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Online Journal

Bev Conover

A call this morning from an American in Paris, who heads up a French publishing house, further confirms what we have been hearing from contacts in Germany, Greece and Hungary : Europeans are terrified at the prospect of a George W. Bush presidency and are wondering if Americans have lost their good sense.

Canadians, too, are shaking in their boots.

One, emphasizing that Canada is next door to the U.S., told us, "Whatever happens to the U.S. happens to us all ... eventually."

An American journalist, who covered the war in Kosovo and is currently in Hungary, says all signs point to another explosion in Kosovo. Yet, Bush wants to pull the relatively small number of American troops out of the Balkans and let the European contingent of NATO go it alone. Worse, he lied when he claimed Americans made up the bulk of NATO forces in the region.

American troops constitute only 15 percent of the NATO peacekeeping force.

Our own Eva Adams in Berlin, recently said in an email, "Peacekeeping is gonna be a way of the past [under Bush]. 'We're gonna kill 'em.' And even though the Arab Summit resolution expressed the moderate view and prevailed over Saddam Hussein's declared call to prepare for a Holy War, I will be very surprised indeed if Bush doesn't do everything he can to capitalize on Saddam's statement. Come on, everybody, get ready for the global war that Saddam is calling for. No more peacekeeping. It demoralizes our soldiers.  NATO can worry about whether or not [ Yugoslav President Vojislav ] Kostunica can keep his very shaky hold on power in the Balkans all by themselves. We're outta there. We've got a bigger war to concentrate on."

Said Ms. Adams, "Since most everybody seems to have missed what Bush meant as he explained the role of the military is to 'fight and win war and therefore prevent war from happening in the first place,' Condoleeza Rice and Ari Fleischer are explaining it more clearly these days : 'The governor has made very clear [that] the role of our military should be to fight and win wars and not to be the peacekeepers around the world,' Fleischer told reporters."

The sentiment expressed by Ms. Adams, regarding the view from Germany, is echoed by a Middle Eastern source who also pointed to the current conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. While the Jordanians don't love Palestinians, they are favorable to the Iraqis, as they proved in Poppy Bush's Gulf War – a war Poppy provoked when his ambassador, April Glaspie, led Saddam to believe the U.S. would not intervene if he marched into Kuwait.

Kostunica has made it clear that Yugoslavia will not grant independence to Kosovo. If conflict again erupts between the Serbs and the Muslims, as some feel is inevitable, our NATO allies will be engaged in once again keeping the volatile Balkans contained and, in the absence of a U.S. presence in that region, are unlikely to concern themselves with anything Bush provokes Saddam Hussein into doing.

With the U.S. siding with Israel in the escalating Israeli-Palestinian battles, our allies in the Arab world are unlikely to join forces with Bush in going after Saddam, much let U.S. forces use their bases.

So from where does George W. launch his mother of all holy wars against Saddam? And with no allies to help, he better stockpile a large supply of body bags. If you add to the equation the fact that he has already insulted the Russians, who are apt to be more favorable to the Iraqis, can you say conflagration?

Americans abroad tell us they have been casting their votes, via absentee ballots, for Al Gore. Will Americans here also do likewise or have they become so "apolitical," as our contact in France says Americans are being viewed there, or so anti-intellectual that the major media can so easily sell them a bill of goods that Bush is the folksy guy next door you have a beer with?

Ms. Adams wrote, "A German woman questioned me the other day :
'Is it true the American people are so dumb that they're going to vote in Bush?'

I said I don't know. But I do know that if it doesn't become clear real soon to more people that a foreign policy of only fighting and winning war, while weakening the NATO Alliance and UN efforts to promote peacekeeping, would be an all out world catastrophe, then I concede that Americans are really dumb."

Dumber yet are the lemmings who intend to vote for that Pied Piper, Ralph Nader, and take us over the cliff with them. Contrary to Michael Moore's idealistic madness, this is not a vote about conscience; it's about survival.

Michael is wrong – dead wrong – when he says the horror tales raised in every presidential election never come to pass.

How quickly we forget, eh?

We can't say this too often : With Gore we have a chance to start undoing the damage wrought by Nixon, Reagan and Poppy.

With George W., there may not be even any rubble left to groove on.
That's why the prospect of another Bush in the White House so frightens our compatriots and friends abroad.


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