplies sitting there," Alphonse Edward told Britain's Channel 4 News."

    As they say, there are always two sides to the story.

    "The much-feared descent into anarchy stubbornly refused to materialize. "It is calm at this time," Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command, admitted to the AP on Monday. "Those who live and work here … tell me that the level of violence that we see right now is below pre-earthquake levels." He announced that four—four, in a city of more than 2 million—aid-distribution points had been set up on the sixth day of the crisis.

    So what happened? Why the mad rush to command and control, with all its ultimately murderous consequences? Why the paranoid focus on security above saving lives?"

    You are complaining about America's so-called "paranoid focus on security" but then when the strategy obviously works you somehow can't see the connection?

    "Clearly, President Obama failed to learn one of the basic lessons taught by Hurricane Katrina: You can't solve a humanitarian problem by throwing guns at it"

    Under such disasters martial law would be the norm of any civilized and organized country, even in European countries. The military also carries out rescues and humanitarian relief. You think they are just flying in for a fight??

    Katrina was also nothing even near like what the left wing anti-American media out of Europe made it out to be.

    "Before the president had finished insisting that "my national security team understands that I will not put up with any excuses," Haiti's fate was sealed. National security teams prioritize national security, an amorphous and expensive notion that has little to do with keeping Haitian citizens alive.

    This leaves the more disturbing question of why the Obama administration chose to respond as if they were there to confront an insurgency, rather than to clear rubble and distribute antibiotics and MREs."

    Is that a joke??

    Who do you think MREs are made for? Who do you think was and is distributing them? Who do you think was and is bringing in earth moving equipment? Who do you think is clearing the sea ports? Who owns the ships that have by far the biggest and best equipped hospital facilities in the area? Who do you think owns that huge hospital ship?

    "The beginning of an answer can be found in what Rebecca Solnit, author of A Paradise Built in Hell, calls "elite panic"—the conviction of the powerful that their own Hobbesian corporate ethic is innate in all of us, that in the absence of centralized authority, only cannibalism can reign."

    Interesting. I thought the people of most European countries, in comparison to Americans, were very much in favor of "centralized authority?"

    "But the danger of hunger-crazed mobs never came up after the 2004 Pacific tsunami, and no one mentions security when tornados and floods wipe out swaths of the American Midwest. This suggests two possibilities, neither of them flattering. The first is that the administration had strategic reasons for sending 10,000 troops that had little to do with disaster relief. This is the explanation favored by the Latin American left and, given the United States' history of invasion and occupation in Haiti (and in the Dominican Republic and Cuba and Nicaragua and Grenada and Panama), it is difficult to dismiss. Only time will tell what "reconstruction" means."

    Obama with America being in Iraq and in Afghanistan was relishing the opportunity to send even more troops to another country because he had "invasion and occupation" on his mind? Ah yes, that must be it. :)

    The "Latin American left?" Oh, you mean those people that like to persecute, imprison and murder their own people for expressing opinions? That "left?"

    "Another answer lies closer to home. New Orleans and Port-au-Prince have one obvious thing in common: The majority of both cities' residents are black and poor. White people who are not poor have been known, when confronted with black people who are, to start locking their car doors and muttering about their security. It doesn't matter what color our president is. Even when it is ostensibly doing good, the U.S. government can be racist, and, in an entirely civil and bureaucratic fashion, savagely cruel."

    Oh yes, the race card. An oldie but a goody.

    You obviously don't know America.

    God, I feel sorry for some of you people. You should, at the least, realize that your seething anti-Americanism is not very healthy for your mind and body. Let go of the hate my friend.

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  • 88. At 6:07pm on 23 Jan 2010, Starbuck wrote:

    Should I cry or should I laugh ? ... lalala ... lalala ...


    AllenT2,

    I can only assume that you didn't read carefully my post 78, or else even "Americans of average intelligence" (your own words in post 58, and clearly you aren't a member of) could realize that I simply copied/pasted the article by Ben Ehrenreich (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Ehrenreich) (post 78, 79 and 80)

    Ben Ehrenreich being a respected US journalist, who analyzed the US relief effort to Haiti, and quoting official comments as part of it.

    here is the article again : http://www.slate.com/id/2242078

    You must have missed it, seeing how eager you were to jump at trying to destroy my "claims" instead of debating it, in a truly stupid fashion I should add.
    No only, did you make several mischaracterizations, but also misread the content of this article.

    Pretty much like you did in your post 1 about Mr Hewitt.
    Among others, I like this one :

    "And the struggle against extremism did not disappear with the demise of a Republican president."

    So Bush as a "republican president" in a free and democratic country was an extremist? Interesting. How do feel about those running China and Cuba and other communist countries where people are persecuted, imprisoned and murdered for expressing their opinions?


    .... your own words again, appalingly misreading simple english words ....


    So, all in all, I was simply making a test to see whether some of the most offensive and passionate posters around here, actually bother trying :

    1)to understand what is actually written
    2)to have a factual argument (as opposed to wild-crazed fantasies)
    3)to be decent and honest enough to acknowledge when making a mistake

    You sure made your point about reinforcing stereotypical cliches about americans ... or were you trying to dispel such things ?


    Best regards,

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  • 89. At 08:36am on 24 Jan 2010, AllenT2 wrote:

    Starbuck11 wrote: "Should I cry or should I laugh ? ... lalala ... lalala ..."

    Being middle aged I wonder if "I" should respond after that kind of introduction?

    "I can only assume that you didn't read carefully my post 78, or else even "Americans of average intelligence" (your own words in post 58, and clearly you aren't a member of) could realize that I simply copied/pasted the article by Ben Ehrenreich (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Ehrenreich) (post 78, 79 and 80)"

    What does that have to do with my response to you? Obviously you agree with him.

    "Ben Ehrenreich being a respected US journalist, who analyzed the US relief effort to Haiti, and quoting official comments as part of it.

    here is the article again : http://www.slate.com/id/2242078"

    Yeah, so? You are just repeating yourself.

    "You must have missed it, seeing how eager you were to jump at trying to destroy my "claims" instead of debating it, in a truly stupid fashion I should add.

    No only, did you make several mischaracterizations, but also misread the content of this article."

    I didn't mischaracterize anything. I also don't see you responding point by point to everything I responded to. How come?

    "Pretty much like you did in your post 1 about Mr Hewitt.
    Among others, I like this one:"

    No, my response was quite appropriate and right on the mark for someone that considers Bush to be an extremist and considering who he works for.

    ".... your own words again, appalingly misreading simple english words ...."

    I'm American, so it wouldn't surprise me if you think I have a problem "misreading simple English words."

    "So, all in all, I was simply making a test to see whether some of the most offensive and passionate posters around here, actually bother trying:"

    So I am "offensive now? This has what to do with you not responding to the points I addressed?

    "1)to understand what is actually written"

    Already addressed.

    "2)to have a factual argument (as opposed to wild-crazed fantasies)"

    You sure have a strange idea of what "wild-crazed fantasies" are.

    "3)to be decent and honest enough to acknowledge when making a mistake"

    Come again? You talk about being "decent" when you all this post is about is character assassination? Have I called you "offensive" because I disagree with your views?

    "You sure made your point about reinforcing stereotypical cliches about americans ... or were you trying to dispel such things ?"

    No, in my opinion it is obviously "your point" to see ignorant and hateful "stereotypical cliches" about Americans reinforced.

    Ultimately, I couldn't care less what foreigners think about me as an American. I don't need validation from the people of other countries to know that I am doing the right things and living a "decent" and moral life.








    Best regards,

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  • 90. At 12:40pm on 24 Jan 2010, Starbuck wrote:

    hehe AllenT2,


    First thing first, I'm not going to try to correct allyour mistakes and wrong assertions, that just would bea waste of my time. So, I'll select only a few.


    Alright, since you are so blind, I'll try being clearer :


    "And the struggle against extremism did not disappear with the demise of a Republican president."

    The Bush Administration declared a "War on Terror" against Islamist extremism. This is the extremism that Mr Hewitt is referencing to, not Mr Bush himself.
    Struggle, that Mr Obama is trying to keep on fighting.

    So, not only did you misread Mr Hewitt's comment, you also misread it again after being pointed it to you.
    Only so you could make a pseudo-indignified reply.



    "What does that have to do with my response to you? Obviously you agree with him."

    How can you say "obviously", when I never said that I was agreeing with Ben Ehrenreich, partially, completely or not at all.
    I only said that he was a respected US journalist, which is nothing more than restating what his US pairs said of him.

    But here again, you display a lack of understanding, and an all-too-eager need to jump to (wrong) conclusions.

    Because in your post 87, you clearly replied to me as if that article had been written by me.
    Going as far as stating "You should, at the least, realize that your seething anti-Americanism is not very healthy for your mind and body. Let go of the hate my friend.", which is all too ironic considering that I posted this article precisely to test the capacity of posters like you to read with intelligence ("I wonder if Ben Ehrenreich's piece is going to be called "anti-american" or just opiniated criticism ? post 78)



    "Come again? You talk about being "decent" when you all this post is about is character assassination? Have I called you "offensive" because I disagree with your views?"

    A "decent" person would recognize their own mistakes.
    A "decent" person would recognize their own limitations and not make broad statements without factual evidences.
    A "decent" person would not purposefully make insulting nationalistic or chauvinistic comments.

    All of these you did with utmost indecency.

    Pointing out someone's mistakes, with facts and evidences, is not character assasination : it's simply showing them where they made a mistake. The purpose being to have a debate that is anchored in reality.

    Using wild-crazed assertions, with no to little basis in reality, in order to taint and debased a community or individual, is character assasination. The purpose being to silence criticism and denies debating through shame.

    You are free to disagree with my views or with anyone's views, but it does reflect poorly on yourself, if you aren't able to do basic self-analysis, all the while shouting proudly your own lack of understanding and your deeply ingrained prejudices.
    Not even mentionning your "morality" and sense of ethics.

    That's the kind of stubborn arrogance you would expect of kids, not "middle-aged man" (or retired old men for that matter ...).


    Best regards,

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  • 91. At 11:45am on 27 Jan 2010, Kiberu wrote:

    Obama is not a Us president but is a European president as well! so they still like him and they will like more when elections are drawing nearer,

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  • 92. At 7:54pm on 04 May 2010, mary gravitt wrote:

    I hope that Europe still loves Obama enough so that they will not let the American Zionist lead the world into invading Iran like it did Iraq. Iraq is not over, yet the Neocons/American Zionist wants the world to unite and smash Iran. If the Neocons under Bush had not insisted on smashing Iraq, then Iran would not be a problem today because Saddam, the Terror of the Desert, would still be in place oppressing everybody. Bush II was a fool much like Absolon and King David. Bush I was a former diplomat and understood that Saddam had his usefulness, a wise man seems to breed stupid sons.

    It is funny how the US, the UK, and France walked out of the UN meeting when the Iranian president presented his side of the case for having the protection his country needed from all the bad guys. To me it was like being at the League of Nations when Ethopia complained. All that was proved by the walkout was that the Three Sister Colonizers still exist. Defanged, but still exist.

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