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Power and Weakness - The Truth about European Attitudes in the Modern World

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posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 11:05 AM
Power and Weakness
By Robert Kagan

It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they occupy the same world. On the all-important question of power — the efficacy of power, the morality of power, the desirability of power — American and European perspectives are diverging. Europe is turning away from power, or to put it a little differently, it is moving beyond power into a self-contained world of laws and rules and transnational negotiation and cooperation

The power gap: perception and reality

See article

The psychology of power and weakness

see article

This has to be one of the best articles I have seen to explain Europe and its actions, I know it a fairly long read but believe me it will be worth your time!

LINK to article

mod edit: Added external quote tags and removed bold (I understand why you bolded it though)
Quote Reference (review link)

[edit on 30-9-2006 by UK Wizard]

posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 11:24 AM
Wow that seems to be a very intricate and thorough investigation. Very good.

posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 11:30 AM
Thank you.

I thought that is was eye opening for sure and explained a lot in my mind.

posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 12:04 PM
The United States would have a much different perspective about war and social chaos
if another country had previously bombed our own cities to the ground.

They would think differently after burying millons of people in mass graves.

They would do all they could to avoid war.

European nations have suffered unimaginable destruction in their past and they've had their fill
of misery.

They are not weak.

They just know better and we should learn from it.

posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 12:19 PM
And they should have learned that you cant appease aggressors either, that true peace does not come from being weak, it comes from strength.

posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 12:38 PM
I will agree with you there as long as that strength is defensive.

posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 12:40 PM

Originally posted by FallenFromTheTree

I will agree with you there as long as that strength is defensive.

So how would defensive strength prevent the rise of a nation such as Iran with nuclear weapons and the will to use them? What teeth does a good defense have then?

The secret is to have both a good offense and defense, so that you never have to use them.

posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 01:38 PM
Ed we can not move forward in our attempt to stablize the situation until we show the world that
we simply will not tolerate corruption.

We have lost all the respect we had in this world by allowing these lunatics to have their way.

The entire world supported us going after Bin Laden.

But that support and our higher moral ground went out the window when we ignored world opinion
invading Iraq.

Bin Laden and his small group of extremists were international criminals and every resource should
have been employed to bring them to justice.

Now those who once supported us are now fighting us.

Now why is that?

It's because we allowed this administration to take things too far.

They lied to everyone and the world can't believe that we are alllowing it to continue.

posted on Sep, 30 2006 @ 05:12 PM
Well the situation with Iran should open your eyes if you think about it.

As this thread talks about in detail, it is why the Europeans act as they do....

Someone has to fight this, and in my opinion, it is as has been for the last 50+ years, left to the American soldier and the American taxpayer. Nothings changed and yet some in the USA want to see us loose. See my tagline from Ann for a great example.

posted on Oct, 1 2006 @ 03:21 PM
Robert Kagan, co-founder with William Kristol of the Project for the New American Century.
Jayzuss wept ed, still trotting out that PNAC stuff?

The idea that a Europe at a unique, genuine, productive and lasting peace with itself - in total contrast to our centuries of violent history - is "weak" is an unusual view to say the least.

But let's be honest.
The root of this is little more than 'sour grapes' by a certain right-wing section of opinion in the USA over the fact that free Europe freely dares to maintain a difference of opinion in regard to foreign policy.

(Just as many of us tend to take a less than narrow and one-dimensional view over the US's role - as well as our own and the USSR's - during the cold war period too.)

'Europe' (almost entirely) is enormously suspicious of US motives in this era of so-called 'preemptive defence' and the entire PNAC agenda......and rightly so IMO
(as indeed is a sizable section of US opinion too).

To try and dress that up in neat little, if grandiose, theories that centuries of warfare have left Europe "weak" is just a novel, if rather self-serving and transparent, approach.

As FallenFromTheTree so nicely put it, you try experiencing many centuries of international warfare, slaughter, maiming, rape, repeated invasion, occupation, looting and destruction and then see how "weak" you find a settled unique period of real cooperation, genuine peace and unprecedented prosperity.
Then consider just how gung-ho that kind of centuries-repeated warfare is liable to make your nation or whether you too would only consider embarking on such a profoundly serious course with as much legality, certainty and absolute proof as you could get.
That's not "weak".
That's maturity and, to put it simply, it is clear-headed sanity.

The idea that it's "weakness" is an absurd notion as a few moments thought ought to make clear, no matter how much it 'chimes' with a certain view-point unfortunately at large in parts of the USA right now.

Europe spends a fortune on weaponry (it might not scale the absurd paranoid heights of a USA determined to out-spend everyone else put together but it is still a vast fortune).
Europe still sends her young men and women to risk all in trouble spots the world over, in some places as 'peace-keepers' and in others as combatants.
Some "weakness".

......and as for Ann's line?
Well, bl**dy hell ed, Ann Coulter, does anyone really take that one-trick ignoramus seriously?
(tell us the one about the Canadian forces in Vietnam again Ann, that was hilarious,

It takes a spectacularly narrow POV to exclude all other facts, views and comment to distill things down to that ridiculously blinkered nonsense.
But that is her speciality, her shtick.
Right-wing music hall.
Nothing more and certainly nothing serious.

The 'war' 'we' are all now landed with may well have wider implications but to ignore the fact that it is primarily about securing mainly US interests in the region is laughably blind.

To be so deranged as to attempt to promote this war as a 'clash of civilisations' is not only stupidly insane but criminally dangerous in the extreme and so totally and wholly unnecessary.
It is not - so long as certain crazy people (on each 'side') are not allowed to try and make it so.

'Europeans' are quite right to point these truths out.
We're perfectly entitled to freely take an independent view of our own.
I thought that very 'freedom' was supposed to be the sacrosanct value we were all supposed to be defending?

'Europeans' are also correct in their view that if it were not for the actions of certain US administrations (who went out of their way to build-up, fund and support these extremist fundamentalists when it was thought to suit them) none of 'us' would be having to fight these costly wars in the first place nor face such a 'threat' from religious extremists at all.

That's not to say the 'we' 'Europeans' have not been involved and have ourselves gotten things very wrong there too but it does at least allow us to say 'been there done that' and 'that really doesn't work in the long-run' and 'maybe it's time to try acting differently now'?

As for Iran?
Well some substantive facts about their so-called 'nuclear weapons program' might help persuade people here in Europe.
So far there's plenty of talk and no evidence - in fact lately we have had the shock of seeing the IAEA take the highly unusual step of criticising the USA's presentation of their reports and information as highly slanted and agenda-driven.

All of which simply serves to high-light what 'Europe' sees going on here; shades of the Iraq pre-war propaganda job.
Any old tale will do so long as it serves the pro-war agenda and gets the war in Iran (and possibly Syria too) that some seem determined to see.

Some of us got fooled once, many in Europe didn't at all, much to the chagrin of some in the US administration.
Maybe this is just a part of how they intend to 'sell' the uncomfortable facts.
It'll take some doing explaining how come even amongst those who joined in last time there is absolutely zero support for this latest part of the 'adventure'.

Maybe some will buy into this nonsense, I expect they'll shout this stuff as much as they can, 'our' history of war has made us inveterate cowards!, maybe it'll 'switch off' a section of 'the people' back home so they don't have to think anymore about how come so many of those who share basic democratic values disagree so vehemently.

At root it's a way of inferring that we don't really share the same values at all, isn't it?

But perhaps if the US 'war-monger'/PNAC element truly does believe this kind of stuff then they ought to be worrying that their actions and plans don't have the same effect back home, huh?

[edit on 1-10-2006 by sminkeypinkey]

posted on Oct, 1 2006 @ 03:30 PM
It does seem that Europe has put its cards away, folded up the table, took their marbles and went home.

I think that's a problem since Europe should be a major player now that it's an economic superpower and could be on par with the U.S. as far as a stabilizer or even better improving the world, yet they seem to care only about themselves now and criticize us for being too engaged in the world.

What is the right approach? I don't claim to be smart enough to know, but historically it seems when the U.S. was isolationist, the rest of the world went to hell. The same thing might happen if Europe follows that same path.

[edit on 10/1/2006 by djohnsto77]

posted on Oct, 1 2006 @ 03:39 PM
I don't agree in seeing this in such needlessly absolute and certain terms.

I can fully see why a certain section of present US political opinion loves to portray events in this way but that doesn't make it the historical truth....and the usual 'inevitable tone' is just ridiculous IMO.

Kagan's article makes some interesting points, I don't deny that and I wouldn't be so arrogant as to say he is 100% wrong on every count, of course not, but I do look at his portrayal of Kosovo, for instance, (which he footnotes.....and flatly contradicts himself) as wholly at odds with the truth of what happened there.
(Got to love the way those guys always try and equivocate to try and drive that little wedge as if the UK wasn't really 'European', very amusing.)

'We' were part of several alliances at odds with each other for some time, the EU wanted NATO to act, NATO refused saying the EU should get it's act together and act itself (prompting the plans for an EU rapid reaction force some now wish to paint as the scary EU trying to get aggressive and 'take things over' militarily) and for some time the squabbles went on for far too long..

Those who know British political history will also know that the pre-1997 Conservative government helped stand in the way of military intervention (with at least one prominent then front bench Cabinet Minister later going off to take lucrative Serbian telecommunications contracts in his new career with a large British bank), it was not those pacifist French or whatever stereotypical nonsense he, Kagan, infers.
Kosovo took some time to put together but it was not a story all about spineless Europeans afraid to intervene.

Kosovo was all about conflicting interests set to a back-drop of a horrific sectarian war, it was not a simplistic and ridiculous tale of 'Europeans, Americans, the weak, the strong, the brave and the cowards.

Kagan's narrative is an interesting view but in this instance especially he is far from accurate.
But I guess the facts and the truth of the matter does not suit his own political agenda?

Kagan's a weird one, on the one hand seeming to understand why Europeans are slow to rush to conflict and on the other berating us for our caution.
Interesting that he seems to conclude, quite rightly IMO, that the cooller heads should prevail and that we should try and work it all out together; which is rather at odds with the trademark blunt Coulter-esque 'F' you.

But it is true, 'we' aren't 'the same' and nor should 'we' expect to be.

We currently have our differences as we have always had them, but we have also had greatly productive and mutually beneficial periods of agreement and cooperation.
Pretending otherwise is IMO quite unwise and utterly at odds with the truth of our shared history.

Such is life in the adult world and IMO complaining that adult relationships don't always go the way you want them to is, if you don't mind my saying so....and no offence intended to anyone, rather childish.

[edit on 1-10-2006 by sminkeypinkey]

posted on Oct, 2 2006 @ 06:04 PM

Originally posted by edsinger
And they should have learned that you cant appease aggressors either, that true peace does not come from being weak, it comes from strength.

I do believe we are not under agresson, if iran is willing to launch nukes at the EU then bring I say. We're bigger, stronger and can take more punishment than they can.
Mind you this is all supposing that iran actually DOES have weapons and WANTS to use them against us. Havent we heard this before?

posted on Oct, 2 2006 @ 07:44 PM
That article ranks as the most point less article I have ever read. There will always be a culture gap between the USA and Europe get over it and move on with life !

posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 12:31 AM

Originally posted by djohnsto77
The same thing might happen if Europe follows that same path.

[edit on 10/1/2006 by djohnsto77]

My view is that Europe won't follow the same path forever. They can't. There are new alliances forming between other countries. And if America or Europe likes it or not, we are very similar. We are even
(at least the anglos).

Like it or not, Europe participates in exploiting other countries as well. They are just pretending like they don't.

I think if Russia and China create stronger ties with each other, the US and Europe will get closer. Especially after Bush is out of office.

posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 02:58 PM
You have my vote sminkeypinkey, I couldn't say it better.
Just keep Your Way.

May the Sense be with you

posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 03:58 PM
Caution? Hmmmm, ok lets be cautious with Iran......sure that will work.

Where is Teddy R when we need him......???

posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 06:15 PM

Originally posted by edsinger
Caution? Hmmmm, ok lets be cautious with Iran......sure that will work.

Yes mabye it will work better than invading the country....nah lets go for a hatrick eh singer?

posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 06:25 PM

Originally posted by edsinger
Caution? Hmmmm, ok lets be cautious with Iran......sure that will work.

- OK then; you seem to be all for believing Iran is on the brink of nuclear weapons and launching the end of the, go on then, prove it.

Come on ed, it surely can't be that hard if it's all as extensive and serious as you (and the commentators you agree with) keep claiming.

Where's the special intel?
How come the international inspectors (who have/had go anywhere anytime agreements) haven't been pointed at any of these 'special places' only the USA knows about, hmmmm?
Shades of Iraq and those pesky elusive WMDs, again?

Meanwhile us 'soft' Europeans will keep on doing what you insist is the pointless appeasement you seem to loathe so much.
You know, inconsequential stuff like keeping on making the effort to try and solve this 'problem', nailing down the (unprecedented) agreed international inspections, the 24/7 remote monitoring, maintaining dialogue between all the concerned governments (so 'we' can find out what is actually said as opposed to what some people want to claim was said) etc etc.

Sorry if you think tangible benefits and actual evidence spoils this for you but yes, silly old us and our insistence on such technicalities as legality, facts and proofs in such profoundly serious matters, huh?

What a sorry bunch we must be not to be chomping at the bit to inflict wholescale slaughter on anyone we feel like just cos certain people in the USA tell us so.
It'll take a hell of a lot more than that in future (and you present administration has no-one to blame for that state of affairs but themselves.....and they know it).

Sorry ed, after Iraq there's none of us falling for that routine again.
Quite rightly.

posted on Oct, 4 2006 @ 07:38 AM
What? Iran has STATED they want Isreal WIPED off the map. How more plain can that be? Iran actively funds terrorism around the WORLD. What about the recent activities in Lebanon?

Invade? Not at all - no need to. It would be helpful if the Europeans would quit pussyfooting around and start stinging the Mullah's back a bit. It would seem that the Russians and the Chinese have other plans though, so the UN is AGAIN worthless and HELPLESS to do anything.

Invade? thats funny..........


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