Rancor over Iraq Over?

WaPo — Allies’ Rancor Over Iraq Is ‘Over,’ Bush Contends

President Bush asserted Saturday that the bitterness over Iraq among European allies was “over” and that NATO has a responsibility to do more to help the fledgling government that will assume limited authority in Baghdad on Wednesday. “I think the bitter differences of the war are over,” Bush said at a news conference after a three-hour summit between the United States and the 25-member European Union. “Some people didn’t agree with the decision that I made, and others made as well. But we all agree that a democratic Iraq, a peaceful Iraq . . . is in all our benefit.”

The EU was represented by Romano Prodi — president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm — and Bertie Ahern, prime minister of Ireland, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency.

Antiwar protesters forced a 30-minute delay in Bush’s news conference with Ahern and Prodi — a symbolic victory over a president who prizes punctuality. Bush had to wait while the White House press corps was driven in circles on double-decker buses because thousands of opponents of the Iraq war had blocked miles of nearby roads.

At the news conference at the Renaissance-era Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Ahern said discussions included ways the countries could “best work together to support the people of Iraq as they start the process of building a sovereign, secure and democratic country.” The EU issued a statement promising “full and sustained support” for Iraq’s incoming interim government. The bloc did not announce any specific pledge of assistance or relief from the debts of the previous regime.

Presumably, the benefits of active cooperation with the world’s dominant political and economic power outweigh those of remaining in a snit. Still, I contend that the rancor over Iraq was a symptom of a wider cultural gap rather than a specific problem.

FILED UNDER: World Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dave T says:

    “Thousands of antiwar protestors”?

    The local Police (Garda) and press say 500!

  2. ATM says:

    Paul,

    By Europe you really mean France and Germany? After all many other European countries are providing assistance to Iraq? And it is unlikely that the interim prime minister is going to the tell Bremer any such thing because he will be out of a position at that time. As for telling the U.S. any expletives, it’s pretty unlikely because any assistance from the axis of weasel is unlikely to offset any assistance that would be lost by offending the US.

  3. Athena says:

    You people have got to see Fahrenheit 9/11!!! The editorializing is horrible, but some of the stuff is funny as hell!

  4. John Doe says:

    The European far left always has been and always will be anti-American, regardless of American policy. They share the Islamists disdain for liberal democracy and its economic equivalent, capitalism.

    I’ve always thought the cultural gap within the West is between Anglos (descended from Britons) and Europeans. This divide also exists inside Canada and the United States. I have long thought that both countries would be better off if they broke apart into two or more smaller countries.