I LOVE AMERICA, AND WOULD LIKE IT RETURNED TO ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
While I will not deny that this is an extraordinary nation, a nation that has changed the history of this world, and will continue to do so, I will quote the words of the servants the Romans use to put in the chariots right behind the victorious generals: Remember: Thou art mortal.
This country, for all it's changed and done, is a country of fallible human beings and institutions that can go out of control, or fall into disrepair. I say this not to blot out hopes of a better future, but to lay out the challenges always present for any civilization to maintain its identity, maintain its integrity.
I don't want us to become Europe. I want us to avoid its mistakes, and to pave our own path of culture, philosophy and art. But I want this country to remain the free-living, free-thinking nation that it is, and I don't want us to take a political detour into tyranny or decay. I don't want one generation of foolish and arrogant men to wreck it all. I believe that there was hopes amongst even the most jaded amongst us, after 9/11 that Bush would not take that path, or approach it, that he would rise to the challenge.
Instead, he has managed, to even my surprise to fail in just those ways. Bush may find something romantic and strong about us standing against the world, but I look at that, and I see pragmatic opportunities missed. We don't have to toe the European line. We just have to keep our disagreements from becoming discord. The harder we make it to influence policy in Europe against terrorism, the easier we make it on Osama to funnel his terrorists towards our shores. We don't need hubris and contempt for those who desire peace, we need an eye for we can get them to contribute, for what we can get them to agree to. Who knows, if we entangle them enough, perhaps they'll decide it's in their interests to help us.
Problem is, we've already gone and stirred things up. If we had let Iraq alone, a bombing like that in Madrid could have solidified European policy behind us, showed them that an Olympian ideal of peace was not tenable. It has only solidified opinion against our war efforts instead, because the context is our chaos generating war in Iraq.
Bush has a problem: he expects loyalty where he should only expect the working out of mutual self-interest. He expects best friends when he should only expect good relations. The trouble is, in terms of relationships with other countries, Bush lets the perfect be the enemy of the good.