February 18, 2003

The Spirit of Belgium TNR

The Spirit of Belgium

TNR comes through on the recent (and depressing) Berlin-Paris-Brussels machinations:

Key paragraph: "There are some European states, some NATO members, who understand the justice of the American campaign and the necessity of American leadership. If Americans are from Mars, some Europeans are from Vilnius. And Spain and Italy have demonstrated that even old Europeans know how to exist in the present. But then there is Belgium, which roars that the weapons inspectors in Iraq must be given more time. There was once a great French poet whose cherished term for mediocrity was l'esprit Belge. This week l'esprit Belge is running wild in geopolitics. Never mind. The bruised ego of Europe is less dangerous to the world than the hidden arsenal of Saddam Hussein. And our cultural affinity for Europe has outlived our strategic affinity for Europe. The American sense of the world is right and clear: nation-building in Kabul and Baghdad, vacation-building in Paris and Berlin. The world really has changed."

Was Rimbaud the French poet who treated the Belgians with such derision? What would he have made of the pitiable to-and-fros at NATO headquarters this week?

Posted by Gregory at February 18, 2003 01:26 AM
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