2005-05-08

Will we ever learn?

World War II in Europe ended 60 years ago today. Jubilant crowds celebrated peace and embraced their liberators. From dust and rubble, the defeated Germany was restored through massive infusion of American aid. For decades, NATO under American leadership protected our freedom from the Soviet threat. Generations of European leaders knew in their hearts just how much we owe the US.

When the Wall finally came down we could all breathe easier, some even proclaimed "the end of history". Sadly, it was more like the end of memory. History is hardly taught at all in Swedish schools. Leaders in Germany and France show increasing arrogance and no gratitude. In spite of recent reminders, like the complete European fiasco in Yugoslavia, there is an unfounded perception that Europe doesn't need the US. Oddly enough we're also unable to aid in fighting tyranny elsewhere like when we're asked to help in Iraq. Strong and absent? Not very credible.

Well, why use force, why not rely on diplomacy and work through the UN, you ask. Isn't that the way to go in a civilized world?

Twelve years and countless UN resolutions got us absolutely nowhere in Iraq. Basic diplomacy couldn’t save Kosovo. Decades of concessions to North Korea has led to an alarming threat. The world is a dangerous place and a policy of consensus is certainly a good principle but not a universal solution. I’m sure Mr. Chamberlain would have agreed.

Imagine Mr. Chirac confronting Saddam. Imagine Mr. Schroeder saving Kosovo. Imagine Mr. Annan disarming North Korea. The world needs American leadership. The next time the US enters a period of isolationism we’re in big trouble.

60 years ago freedom was restored in Europe. Not by resolutions, diplomacy or concessions. Europe was liberated by thousands upon thousands of allied soldiers paying the ultimate price.

Will we ever learn?
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