An ocean apart
Relations between Europe and the United States have once again topped the list of issues Expatica readers are writing in about.
The author of "Americans in Old Europe" is much too sensitive. The article was clearly written by an inexperienced expatriate. I've been an American expatriate since 1987, living and working in more countries than I can count off the top of my head (Asia and Europe).
In my opinion, this person, and Americans in general, don't understand the true seed of Anti-Americanism: jealousy.
In my experience, the height of global Anti-Americanism was during the height of the American internet boom, when it appeared to the world that every other young American was becoming an overnight millionaire, and the US was on the verge of global economic domination, not just outperforming the world economically, but controlling and dominating the world economic system.
In my opinion, the "anti-Iraq war" movement in Europe is really a mixture of anti-capitalism, anti-Semitism, and generally angry, defeated, unemployed people living in countries which don't understand how to create opportunities for their people.
Anti-Americanism has little to do with our position on Iraq.
As an American in Europe my family is being harassed on a daily basis. As soon as they "make" our accent, they curse us and our country.
This must be how the hatred of the Jews started in Europe. Nasty, mean-spirited anti-American is now the norm.
What a crummy place.
Your article on the attitude problem toward Americans in Old Europe was interesting. What was missing was the real potential that Americans will not be available during the next Old European crisis to bail out the Europeans.
There is a massive movement to withdraw from NATO and to send the UN HQ to Europe.
If this happens, Europeans will then pay for defense programs shouldered by Americans for 60 years....and the price will be paid via European inflation and/or reduced social programs.
This I assure you is a real possibility.
European media and political leaders are taking risks the people will eventually pay for.
Your article "Americans in 'Old' Europe" seems to suggest that if you disagree with the current US administration you will automatically be labelled un-American, or worse.
I'm sure there are a few people who feel that way, but the majority of Americans show respect for other's opinions and differences in political matters.
Most Americans welcome diversity and open discussion of opinions, without resorting to name-calling.
That is why the United States continues to grow as a strong, diverse and free democratic nation.
We are writing in support of Mr. Christian De Fouloy's courageous stand: against the leadership of his political party, and for the traditional Republican values that have been abandoned by the Bush administration and its associates in the US Congress.
We disagree with Stephen O'Connor's assertion that Mr. De Fouloy has not presented a cogent argument. Rather it is Mr. O'Connor, who, like many on the right wing of his party, has chosen not to address Mr. De Fouloy's argument, but rather to attack Mr. De Fouloy personally, including a thinly veiled slur at his European heritage.
Mr. De Fouloy writes that it was the Bush administration's false claim of a substantive connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq that led him to his decision not to support his party's candidate.
We have seen recently that the 9/11 commission agrees that there is no evidence of such a connection. Mr. De Fouloy also writes that the administration has shown that there is no room for moderates in the party.
This, surely, is borne out by reports of the House Majority Leader, Tom Delay, supporting right wing congressional candidates in primary elections — in some cases even when moderates stood a better chance of winning the general election.
In fact, when one omits the muddled syntax and strings of epithets, there is so little left of Mr. O'Connor's thesis that it is not at all clear what he is trying to say.
He alludes to a "Republican philosophy" that he does not explain, as if the current administration were representative of mainstream Republicanism. (One can only hope that as a journal publisher Mr. O'Connor confines himself to corporate matters, or has an able editorial staff).
The reality that Mr. O'Connor cannot deny is that there are many of us who, like Mr. De Fouloy, have searched our souls, and concluded that we must put "Country before Party."
As a candidate in 2000 George W. Bush presented himself as a "compassionate conservative." He has shown himself neither compassionate, nor conservative.
The burgeoning deficit that his administration has foisted on all of us and our children reveals a spendthriftiness that has nothing to do with authentic conservative stewardship. The war to which he led the nation, under a series of false pretenses, has killed hundreds of our young men and women while providing an incubator for exactly the conditions he claimed it would prevent, as religious fanatics team up with the vestiges of Saddam Hussein's trained military personnel in resisting the US occupation.
There is no joy in making a decision to support the candidate of another political party. But as one of our members wrote recently, it is not that we are leaving the party, but that the party has left us.
We invite moderate Republicans everywhere to join us in our effort to "Take Back the Party."
And we invite moderates of all political affiliations, along with independents and traditional conservatives to join our effort to defeat George W. Bush and elect John Kerry in 2004.
The RepublicansForKerry04.org Team
We all know that November is no longer THAT far away.
As revelation after revelation of the Bush administrations misdeeds, fumbles and follies becomes quite clear the only question that remains is what will you do to right what is wrong?
Many of us have had our problems with Democratic misdealings but what about when a Republican is doing the same? Do we fall silent because he's one "of our own"? Does ethics stop at our front door?
Let's not forget the cases that can be made against the Bush administration:
- We were led into a war in Iraq with no basis. No WMDs. No "yellow cake". No plans to attack America on her soil.
- The federally funded outsourcing of American jobs....That's YOUR taxes at work!
- The false report to congress on how much Medicare would cost under the Bush administration bill, which turned out to be millions more.
- The proposed opening up of ANWAR to oil companies. Funded with OUR taxes and not enough to last 6 months once production hits its peak in 2027!
- The corporate invasion of Halliburton with Dick Cheney and Enron with Bush. Thomas E. White, Secretary of The Army, was an Enron executive for over 10 years. He is now in the hot seat because of the support he received from Enron, and the stocks he held on to. Lawrence B. Lindsey, Bush economic advisor was an Enron consultant. Robert Zoellick, U.S. Trade Representative was on Enron's Advisory Council. Marc Racicot, Republican National Chairman was a Washington lobbyist for Enron.
- Abuse of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and camp X-Ray.
- The under-funding of "No Child Left Behind" that is destroying our educational system by failing hundreds of Schools that might not otherwise fail with funding.
- The current national debt, which is: $7,218,594,749,093 to date and GROWING! That's $24,522 that YOU owe!
How can any one of us stand by and watch our nation, which so many have fought and died to preserve, turn into a shambles? We should all be doing something to get involved with not only changing the direction our nation is heading but of the GOP as well.
Mr De Fouloy is trying to wake the conscientious of the Republican party up from their slumber.
If we cannot correct the problems that are unsettling our party then our children's children will look upon us as another footnote in the "fool-hardy" category.
You might also like to know for a follow-up story, that expats looking to obtain absentee ballots, now, the amount of paperwork we receive and the additional personal information requested, is frightening. For the first time in our family, we planned on voting Democratic to get this nut called Bush out of office.
But then when we received the 5-page package, with required reading to figure out the steps, and the personal disclosures that were asked of us, we decided instead not to vote.
It then dawned on us that since Bush won the last election by such a small margin, much of which was won by absentee votes, the Bush administration probably has intentionally taken steps this time around to REDUCE absentee votes, since all expats we know (all former Republican voters) were also planning to vote Democratic for the first time.
Looks like another Bush step, and another strong reason to vote him out!
As a reasonable Belgian citizen who lived and worked in the USA for quite some time, I would like to give a clear answer to the question why Europeans and other non-Americans are concerned about the outcome of the American Presidential Elections.
Democracy simply means 'government for/by the people'. So, if a certain government decides to undertake actions that seriously affect the welfare and safety of the entire world and its population, that government should - before all- listen to the world and its people...
When the US government decides to begin a war in a foreign country regardless of the world-wide protest by many millions of people, regardless the disapproval of the United Nations and hundreds of other governments, we are facing a dangerous threat to our own values.
There we reach the point where democracy ends and dictatorship begins...
It is interesting that the list of genocides (April 9th) compiled by the Belgian minister did not include the estimated 10 million Africans killed in the 19th Century in the Belgian Congo (as chronicled in the best-selling book. "King Leopold's Ghost".)
Funny thing, that.
Letters may be edited for reasons of space and clarity.
The views expressed are not necessarily Expatica's.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgium, news, letters