Only the most myopic observers would fail to see that any honeymoon that may have existed between Europe and the incoming Bush Administration has now all but vanished. The U.S. refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming has enraged European policymakers, for one, while Washington has blamed European allies for the loss of the U.S. seat on the U.N. Humans Rights Commission.
Now there is the long-awaited speech outlining official thinking on the future of Europe delivered May 28 by Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. It makes disheartening reading, and not only for the way Jospin dusts off decrepit economic notions, from state funding of Europe's entertainment industry to calling for new state-backed projects a la Airbus Industrie. Most disappointing are the repeated attacks on the U.S., as if anti-Americanism is a key part of being pro-European.
Stress exists in any partnership, but Jospin's tired barbs serve no useful purpose. True, he's playing to a domestic audience, but it's even doubtful whether that sort of thing plays all that well in La France Profonde anymore. What is needed is constructive criticism, such as the kind offered about the Bush Administration's missile defense plans by Europeans in the 19-nation North Atlantic Council on the very same day Jospin was delivering his speech. America's NATO allies are concerned about scrapping the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty between Washington and Moscow, which would seem to be implicit in the proposed missile defense project. But that is useful criticism. Jospin's knee-jerk anti-Americanism was anything but useful.