Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Don't Blame Religion

Javier Solana is profiled in the FT:

Mr Solana says Europe and the US are growing further apart. The reason, he says, is a "cultural phenomenon", one that goes beyond the pattern of US foreign policy swinging between unilateralism and multilateralism. This time the unilateralist pendulum is different. It is, says Mr Solana, being swung by religion.

Culture, right. The simple fact is that America supports Israel for electoral reasons (albeit with a large religious component) because it can. Unlike France, the UK and Germany it can afford to annoy a hundred million screaming A-rabs, and we poor Europeans can't. Thus it can afford to confront them on a peripheral matter for domestic interest.

When Britain was the hegemon we did this sort of stuff all the time (indeed the Balfour declaration was made at a time when we mistakenly thought we were the hegemon). No doubt lesser powers thought it was because we were more religious than they were.


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