Three years ago, in December 2003, I attended a conference on law and natural language processing in Utrecht, The Netherlands. 90% of the conference was over my head, but I still had a great time touring Utrecht, Amsterdam, Brussels and Bruges for a week. So good a time that two years later I took a return trip, this time just to Brussels and Bruges, and just for vacation. December is a good time to go to Europe–flights and hotels are cheaper, and there aren’t many American tourists, just Brits and Germans. And during the last couple of years of the Bush administration, I’ve really felt a need to get away from America and Americans for a while.
Now it looks like I’m not the only one:
The news from Great Britain this morning is all abuzz about the Think Tank report that says that the new government after Tony Blair leaves office must distance itself from the United States and move more toward Europe as a matter of foreign policy survival due to the debacle that is Iraq. Think about that for a moment.
Britain and the United States have been staunch allies for decades. In six short years, George W. Bush has managed to take the United States’ staunchest ally and send it screaming into the arms of the rest of Europe….
Iraq is a mess — and the failure of planning and the failure of even coming to terms with this mess on any level within the Bush Administration, leaves us stranded in a quagmire of our own making, floundering for all the world to see, to shake their heads, and then plan how they should best move forward. Without us.
The myth of American superiority has been punctured, most likely irreperably, by the idiocy of George Bush’s policies and failures. Nations which once worked with us — not just because we were working on issues of import to them, but also because it was in their long-term interest to do so with a nation which controlled so much of the economic and military and other resources throughout the world, as well as had its finger on the pulse of so many spheres of influence at once…all of these nations have learned to get by without having to rely on any favor from the United States whatsoever.
Go read the whole thing.