China Incident Brings Out Schizophrenia in U.S. Say Europeans

| April 16, 2001

China Incident Brings Out Schizophrenia in U.S. Say Europeans

The recent standoff with China is just the latest in a series of events that highlight a schism within the Bush administration over its approach to international relations. And Europeans are worried, reports Paolo Pontoniere of New California Media Online.

'Some in the administration -- Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice -- seem to represent business interests, as they labor to normalize relations with Russia and China,' Pontoniere writes. 'Meanwhile, the right-wing ideologues -- personified by Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- strive to establish a new American global hegemony.'

In his April 10 article (just prior to the peaceful resolution of the China standoff) Pontoniere surveyed the editorial pages of European newpapers from Spain to Russia and found several common themes. First, that Europeans believe the conflict within the Bush administration drove the President to make 'hurried and unrealistic demands of China: for example, that the American crew should be released immediately -- or else,' and demonstrates a 'troublesome willingness to act unilaterally' in international affairs.

Europeans are also concerned 'that America's international focus has permanently shifted from Europe to the Pacific,' Pontoniere adds. A growing rift in US-EU relations has become particularly clear in light of the administration's lack of response to recent Russian overtures to the EU, and Bush's decision last week not to send American peacekeepers to Macedonia, which was widely perceived as a signal that the US is sticking Europeans 'with the burden of putting together the pieces of America's failed policy in the region.'
-- Leif Utne
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