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February 21, 2005
Raining On Bush's European Parade

Javier Solana refused to play along with the EU's enforced lovefest with George Bush this week, telling the International Herald-Tribune that the Iraqi elections meant little in terms of vindication for Bush's policies in the Middle East:

The EU's foreign policy chief cast public doubt on the health of the transatlantic partnership yesterday, puncturing the euphoric claims by European and American officials that President George W Bush had opened a new era in relations.

Javier Solana disputed the American view that last month's elections in Iraq had vindicated the US decision to invade and questioned whether the Bush administration's promises of a new era in relations with Europe meant anything. ...

Mr Solana made his deeply pessimistic remarks in an interview with the International Herald Tribune. He disputed the American view that the Iraq elections vindicated the decision to invade.

"Is this a vindication when you count how many billions of dollars have been spent, how many people have been killed, how many soldiers have died? It is a little too early to say."

It didn't appear too early for the Iraqi people, who waited for decades to embrace democracy and self-determination, human rights that Europeans told us that Arabs neither wanted nor respected. They walked for miles to exercise their franchise, braving bullets and bombs to do so. How much is freedom worth to Solana? Does he have a dollar threshold per person liberated and democratized? How much would Solana pay for the freedom of one man, let alone 26 million?

Solana also appears somewhat clueless about the entire Bush strategy of democratization. He told the IHT that the Iraqi elections have unnerved Arab dictators -- as if he considers that a bad development:

He also said that the leaders of Egypt and Jordan were "in panic" over what was happening in Iraq.

"They wonder what kind of Iraq will emerge. Will it be a government of theologians or engineers?"

They're not in panic over the idea that Iraq will elect theologians, although theologians tend to be academics, not radical clerics. They're panicking because a successful Arab democracy will put pressure on other Arab nations to modernize, and likely Egypt and Jordan will be among the first to feel it. Egypt already has faced calls from Bush to end its government by emergency decree and allow parliamentary democracy back in Cairo.

Solana wants to rain on Bush's European parade, but his general cluelessness winds up embarassing no one but himself and those Europeans that gave him his position.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 21, 2005 8:39 PM

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» Panic? What Panic? from The Sundries Shack
Captain's Quarters had the story last night of the EU's foreign policy head Javier Solana pooh-poohing the Coalition efforts in Iraq. Well, he did a bit more than cast aspersions on them, he read from the left-wing part of the "it wasn't worth i... [Read More]

Tracked on February 22, 2005 7:40 AM

» Schadenfreude from
That faint whiff of fear wafting out from the corridors of power in the world's dark corners is a beautiful thing. Javier Solana says that Arab governments are worried about the form of Iraq's future government. Solana says they're afraid of radic... [Read More]

Tracked on February 22, 2005 11:39 AM

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