Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Review: Free World by Timothy Garton Ash

A great review of what seems to be a great book:
The resulting political Venn diagram thus half-overlaps. Although Europe is largely devoid of anyone resembling a Republican, and America has no socialists, both Europe and America have the equivalent of American Democrats. It is in that intersecting space that Ash sees the "surprising future" he proclaims in the subtitle of this book -- the space where John Kerry's America makes common cause with Euro-Atlanticists. These two forces can, he believes, nudge the U.S. toward greater multilateralism and Europe toward closer trans-Atlantic cooperation.
Professor Fukuyama objects:
The first reason has to do with threat perception. Prosecuting the war on terrorism does not even appear as an item on Ash’s common agenda, and yet it is, and will necessarily remain, a preoccupation for any future occupant of the White House. Americans tend to believe that September 11 represents only the beginning of a new age of nihilistic, mass-casualty terrorism, while Europeans tend to think of it as a single lucky shot, of a kind familiar to them through their experience with the IRA or the Baader-Meinhoff gang.
Read the whole thing. Then read the book itself, or at least Ash's "We are all blue Americans now." column in the Guardian. This guy is on to something. I've spent a lot of time pointing out how the Euro-American divide is increasing, and it is essentially a very negative and depressing message. Timothy Garton Ash may be guilty of being overly optimistic (as this Prof. Fukuyama suggests) but at least he holds up a guiding light for American blue-staters and European pro-Atlanticists who otherwise don't know what to do.

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