Not a protectorate...

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at
Fri Jan 24 02:27:07 MST 2003

Rumsfeld's attack on 'Old Europe' has been the main political issue
yesterday here in Germany.
Conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung devotes to full pages
today in lining up the usual suspects from Habermas to Derrida, Debray,
Semprun etc. and answering Rumsfeld in the name of Europe. (see
for the German text)
What I found personally remarkable in the unfolding debatte are these
1. The harsh remarks from the conservatives, who traditionally behaved more
catholic than the Pope when it came to German - US relations.
2. Among mainstream politicians and commentators two points were made:
- Europeans should be gratefull to Rumsfeld, since he has brought France and
Germany together and now Europe can start to follow its own policies
indepedently from the US.
- On the other hand there is some concern that the US is meddling in the
East-European backyard of German-Franco imperialism and is playing the the
small Eastern states against the masters of Europe. In my eyes this is the
main reason for the common outcry from left to right here.
It should be clear that the current Franco/German - US frictions does not
mean European imperialism is any better than US imperialism. They just have
a growing divergence of interests.


Press summary:

Anger at Rumsfeld attack on 'old Europe'
Transatlantic row as Berlin and Paris hit back at US defence chief
John Hooper in Berlin and Ian Black in Brussels
Friday January 24, 2003
The Guardian
Transatlantic differences over Iraq turned bitterly personal yesterday as
political leaders in France and Germany hit back at the US defence
secretary's dismissal of their cherished alliance as representing "old
So heated was the response to Donald Rumsfeld's remarks, particularly and
all the more surprisingly on the right, that the French president, Jacques
Chirac, appealed for calm.
By far the strongest response came from the arch-conservative Bavarian
Christian Social Union. Its spokesman on European affairs, Bernd Posselt,
accused Mr Rumsfeld of "neo-colonialism". He added: "The US has to learn
that the European Union is a partner and not a protectorate."

'Old Europe' Reacts To Rumsfeld's Label
By Keith B. Richburg
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, January 24, 2003; Page A20
PARIS, Jan. 23 -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who two weeks ago
infuriated American veterans by saying draftees added "no value" to the U.S.
military, has outraged French and German officials by labeling their
countries "old Europe" in their opposition to a quick military strike on
Martine Aubry, a socialist former labor minister in France, said Rumsfeld's
remarks "show once again a certain arrogance of the United States." And the
ecology minister, Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, stopped herself from
commenting, saying the word she wanted to use would be too offensive for

To Some in Europe, the Major Problem Is Bush the Cowboy
PARIS, Jan. 23 - In Europe, it often seems that it is not only the wisdom of
a war against Iraq that lies at the heart of trans-Atlantic differences, but
the personal style of George W. Bush himself.

Europeans Try to Stem Anti-U.S. Anger
PARIS, Jan. 23 - Cool down in Washington and calm down at home was the
advice from Europe after continental tempers detonated over Defense
Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's dismissal of France and Germany as "old
Europe" because they are trying to avert a war with Iraq.

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