sweet reason from abroad

a girl holds a poster reading 'Seriously damages human rights' during an anti-Bush demonstration in front of the US Embassy in Brussels today

Of course, like most people outside this country, William Pfaff knows that Bush doesn't really know a damn thing, so in this excellent discussion of the enormous and essential divide between the U.S. and the European world he addresses the myths held by a much larger constituency, the one which has made that little man President - and still likes what it sees.

Why Bush will fail in Europe

The President has an enormous political gulf to bridge. The trouble is, he doesn't even know it's there

William Pfaff
Observer, February 20

[Mr Bush's] trip will fail because he and his administration do not understand what really divides most continental European governments from the US ... Few Europeans believe either in the global "war on terror" or the "war against tyranny," as Washington describes them.

American claims about the threat of terrorism seem grossly exaggerated, and the American reaction disproportionate and even hysterical ... The invasion of Iraq is widely regarded in Europe as irrelevant to the reality of terrorism, overwrought in scale and destruction, and perverse in effect, vastly deepening hostility between the western powers and Muslim society ... Many Europeans believe it is not the world that has changed, but the United States.

[these excerpts from the full article appeared on a Guardian page covering the attitude of the world's press to the purposes of Bush's European visit]

I don't know how I'm going to be able to stay.

[image by Jacques Colett for Agence France Presse Belgium]