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US: President BUsh in Europe and the Middle East

President Bush has completed his grand tour of Europe and the Middle East.. As Rob Gaudet says, he made his initial stop in Poland to reward the Eastern European states that were brave enough to support the US in its war against Iraq, while French president Chirac told them to "shut up." Bush made pointed comments about France and Germany. Presumably Crakow rather than Warsaw was chosen because it would be easier to control protesters there. In fact there were very few of them. Especially striking was the differece between the warm reception US troops in Qatar gave Bush and the cold comments of the European press generally. One item caught my attention. While rampaging protesters were confined to Annemasse and the neighboring area of Geneva, Bush and the other leaders were conferring in Evian. Fine, but a photograph showed some ten French chefs in their uniform lined up after the meeting to receive the compliments of chefs de gouvernement. Chirac was getting publicity for French haute cuisine. It was a different planet from that of the rioters. One reason Fidel Castro and Lula da Silva enjoy popular support is that the masses feel that they are on the same level as them. Haute cuisine symbolized the gap between the world leaders and the masses.

Ronald Hilton - 6/6/03