>> 31 Jul 2004

Fergie, Kerry and American Foreign Relations

With so much bilge being published by newspapers these days, it makes a refreshing change to read an article with a high degree of accuracy in its analysis. Today's contender for the title comes from Harvard historian, Niall Ferguson, and his expectations - or lack of them - for the realignment of US/EU relations under the aegis of (God forbid!!) a future President Kerry.

A common view is that, once the Democrats are haunting the corridors of American power, the US and hitherto hostile countries of the European Union will come together in a nerve-jangling rapprochement, where the wine will flow and merriment will pervade all corners of the venue. Ferguson takes a far more realistic line. He argues that the post war military alliance was a crucial necessity required to stave off any potential advances of Soviet communism. Now that the Cold War has been decisively won by the ideologies of Western democracy, there is no need for anywhere near the same degree of friendship or cooperation - even with the equally dangerous threat of Islamic terrorism.

I would go somewhat further than Ferguson when making judgements about American foreign policy under President Bush. The prevailing view of the Guardianistas on the liberal Left is that Bush's 'America First' stance on foreign relations is the cause of this trans-Atlantic fissure. On the contrary, I would contend Bush's approach is actually a consequence of a cooling of US/European relations which has its genesis at the end of the Cold War, and which has gradually gathered momentum in the intervening years - not least because of French aspirations for the military potential of an emerging EU superstate.

Summarily, the European Left are not anti-American because of the actions of its Commander-in-Chief. They would be anti-American notwithstanding the political bent of any Presidential incumbent. Why? Because the United States is now the only remaining superpower and, arguably, the only state with the clout to defend itself and its security interests unilaterally. That it will continue to do just that irrespective of who occupies the West Wing is beyond doubt. The only difference between Bush and Kerry in this sense is that the former will continue to defend America's security and international interests with far more zealousness and gusto than his Democratic counterpart. In an era when Uncle Sam cannot afford to allow international terrorism any leeway Bush is, therefore, the man to continue the fight against terrorism. I only hope the American people realise that come November.


Post a Comment

Back to TOP