Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Mark Steyn- Message from America: we're independent
The Sunday Telegraph (U.K.) ^ | 07/07/2002 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 07/06/2002 4:57:52 PM PDT by Pokey78

On Thursday, to celebrate America's Independence Day, I celebrated America's independence - not just from George III but from the rest of what passes for the civilised world. You only have to glance at the front pages of any European newspaper to realise that America is the western world's odd man out, and has been increasingly since September 11.

Personally, I couldn't be happier about it. I'm delighted the United States is "out of step" with, say, Belgium. Not because I'm Belgophobic. If the Belgians want to support the International Criminal Court, keep Saddam in office until his nuke arsenal is ready to fly, and continue subsidising Yasser Arafat's pay-offs to the relicts of suicide bombers, go ahead, you're an independent nation.

Unfortunately, on the European side, it's the very concept of independence that's at issue. The Rest Of The West disputes not America's positions so much as its right to have positions. To do so is "unilateralist" - which is, when you think about it, just another word for "independent". When your positions are as independent of the global consensus as those of Mr Bush then you must be - all together now - "arrogant". Or so we are assured by such famously modest types as John Simpson, the liberator of Kabul, and his anonymous interviewee in last week's Telegraph, the "leading British civil servant" who complained about the President's "arrogance" while describing him as "a bear of very little brain".

One sympathises with Sir Hugh Sless-Auld-ffarquahar, GCMG or whoever it was. Obviously, the Presidency of the United States has never attracted the same calibre of talent as the Deputy Permanent Under-Secretaryship of the Ministry of Car Parks. But I wonder if this is quite the way to ensure Britain's voice is heard in Washington. Smug-ffarquahar's complaint is that Mr Bush presumes to "announce to the Palestinians who should and shouldn't be their leader". Actually, that's not what the President said and, in fact, it's the Euro-elite who tell people who they can vote for. In February, Louis Michel, the Belgian Foreign Minister, speaking on behalf of the EU, threatened sanctions against Italy if they voted for Umberto Bossi's Northern League. Nothing "arrogant" about that, apparently.

In other words, the Michels and Pattens and Smug-Pratts are indulging in what the psychologists call displacement. Mr Bush is a polite, modest fellow. He speaks softly because he carries the world's biggest stick. Conversely, the Europeans speak ever more shrilly because their twig is even tinier than Osama bin Laden's notoriously small penis. If they wanted to, they could make the twig bigger, by spending more on defence. But they've made a conscious decision decided not to: as Paavo Lipponen, the Finnish Prime Minister, said in a recent speech in London, "the EU must not develop into a military superpower but must become a great power that will not take up arms at any occasion in order to defend its own interests". Perhaps it lost something in translation, but, if he means what he says, the EU has embarked on a unique scheme for world domination dependent on hectoring the rest of the planet into submission. If Mr Bush is allowed to go his own way, this strategy of noisy impotence - all mouth and no trousers - will be exposed as a sham.

But America is also a historical anomaly: the first non-imperial superpower. It has no colonies and no desire for any. For almost 60 years, it's paid for the defence of the West virtually single-handed while creating and supporting structures - the UN, Nato, G8 - that exist only to allow its "allies" to pretend they're on an equal footing. For "allies", read dependencies: it's because the US provides generous charity defence guarantees that the European governments have been free to fritter away their revenues on socialised health care and lavish welfare. The non-arrogance of Washington is unparalleled in human history: it's American muscle that tames Bosnia but it's the ludicrous Paddy Ashdown who gets to swank about the joint playing EU viceroy.

In Washington, meanwhile, cooler assessments are being made. America knows now what multilateralism boils down to: after September 11, Nato invoked its famous Article Five - an attack on one member is an attack on all - and, even as the declaration was rolling off the photocopier, a big chunk of America's nominal allies were insisting it didn't mean anything. There's no point pooling resources with people who have no resources to pool. There's no point getting together and forming a whole that's less than the sum of your individual part.

If that sounds "arrogant" to Europe, well, do something about it. You don't want Bush to topple Saddam? Fine. Sign a mutual defence pact with him. You like Yasser that much? Send your mythical Rapid Reaction Force to guard Ramallah. That's what real powers do. But sneering civil servants being patronising about colonials isn't going to cut it. That argument was settled in 1776.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Germany; Government; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: marksteynlist
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-59 next last
Re-work of Thursday's National Post column.
1 posted on 07/06/2002 4:57:52 PM PDT by Pokey78
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...
Ping for the MSPL.
2 posted on 07/06/2002 4:58:48 PM PDT by Pokey78
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
Steyn's brilliant column de jour.
3 posted on 07/06/2002 5:01:17 PM PDT by dennisw
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: Pokey78
THIS IS A FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC PIECE!
5 posted on 07/06/2002 5:04:26 PM PDT by sam_paine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
ping to me as well
6 posted on 07/06/2002 5:06:55 PM PDT by madison46
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: madison46
You think you deserve a ping? eheh
7 posted on 07/06/2002 5:08:17 PM PDT by Pokey78
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: sam_paine
THIS IS A FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC PIECE!</i?

...and he runs it in an English paper. I love it.

8 posted on 07/06/2002 5:08:48 PM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
Dam#, this is GOOD! It went even further than I would. We do let them act like equals and we have been subsidizing them, but I'd never quit made the dependency connection. Perhaps it's time to cut the ombilical cord. My mother and I are both stronger for it.
9 posted on 07/06/2002 5:09:50 PM PDT by clarkca
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
I couldnt have written it better myself.
10 posted on 07/06/2002 5:10:16 PM PDT by Husker24
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: Pokey78; JohnHuang2; Byron_the_Aussie; shaggy eel; Clive
BUMP; BUMP; PING!; PING!; PING!

So there!

<];^)~<

12 posted on 07/06/2002 5:13:27 PM PDT by Brian Allen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
I deserve lots of MSPL pings. Thanks for the great editorial.
13 posted on 07/06/2002 5:16:09 PM PDT by PoisedWoman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
If that sounds "arrogant" to Europe, well, do something about it. You don't want Bush to topple Saddam? Fine. Sign a mutual defence pact with him. You like Yasser that much? Send your mythical Rapid Reaction Force to guard Ramallah. That's what real powers do. But sneering civil servants being patronising about colonials isn't going to cut it. That argument was settled in 1776.

Mark, you da MAN!

14 posted on 07/06/2002 5:17:32 PM PDT by Amelia
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
I had a relitive named FFrench - something, changed it to English, still living as far as I know
15 posted on 07/06/2002 5:18:27 PM PDT by Little Bill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
Ping me, baby.
16 posted on 07/06/2002 5:20:19 PM PDT by Rocko
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
Fabulous.

(But we expect that from Mark.)
17 posted on 07/06/2002 5:22:32 PM PDT by aculeus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rocko
You will be pinged from now on. . . . . baby.
18 posted on 07/06/2002 5:24:41 PM PDT by Pokey78
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
I am worthy ! ;-)
19 posted on 07/06/2002 5:25:45 PM PDT by madison46
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
Whew! Mark just let the EU have it right between the lines. Sounds like he's as fed up with all the whining as we are, only he says it a lot better :o)
20 posted on 07/06/2002 5:27:13 PM PDT by McGavin999
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
But they've made a conscious decision decided not to: as Paavo Lipponen, the Finnish Prime Minister, said in a recent speech in London, "the EU must not develop into a military superpower but must become a great power that will not take up arms at any occasion in order to defend its own interests". Perhaps it lost something in translation, but, if he means what he says, the EU has embarked on a unique scheme for world domination dependent on hectoring the rest of the planet into submission. If Mr Bush is allowed to go his own way, this strategy of noisy impotence - all mouth and no trousers - will be exposed as a sham.

It already was. When Solano (or whoever) said '..America had their chance, perhaps we should try'(sic) in reference to middle east. They were ignored by the Isrealis and not allowed in to see Arafat. hehehehehehehehe That tiny penis just wasn't enough. Guess they will go back to trying to 'hectoring the rest of the planet into submission'. Sure hope they never have any interests..If they do, they won't fight for them.

Yep, Steyn is great !

21 posted on 07/06/2002 5:31:01 PM PDT by madison46
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
Sten, as usual, says the usual in his very unusual and perceptive way!
22 posted on 07/06/2002 5:31:46 PM PDT by Gritty
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
Excellent, even by Steyn's stratospheric standard.
23 posted on 07/06/2002 5:36:34 PM PDT by Interesting Times
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sir Gawain; Tennessee_Bob; LindaSOG; RedBloodedAmerican; Victoria Delsoul
Book-friggin-marked
24 posted on 07/06/2002 5:40:18 PM PDT by Texaggie79
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
Mark Steyn fan bump

25 posted on 07/06/2002 5:42:48 PM PDT by Freee-dame
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
This was even stronger than I would have written, even with the anger that I feel; anger at the contempt that we Americans receive for simply trying to protect ourselves and trying to do the right thing by everyone. We receive no thanks, just contempt from the snooty Old-Worlders who are increasingly becoming a drain on our economy and way of life. Europe is becoming like Islam in that they want to pull others down rather than lift itself and others up. No, wait, the French invented that, the loathing of the bourgeoisie, the achievers, and now cultureless Americans. Islam learned that from the French as they also learned anti-Semitism. These "intellectuals" believe one can only have self-respect if one is lazy, and has disdain for everyone else that picks one's self up out of the mire. Sadly, Europe can't afford intellectuals like these, or it's current vast welfare state, or adequate defense without suckling at the teat of the US economy. It's a luxury which we in the U.S. can't afford to subsidize anymore. The European ingrates have finally pushed most Americans to the point where we feel it's time to cut the umbilical cord.

Great, great editorial. I'd like the negative responders he'll get to email me and I'll give them another round of truth, or as they would see it, "simplistic" views without historical European context, blah, blah, blah. Let me explain to them about simplistic, uneducated views which lead countries to poverty and ruin.

Regards,
Clark


26 posted on 07/06/2002 6:10:48 PM PDT by clarkca
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: clarkca
Bump this excellent article and your fine post.
27 posted on 07/06/2002 6:20:40 PM PDT by eddie willers
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
Mark Steyn was my hero for a long time. Then, in a column, Matthew Parris pointed out that he was like one of the cool kids in the schoolyard who pretends not to care what anyone else thinks, but actually is very careful not to upset the main gang leader. His justified criticism of the European Union are worthwhile, but his constant praise for America is tedious. If he were American himself, I wouldn't even notice it, but for a Canadian to go on and on about it is somehow pathetic.
28 posted on 07/06/2002 6:24:52 PM PDT by Tomalak
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: Little Bill
There was a football player named Farquahar Jones who played for one of the great Penn teams in the '40s. His daddy must have had a warped sense of humor. Hear! Whatever became of Farquahar Jones?

What a great column.

30 posted on 07/06/2002 7:00:56 PM PDT by Temple Owl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Tomalak
Your "criticism" is empty and shallow. It is of the type that is currently so frequent--- and vulgar. The schoolyard analogy sounds like something but amounts to nothing. Steyn perceives an American essence that is authentic. He has criticized Bush when it seems that he is succumbing to a global consensus mirage. If you have a point, make it. Otherwise your gratuitous "pathetic" is actually a boomerang.
31 posted on 07/06/2002 7:05:02 PM PDT by ontos-on
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: scholar
ping
32 posted on 07/06/2002 7:12:04 PM PDT by knighthawk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
For the Telegraph crowd Steyn threw in:

In other words, the Michels and Pattens and Smug-Pratts are indulging in what the psychologists call displacement.

Brilliant!

33 posted on 07/06/2002 7:14:49 PM PDT by maica
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
This is maybe the best one yet!
34 posted on 07/06/2002 7:16:08 PM PDT by knighthawk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tomalak
"If he were American himself, I wouldn't even notice it, but for a Canadian to go on and on about it is somehow pathetic."

Strange? I think its even cooler. Its easy to talk great about your own country but to show admiration for another takes courage. That goes double for showing support for the US. In case you haven't noticed, its quite the 'in' thing to bash the US. Especially among media elites.

Mark Steyn is independent and courageous, not to mention an excellent writer. I expect he could not care less what you or Matthew Parris think.

35 posted on 07/06/2002 7:16:44 PM PDT by monday
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Tomalak
If he were American himself, I wouldn't even notice it, but for a Canadian to go on and on about it is somehow pathetic.

Steyn is a treasure because he has the attention of readers on both sides of the Atlantic, not being American adds to his credibility outside America. He is not writing for us, but about us. We should be very grateful that someone is trying to explain the position of our Administration. He is also 'taking the mickey' out of all the leaders in Canada, the UK and the continent.

I don't think 'pathetic' is right at all.

36 posted on 07/06/2002 7:27:30 PM PDT by maica
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

To: Tomalak
I think Steyn is more anti socialist idiot, than pro US.
39 posted on 07/06/2002 7:35:32 PM PDT by monday
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
Steyn has outdone even his usual brilliant self.
40 posted on 07/06/2002 7:46:08 PM PDT by Urbane_Guerilla
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Little Bill
LLoyd FFrench perhaps?;^)
41 posted on 07/06/2002 9:17:11 PM PDT by Kermit
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Kermit
James, actually, Richard, middle name, JR was his nick the R stood for Rag, changed FFrench to Smyth, Smith, strange fellow.
42 posted on 07/06/2002 9:39:32 PM PDT by Little Bill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Texaggie79
Thanks for the ping.
43 posted on 07/06/2002 10:16:28 PM PDT by Victoria Delsoul
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
Oooh, I enjoyed reading that!
44 posted on 07/06/2002 10:27:25 PM PDT by Sunsong
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Norvokov
As an economist; you are so right on you should be encased in bronze. The biggest mistake Bush, the younger, has made is the tariff decision. I know, as empirical facts that open border in trade and in labor benefit everyone, and especially the US (only security should be a concern, which, sadly, is now). This one decision, if anything, will be his undoing even if the majority doesnít understand simple economics. And, I'll even place a bet on it. Anyone want to take me up?
clark@fan.net
Don't get me wrong, I love GWB, but free-trade is sacrosanct and should never, ever be violated, (even Clinton got religion when he was shown how things really worked). There are powerful interests, and not so powerful, like me, that watch trade legislation like hawks. Itís more powerful than even you intelligent readers give it credit. And the reason is simply: IT MAKES EVERYONE: YES, EVERYONE, BETTER OFF; i.e.: RICHER!
Regards,
Clark

45 posted on 07/07/2002 2:05:48 AM PDT by clarkca
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: clarkca
Welcome to FR. One tariff on steel does not make for much compared to the massive tax hikes of the Clinton Admin. And it is a limited tariff. As far as emulating the Europeans and their socialist economies... that does not make economic sense.
46 posted on 07/07/2002 2:51:59 AM PDT by KeyWest
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: KeyWest
"One tariff on steel does not make for much compared to the massive tax hikes of the Clinton Admin. And it is a limited tariff."

Two words: Softwood Lumber

47 posted on 07/07/2002 4:40:24 AM PDT by badfreeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: Pokey78
Thanks, Pokey. Steyn nails it!:

But America is also a historical anomaly: the first non-imperial superpower. It has no colonies and no desire for any. For almost 60 years, it's paid for the defence of the West virtually single-handed while creating and supporting structures - the UN, Nato, G8 - that exist only to allow its "allies" to pretend they're on an equal footing. For "allies", read dependencies: it's because the US provides generous charity defence guarantees that the European governments have been free to fritter away their revenues on socialised health care and lavish welfare. The non-arrogance of Washington is unparalleled in human history: it's American muscle that tames Bosnia but it's the ludicrous Paddy Ashdown who gets to swank about the joint playing EU viceroy.

In Washington, meanwhile, cooler assessments are being made. America knows now what multilateralism boils down to: after September 11, Nato invoked its famous Article Five - an attack on one member is an attack on all - and, even as the declaration was rolling off the photocopier, a big chunk of America's nominal allies were insisting it didn't mean anything. There's no point pooling resources with people who have no resources to pool. There's no point getting together and forming a whole that's less than the sum of your individual part.

If that sounds "arrogant" to Europe, well, do something about it. You don't want Bush to topple Saddam? Fine. Sign a mutual defence pact with him. You like Yasser that much? Send your mythical Rapid Reaction Force to guard Ramallah. That's what real powers do. But sneering civil servants being patronising about colonials isn't going to cut it. That argument was settled in 1776.


48 posted on 07/07/2002 5:02:34 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MeeknMing; clarkca; Pokey78
Unfortunately, on the European side, it's the very concept of independence that's at issue. The Rest Of The West disputes not America's positions so much as its right to have positions. To do so is "unilateralist" - which is, when you think about

A little item I found this morning pointing out that Europe's disdain of USA goes back a long way:

----------------------------------------------------------------------

19th-Century Fashion and the Sewing Machine

The notion of mass-produced clothing, cheap and well made and available to all, is peculiarly American. Perhaps nothing affronted old-fashioned European ideas of caste and class so flagrantly as the fact that by 1900 or so, a poor factory girl in America who worked six days a week in the same rough dress could, if she liked, wear store-bought silks or laces on Sundays. Or that an illiterate immigrant, if he had the cash, could go from Ellis Island to Broadway and after a few hours of shopping transform himself into a plausible-looking American.

In his essay "A Democracy of Clothing," in "The Americans", Daniel Boorstin observes that even by the middle of the nineteenth century, long before there was much of a garment trade, foreign visitors to the United States fretted about the upstart sartorial habits of the lower classes. As one British merchant complained in the mid-1850s: "You meet men in railroad-cars, and on the decks of steamboats, rigged out in super-fine broadcloth and white waistcoats, as if they were on their way to a ballroom, and common workmen you find attired in glossy black clothes while performing work of the dirtiest description."

49 posted on 07/07/2002 7:39:53 AM PDT by maica
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: maica
Jealousy is a pretty wasteful way to spend one's time, isn't it? They'll
never figure it out. (I hope I'm wrong, tho).
50 posted on 07/07/2002 8:08:58 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-59 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson