Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'We Can't Be All Bad All of the Time'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'We Can't Be All Bad All of the Time'

Article excerpt


EUROPE is getting too big for its boots, according to Dr Henry Kissinger, who is still vigorous enough, opinionated enough, to put his imprint on Washington's thinking during a televised question-and-answer session.

Dr Kissinger said that previously the United States regarded European unity as a positive thing, a blessing.

Now the unifying principle was "bash America". "The temptation of Europeans is to try to organise Europe on an anti-American basis. To say, whatever Europe is, it disagrees with the United States.

It is opposed to us on a whole host of issues. And I have said to European friends that it is statistically impossible that America is always wrong.

Occasionally, we have to do something right," he said. Dr Kissinger added that the country now had the "ridiculous" situation where Russia was likely to come to terms with Washington on missile defence before the Europeans did.

But the burning question for many Americans is, why do they have a president who with every action seems to want to make the country different?

Mr Bush's biographers claim to trace the seeds of an anti-European animus back to his roots and upbringing. It is not simply anti-European, they say, but also against Europeans' claims to be more mature, more modern, morally superior in every way. The secret of Mr Bush's world view is that he is the first regional president in a generation - the first since a Georgian peanut farmer named Jimmy Carter moved into the White House. An odd state of affairs.

As a Texan, Bush is more silver spoon than cowboy boots and decidedly more sophisticated than America's last Texan president, Lyndon B Johnson. He grew up among the rich oil elite, went to an expensive private school in the East and on to Yale and Harvard. Yet those who know him well say it was exactly the contrast between Texas and the ivy-clad pinnacles of the Wasp intellectual jihad that formed his beliefs.

"George Bush is very Texan, and he became so because of his resentment of the eastern Establishment that served his father so well," said Robert Strauss in a recent interview. …

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