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American Neocons Rediscover Europe

With the United States flailing about in Iraq, it looks like the age of Freedom Fries has drawn to close. According to this op-ed article from France’s Liberation, the architects of trans-Atlantic estrangement and pre-emptive war have decided to seek a new partnership with 'Old Europe'.

By Washington Correspondent Pascal Riche

October 3, 2005

Liberation - Original Article (French)    

American neoconservatives, the intellectuals who inspired the foreign policies of the Bush team, have decided to launch an ideological offensive in Europe, a continent which up to now has ignored their strategic vision. According to our information, their laboratory of ideas, PNAC (The Project for a New American Century), is setting up a trans-Atlantic network dubbed "The Committee for a Strong Europe.” It will have as honorary presidents the former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and the U.S. Senator John McCain. A statement of principles has been drawn up and the hunt for signatures has begun.

—Read the Statement of Principles from The Committee for a Strong Europe

This is a genuine change. Until very recently, the neoconservatives considered co-operation with Europe of negligible importance. At a roundtable meeting in April 2002, their chief ideologue, Bill Kristol, who directs the magazine The Weekly Standard, denied “the centrality of the link between the United States and the E.U." and minimized the importance of Europe’s contribution to the war against terrorism. According to Kristol, the United States and Europe had two divergent perspectives on the world, with Europeans refusing to admit that "we are at war." A thought that his accomplice Robert Kagan of Carnegie foundation summarized by his surprising formula: "the United States is from Mars, Europeans from Venus."

But times have changed. Whereas the United States is trapped in the Iraqi muck, the Bush Administration needs its allies and seeks their support. And Europe has regained interest.

PNAC Executive Director Gary Schmitt confirmed the existence of the "Committee for Strong Europe," but refused to name the initial signatories. The idea of creating such a  network had already been embraced during preparations for the Iraq War, when influential Europeans let it be known that they approved of the foreign policies of Bush, but that they needed help promoting them. This was particularly true in the case of Aznar’s think tank, the Foundation for Social Studies and Analysis, which preaches a radical Atlanticism.

The statement of principle (1) of the new group is written in very general terms, in order to attract the largest possible number of people. It is a question of promoting freedom, democracy, the market economy, etc. The signatories consider that Europe "is likely to be undermined by a lack of strategic clarity, by the threat of economic stagnation, and by declining military strength." To rectify the situation, it must obtain a foreign policy that" is strategically sound and morally grounded," and its nations must be strong "economically and militarily." For the authors, one of the priorities of a "strong Europe" would be for it to “invest adequately in their armed forces so as to have strong militaries capable of serving in a wide variety of missions.”

 (1) libe-usa.blogs.com/CSE.htm

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