Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A European view: Brown meets Bush


Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Kanishk Tharoor offers an interesting take on British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's chat with George W.

Gone -- as has become de facto British policy now -- was any reference to the "war on terror" (indeed, Brown is now meticulous in his noun usage, eschewing the vaguely existential "terror" for "terrorism"). Instead, terrorism in Brown-speak comprises a "crime against humanity". This is a useful expression; it maintains all the spacious implication of the "war on terror" while clearly placing terrorism in the context of law and order.

Many European countries -- particularly Spain -- have been unequivocal in their rejection of the Bush administration's martial approach to counterterrorism. Terrorists must be treated as criminals, embedded as they are in shady and intricate networks that resemble those of organised crime. Terrorism is best prosecuted (and prevented) not with bombs and special forces, but judges, close detective work and a commitment to the rule of law and the international system that forms its roof. ...

The British PM is distancing himself from the folly of the neo-con enterprise, but not so far from the underlying Cold War construction of the "special relationship". It may well be, therefore, that he is deliberately helping to lay out the sheets for getting snug into bed with an old-fashioned Democratic incumbent in the White House. Then what will they do about Iran?

What can we do about them?

1 comment:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Jan, this is good. It's a whole different view of the problem of terrorism from that of the Bush maladministration to place it in perspective as a crime rather than a war to be fought.

Framed in that way, the Congress and the American people would, perhaps, not have gone along with the madness.

With the exception of a brave souls, the Democrats in Congress seem to have signed on to having troops at some level in Iraq virtually forever. The weenies!

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