Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Interested Observers 

Courtesy of Zemblan patriot J.D.: A few months ago Kerry got himself in hot water by claiming that many foreign leaders were pulling for him to beat Bush in November (and he subsequently demonstrated his grasp of diplomacy by declining to name names). While we do not presume to speak for European leaders, the poll data below suggests that, on this particular issue, the people they lead are approaching unanimity:
But this year, there is one place where the choice between John F. Kerry and George W. Bush will indeed have a profound impact, and interestingly it is not the Middle East. It is Europe.

Timothy Garton Ash, director of the European Studies Center at Oxford, argues that the "wrenching confrontation" between Europe and America over the war in Iraq has plunged the world into crisis and made this "a formative election for the world" . . . .

For now, Europeans hold an extraordinarily negative view of this White House. The Economist magazine published a poll earlier this year that indicated only 6 percent of Europeans held a positive view of Bush . . . .

It is no secret that the UN is approaching Iraq with great caution, leaving some political analysts to suggest that European leaders are dragging their feet intentionally to punish Bush or at least deny him the chance to use an international effort in Iraq to boost his campaign.

Many pundits in Europe regard Kerry's public comment in March that foreign leaders preferred him over Bush as a clumsy political gaffe, and the Bush campaign has seized on it.

But Kerry's comment reflects a widely held European view that Bush embodies much about America that the world loves to detest. The long lines at cinemas from Paris to Prague for Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" attest to that. Newspapers and magazines and television talk shows and speeches in parliaments across Europe make the sentiment readily apparent on a daily basis.

One Western European diplomat in Washington who has closely observed the two candidates, said, "There will be a sense of relief in Europe if Kerry is elected. He has a very different style than Bush, and a very different instinct as an internationalist. And in diplomacy, style is substance."

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