Friday, November 05, 2004

The night the world didn’t change

Le Monde, 2 Nov 2004 : Patrice Higonnet is quoted as saying that it may be amicable under Kerry, or bitter under Bush, but either way America and Europe are heading for ‘divorce’. Philip Golub says there is no longer a common threat, as there was during the cold war.

The couple of channels that are covering it on French TV are getting excited. Il faut être prudent, bien sûr, mais it seems that Kerry is going to win. (Update (11 Nov) The guests, including Pascal Lamy and Pierre Moscovici of the PS, say some quite sensible things.) Meanwhile, BBC World is steadfastly covering other things.

6:00 (CET) : Kerry needs to win Ohio, but it looks like Bush is ahead there.

So, it’s back to explaining the incomprehensible: how can Bush have won in spite of Iraq, in spite of the deficit etc, etc.

A programme on France5/ Arte about US foreign policy (part 3), by someone who later recommends Emmanuel Todd’s book, points out the paradox: all the potential flash points – from Chechnya to the Middle East, to the Maghreb (North Africa) and the Balkans – are closer to Europe than they are to America. Yet Europe reduces its military spending while the US’ continues to increase.

But, in that brief moment when it looked like Kerry might win, it was time to reflect; time to realise that Kerry’s victory would not resolve all the problems, that even under him the US would continue to have a foreign policy in its own interest, like any other nation; time to stop demonising Bush, time to stop blaming the US for everything. It was time for Europe to look at its own problems, time, in brief, to wake up.

No common threat? Apart from Islamic terrorism, that is.

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