Sunday, October 19, 2008

What Has America Done for Europe?

I was at a pub last night discussing politics with a group of friends. We talked about the US presidential election this November and various other topics. Throughout our friendly chat, I was reminded once again why the US, and the world, needs Barack Obama. Our image around the world has been very badly tarnished by the Bush administration, and a new Obama administration would do all it can to improve America's prestige around the world. That is the least he could do.

In the middle of our chat, a brilliant young lady from Germany asked me, "What has the United States done for Europe?" That question took me by a surprise. After all, the US was deeply involved in both World Wars, Europe's post war reconstruction, the Cold War, and a million other projects and initiatives directly benefiting Europe. Before going any further, allow me to make a full and complete disclosure. I am very aware of the fact that America's involvement in Europe was also aimed at preserving and protecting US interests. Having said that, it is justified to say that Europe benefited greatly from America's presence and support in the continent.

To prove this point, I am going to pose a few questions. What would have happened to Europe without an American intervention in WWII? Could Britain defeat Nazi Germany alone? Could the Soviets push the Germans back without a Western front opened by the US? What about the post war years? Could Europe pay for its reconstruction after having fought a bloody and costly war? What about the fight against communism and the USSR? Was it not the US that carried out the massive "Berlin airlift?" Was it not the US that helped West Germany secure its borders, and then committed American men and women to defend Germany against a possible invasion from the east? What about Bosnia and Kosovo? Was it not NATO, lead by the US, that stopped a genocide in the Balkans? These are just a handful of examples I came up with in five minutes.

You tell me. What has the US done for Europe?

When Churchill was defeated at the election, after WWII, he said: "people has not the right, but the must, to forget". Forget as an engine, a necessary hard rule for change, in History.

During cold war, ask: "What has the US done for Europe" meant be part of left (or extreme right) party, or left culture.
When USSR collapsed, lot of things are changed. All international situation changed. Europe changed: EURO, Germany unified. And US changed as well. What seemed once necessary, as NATO, and US soldiers and bases in Europe territory , is felt now as a violation of our sovereignty. And so, if we have a look back at the former century's history, easily people put their eyes more on reason of US interests, and less on the undoubtable good consequences of those interests for european countries.
On the other hand, for the first time, US State secretary (Mrs Clinton) goes, as first trip abroad, not in Europe but in China.
Sorry for my english :)

Antonio Gentilucci (Italy)
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I agree with your thoughts. I have realized the things that Obama done for US. Peoples like barak Obama as he is a good politician than a good person.
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