"Just another tidbit of Easter European reaction to President Obama's missile defense decision, to drop Bush-era plans for a missile shield with radar based in the Czech Republic and missiles based in Poland: a news headline (not an op-ed) on page 1 of major Czech newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes today read 'There Will Not Be Radar. Russia Won.'"
Quotes on America and Europe
"Among precautions against ambition, it may not be amiss to take one precaution against our own. I must fairly say, I dread our own power and our own ambition; I dread our being too much dreaded. It is ridiculous to say we are not men; and that, as men, we shall never wish to aggrandize ourselves in some way or other. Can we say, that even at this very hour we are not invidiously aggrandized? We are already in possession of almost all the commerce of the world. Our empire in India is an awful thing. If we should come to be in a condition not only to have all this ascendant in commerce, but to be absolutely able, without the least control, to hold the commerce of all other nations totally dependent upon our good pleasure, we may say that we shall not abuse this astonishing and hitherto unheard of power. But every other nation will think we shall abuse it. It is impossible but that, sooner or later, this state of things must produce a combination against us which may end in our ruin."
"When the Iron Curtain fell, ex-dissidents and retired cold warriors found they had plenty in common. America pushed for the expansion of NATO, guaranteeing the east Europeans’ security. In return, ex-communist countries loyally supported America, particularly in providing troops for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That relationship is now looking more wobbly. A new poll (see chart) by the German Marshall Fund, a think-tank, shows that western Europe is now much more pro-American and pro-NATO than the ex-communist east. Until last year, the eastern countries swallowed their misgivings about George Bush, while the west of the continent writhed in distaste at what many saw as his administration’s incompetence and heavy-handedness.
The ascent of Barack Obama has boosted America’s image in most countries, but only modestly in places like Poland and Romania. Among policymakers in the east, the dismay is tangible. In July, 22 senior figures from the region, including Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa, wrote a public letter bemoaning the decline in transatlantic ties."
"America's alliances are no longer considered responses to security challenges. Instead, they have become ends in themselves. In an era of record-breaking budget deficits and serious economic problems at home, the billions of dollars Uncle Sam pays each year to baby-sit Europe and East Asia ought to be coming in for scrutiny, not perpetual affirmation."
"American leaders seem to be in denial about what is happening in various allied countries. How clueless Washington has become was apparent when the Obama administration issued its first National Security Strategy document last May. The United States, the NSS stressed, cannot afford to be the world's sole policeman; it needs partners who are willing and able to meet security challenges.
But Washington will increasingly look in vain for partners who are willing or able, much less both. America's $700 billion military budget, which consumes about 5 percent of our gross domestic product, has soared over the past decade. In contrast, allied defense spending has been in free fall. With the new budget, London's outlays will decline to a mere 2.7 percent of GDP. And Britain is a veritable Sparta compared to other NATO members. Germany's once credible defense force is now a shrunken husk, with Berlin's spending down to 1.4 percent of GDP. Such key countries as Italy and Spain skimp even more."
"It was bad enough during the Cold War when the United States appointed itself global policeman, but in recent years our nation has become the world's armed social worker. U.S. leaders will find that to be an increasingly lonely role. Even America's professed allies no longer have the military capabilities or the desire to join us as junior partners. Instead of berating them for a lack of loyalty, we ought to emulate their wisdom and restraint."
"We stand here today as free and democratic peoples because of each other. It was the ideas of the Enlightenment, centered here in France, that helped inspire a band of Colonists across the ocean to seek our freedom. It was the success of our Revolution that helped inspire your own. In our founding documents, we pledge ourselves to the same inalienable rights, and to the truth that all men and women are created equal. We are societies where our diversity is considered a strength; where you can become President even if your name is Obama or Sarkozy."
"And for more than two centuries, we haven't simply professed these ideas, we have preserved them, by serving together and by sacrificing together. And not far from here is the hometown of Admiral de Grasse, who helped Americans secure our independence. Here at this memorial, we recall our shared sacrifices in the trenches of the First World War. And just as President Sarkozy and I have honored those who fell at Normandy, let it also be remembered that American and free French forces stormed the beaches of this southern coast. And not far from here, at Rhone, some of them rest in peace in the land that they liberated.
Nor have we simply defended these ideals for ourselves. Together we have stood up for our ideals around the world. And today, we pay special tribute to all those who have served and given their lives -- French, American, and forces from our allies and partners -- so that Afghanistan will never again become a haven for those who would attack us. They have sacrificed to keep us all safe, and we honor them all."
"Today, America and our allies are moving forward with confidence and with strength. And these men and women in uniform carry on a legacy that I actually can see from the windows of the White House. In one direction, there's the monument to Washington; in the other, a statue of Rochambeau, who served so well at Washington's side. And at the base of that statue are words Washington expressed to his friend after the Revolutionary War in America was won -- and I've shared these words with President Sarkozy on one of our visits, so I want to conclude with them this afternoon, because they capture the spirit that we celebrate today.
This is what Washington said to his dear friend from France: 'We are fellow laborers in the cause of liberty, and we have lived together as brothers should do -- in harmonious friendship.'
President Sarkozy, ladies and gentlemen, members of the Armed Forces of France and the United States, for more than two centuries we have stood together in friendship, and because of our unwavering commitment to the cause of liberty, I'm confident that we'll continue to stand together, strong and free, for all the centuries to come. So vive la France. God bless America. And long live the alliance between our two great nations."