European Reaction to Election of George Bush


Nothing succeeds like success. The re-election of President Bush strengthened the position of his ally. Tony Blair. Even Chirac of France bowed, sending a message to "Dear George". Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain, who had broken with the US, announced that it was time to establish closer ties between Europe and the US. Schröder of Germany spoke of the friendship between the US and Germany.  Berlusconi of Italy was delighted.  That was the official reaction.  But what about unofficial opinion? A British tabloid had a header asking  if Americans had gone mad.  French commentators said that in the US the people despise the intellectual elite. They vote according to their emotions. One Republican woman said Kerry gave her bad vibes.  Another Republican woman said she felt comfortable with Bush.  In other words, he gave her good vibes.  The people are manipulated by  public relations people.  There is some truth in this.  In fact, I hope to write a book tracing step by step the way American democracy has moved from the intellectual discourse of the Founding Fathers to the demagoguery of today.  A footnote: The Mexican reaction was to be expected. Now, once more, we will take up with Bush pressing issues like undocumented Mexicans in the US...

Since nothing succeeds like success, I assumed that the triumph of Bush would strengthen the position of Tony Blair,  From Oxford, Anthony Smith writes:  I beg to differ.  Tony Blair's position in the UK, now welded for four more years to an alliance with a greatly disliked US President, has been seriously weakened by the results of the Presidential election. The death of three Black Watch soldiers in Baghdad the day after the election, killed in a place in which they were never originally intended to be active, has confirmed Blair's difficulties - and there appears to be no possible escape from them now. This morning we learn that the Government has lost a referendum in the north-east of England on local government by a massive margin, indicating that from now on nothing that the Blair Government does will go unchallenged. The Bush victory, whatever the arguments within America, is a very serious blow to Blair. I do not think he can now recover his position here - though politics always brings its surprises.

RH:  Who would replace Blair? The Conservatives are natural allies of Bush.  One guess would be a new Labour government headed by Robin Cook, who resigned as foreign secretary in protest against the Iraq war.  What would that do to US-UK relations?

Your comments are invited. Read the home page of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) by simply double-clicking on:   http://wais.stanford.edu. Mail to Ronald Hilton, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Please inform us of any change of e-mail address.

Ronald Hilton 2004

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last updated: November 19, 2004