Is the War on Terror Changing Europe’s Politics?

April 24, 2002

by Mary Mostert, Analyst - Banner of Liberty

The Tocqueville Connection, reporting from Marseille, said that French President Jacques Chirac in March portrayed his election battle with Prime Minister Lionel Jospin as a fight to dislodge Socialism from its last bastion in Europe. "We have got where we are because a Socialist logic has developed in France. It seems the word upsets some people, and some want to build Socialism without saying so."

At the time it was "a strong challenge" from the Left, from the Socialist Party, that was worrying Chirac. However, when the vote took place on Sunday, Jospin and the Socialists came in third. The threat came from the right, not the left, when Jean-Marie Pen, founder of Rally for the Republic, (RPR) with a platform that called for lower crime and fewer immigrants who commit crime. This knocked the Socialists out of the running for the first time in more than 20 years.

Le Pen’s anti-crime and anti-immigration policies "mounted sharply after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United State," Paris’ International Herald Tribune reported. His position became even firmer after North African immigrants booed the singing of the ’Marseillaise’ (the French National Anthem) at a soccer match between France and Algeria in Paris.

This brings to mind another European politician, Jorge Haider of Austria who campaigned on a similar nationalistic platform that blamed foreigners for many of the country’s problems, and opposed Austria joining the European Union. In 1999, he won in a landslide vote of the Austrian people, whereupon the European Union promptly slapped sanctions against Austria as punishment. So much for democracy, it appears. Increasingly, democracy in Europe means towing the line for European Union doctrine.

The sanctions were removed seven months later, after the EU leaders learned from a 43 page report issued by France that indicated sanctions were actually creating more "nationalist sentiments in Austria."

Another election of note last week was in Germany, where Gerhard Schröeder’s Social Democrat Party (SPD) suffered dramatic losses, as the conservative the CDU won by a landslide. In the East German state of Saxony-Anhalt, the CDU won with 37.6% of the vote, a sharp rise from 22% it achieved in 1998.

The Handelsblatt news quoted the winning conservative candidate, CDU’s Edmund Stoiber, as saying "the outcome of the elections were a clear signal for Berlin." He said "the general elections would also prove that voters had had enough of Schröder leading Germany to the bottom of the European rankings."

The elections appear to indicate there is a move away from there may be a move towards the George W. Bush view of the world and away from the Socialist view of Bush’s War on Terrorism. In general, socialists have ridiculed the president and his policies. As broadcaster Eric Margolis put it, "French newspapers called Bush a ’warmonger,’ and ’Texas cowboy.’ Britain’s leftwing Guardian labeled the Bush Administration, ’a presidency of dunces.’ Germany’s equally leftwing Speigel called the Bush entourage, ’snarling, ugly Americans.’" Much of Europe’s media and many politicians described Bush as aggressive, trigger-happy, know-nothing, prisoner executing, anti-abortion, Christian fundamentalist hick. Its best friends of high-handed unilateralism accused Washington.

Terrorism, the socialists say, can be controlled by diplomacy, not by fighting. Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung charged; "The president needs this war to push ahead with his domestic agenda, … as justification for his budget deficit and for the recession, … and because congressional elections are due this year..."

The French newspaper Le Monde "emphasizes the dangers arising from the warlike posture of Bush" and "stresses that the struggle against terrorism is a political task."

It seems we have been down this path before with Europe. Remember Munich? In September 1938, in Munich, Germany, Neville Chamberlain of Britain and Edouard Daladier of France signed an agreement with Adolf Hitler which gave Germany 11,000 square miles, a territory 3,000 square miles larger than Israel, of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia in exchange for Hitler’s empty promise to end his aggressive expansion.

The ink was hardly dry before Hitler seized the rest of Czechoslovakia in March of 1939. The land seized by Germany included most of Czechoslovakia’s industry, communications network, military outposts, and vital natural defenses.

The problem in Israel is not the lack of negotiations or even of signed negotiations. The problem is getting the first requirement of the signed agreements accomplished. UN Resolution 242, for example, was signed November 22, 1967 calling for "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;" and;

"Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."

The world media notwithstanding, it appears that many Europeans have decided that George W. Bush has a point. Appeasement through political agreements was the heart of the Clinton Administration’s foreign affairs policy. However, appeasement, especially of airplane hijackers, will not solve the personal security problems of the general public. Socialist governments have so watered down punishment for crime, or simply declared some things not to be a crime in the first place, if one’s motives’ are "right," that babies and old women killed by suicide bombers are somehow now the cruel enemy and the bombers the "martyrs."

Into this politically correct world, George W. Bush proclaims, in effect, "Either you are for terrorism or you are against it. Take your pick." It appears that a lot of Europeans are taking their pick.


Mary Mostert was writing professionally on political issues as a teen-ager in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1940s. In the 1960s, she wrote a weekly column for the Rochester Times Union, a Gannett paper and was one of 52 American women who attended the 17 Nation Disarmament Conference in Geneva, Switzerland to ban testing of nuclear bombs in the atmosphere. She was a licensed building contractor for 29 years, as she raised her six children. She served an 18 month mission as Public Affairs Director for the Africa Area for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1990-91. In the 1990s she wrote a book, Coming Home, Families Can Stop the Unraveling of America, edited the Reagan Monthly Monitor and talk show host Michael Reagan’s Information Interchange for seven years. She now operates the website, Banner of Liberty.

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