Honestly, I began this entry as one big response to several comments in Matt Lewis' blog, but it has just grown out of hand... So, I'm separating it into several parts.Here's the comment page that started this whole thing:http://www.townhall.com/blog/default.aspx?mode=post&g=f5d08614-b704-435c-bd4a-8a5877c51b44&comments=true#f1c0eed2-9a89-4267-a494-ebd44bcc9b57
I'm addressing this post to any reader interested, but the question was raised by Nee and El Gordo.
3.) How Europe Sees the Rest of the WorldI want to head off all of your criticism at the pass here, and say that I do not want to sound condescending, nor do I want to appear to lecture you all, since you all seem to be educated individuals. However, I have found some statements about the nature of Europe to really be in error.
"Europe criticizes the US more than China, Russia and Iran."
This is entirely untrue. If someone has told you this, especially someone on the radio or on television, then you should not listen to that person ever again. Europe is absolutely brimming with criticism for all three of these nations, and I'll address each one in turn:
a.) Russia:Europe is full of far more criticism for Russia than for the US, for the simple reason that Russia borders the EU on several fronts: with the Baltic states, Finland, Germany and Poland via Kaliningrad. The EU is scared to death of Russia, especially with the potential of Russian political aggression, intelligence service operation or energy threats. The Litvinenko case is a glaring example of how the EU and Russia are always just one week away from a diplomatic catastrophe. The EU has also raised more objections than any other nation regarding Russia's HR record, constantly blocking attempts by Russia to take part in EU activities. On the other hand, the EU realizes that by vilifying its largest and most powerful neighbor, reform will be less and less likely. In this sense, the EU alternately chastizes and makes up with Russia, hoping to defend its own ideological position while simultaneously pushing for a safer, more democratic Russia.
b.) China:I'll go out on a limb and say that Europe isn't the only country that suffers from a lack of criticism for China - the US is also in this camp. Actually, I'll go ahead and reverse myself and say that China is criticized less by the EU press than the US is, but I don't think that this casts the EU in a light that is especially worse than the one we enjoy here. So, ok, you got me. The EU doesn't criticize China as harshly as it should, by the EU's own standards, but then again, neither do we.
c.) Iran:Iran is not on the receiving end of a lot of criticism from Europe for the simple reason that Iran is just America's most recent boogeyman. Also, Iran is a major potential ally of the EU for several reasons:
1.) Iran, other than Russia, holds the largest reserves of natural gas in the world
2.) Iran is the only, the ONLY Islamic Republic that is actively reforming itself to become more free
3.) Iran harbors no intentions of following some sort of international nuclear jihadYet, the EU does still level a lot of criticism at Iran, despite these reasons. They do complain when Iran tries to announce some new nuclear program, or incites more destability in the region. EU sources also are upset that Iran is continuing to destabilize Iraq. US criticism is only about Iraq, but the Iran criticism is actually far more nuanced. So, no, Iran gets it worse than the US does from the point of view of the EU.
Also, the freedom that is mentioned in criticizing America is not a symptom of something that is wrong, but something that is right. Europe is America's most treasured international neighbor, which feels comfortable enough to criticize us as well as we feel comfortable in criticizing them. Are they freeloaders? Sometimes. Do they depend on us? Yes. Do they criticize us? Yes. Do we criticize them back? Always. Do we depend on Europe? Certainly.