Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Dear Editor
Contrary to my intent to feature letters to the editor from around the USA, I'm afraid I nipped across the border for a letter to the Ottawa Citizen:
Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Re: An all-American bash, July 4.

It is befitting to wish your American neighbours the best on Independence Day. Denigrating our other allies, such as the Europeans, in your editorial was mean and betrays the dislikes of your newspaper's chain for the more balanced policies advocated by the European Union on the Palestinian-Israel dispute.

The simplistic approach of the American president is smiled at in European capitals. It is too easy to blame it on their envy of the United States.


But when it comes to international politics, culture and history, they do smile at the immaturity of our North American politicians and institutions. Understandably so. History is the best guide to the future. You cannot acquire centuries of it in a few decades.

The U.S. has produced a few great leaders: Ben Franklin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. The others have been good for the politics of small-town U.S.A. but have failed miserably on the international front.


President George W. Bush has demonstrated his incapacity to take a rational and consistent international stands: free trade and huge tariffs on steel; complaints of subsidies abroad and billions to the farm bill; peace moderator in the Middle East and subservience to the Jewish lobbies at home. The constant reminder of potential terrorist attacks provides a perfect smokescreen for his total ineptitude.

Sept. 11 was a shock to most Europeans but one could feel the "they got it coming" attitude. This was not caused by envy but was born out of the realization that the American Middle East policy is biased, twisted and unintelligible. The Wild West mentality longs for a Texan shootout with bin Laden and the Mullah Omar on the theory that killing them will solve the long-term problem: just another sign of not having learned from history.

Georges Clermont,

Bruxelles, Belgium
Once upon a time, the Belgian 1st ParaCommando made a combat jump at Stanleyville to rescue hostages from the terrorist savages of that time. Georges' center of interest is more likely who goosed who amongst his pals at the local cafe. I wonder what kind of cheese he likes with his whine?