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The US and Europe



The second comment on the US-British mutual recriminations comes from Bryan Hamlin: "As someone who came to the US from Britain at the age of 33 and subsequently became a US citizen, John Heelan's comments all, sadly, ring bells with me. America's arrogance is at a dangerously high level just now, driving even our best friends and allies into criticism. Good friend of America, Chris Patten, talks of America's 'unilateralist overdrive'. Various statements by Bush, Rumsfeld and Ashscroft -- I surely don't need to repeat them -- have been both hugely embarrassing and damaging. And YET, I can see the US dilemma. They are not only the only country with the power to do much of the police work, but they would appear to be the only ones willing to take the responsibility. To attack Iraq right now - while we hope that the Saudi peace initiative might get somewhere -- would of course be a huge mistake. But the European view that we wait and see, while Saddam almost certainly makes progress in developing weapons of mass destruction, doesn't quite cut it. Someone has to worry about the 20 minutes between Saddam pressing a button and his nuclear weapon hitting Tel Aviv. And I do not believe he is as rational as the Soviets were in understanding mutual assured deterrence. A good new book on the subject of the problems of being the sole superpower is The Paradox of American Power by Joseph Nye.

Ronald Hilton - 3/1/02


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