Saturday, August 6, 2011

Notes from The Hague

Being out of the reach of American cable network news has an amazingly refreshing effect on one’s sense of balance.  Even our short week’s visit to The Hague where the American debt crisis is seen as some kind of an American oddity rather than a world calamity provides perspective.  I haven’t met anyone here who has thought the Tea Party was anything other than a bizarre aberration of some kind, reminiscent of events in Germany in the 1930s.  Though most Dutch people seemed to have had great hope for Barrack Obama, that hope seems to have been dashed with his poorly handled domestic health care legislation and economic mishandling, and foreign misadventures, that seems to have even further isolated the US from our allies. One is struck by the greatly weakened position of the US in Europe with the growing strength of the European Union, China and India, as well to a lesser extent other emerging economies.  The Republican Party’s actions seem to be seen in Europe as indicating the extraordinarily egocentric naiveté and incompetence at governing that has overtaken the United States, which has seriously undermined our standing abroad.

The treatment Obama has received in the two years of his presidency simply wouldn’t have been tolerated by the populace in any European democracy.  The disgrace those actions have brought upon our nation is immeasurable and have caused more damage to our stature than nearly anyone at home seems to understand.

The Hague is site of the Peace Palace (pictured here) the site of International Tribunals for war criminals.  The Netherlands is seen as a neutral balanced power in international matters. 
 Everything isn’t rosy on the other side of the Atlantic, with racial and ethnic conflict throughout Euroupe, mainly revolving resentment toward Islamic fundamentalism though other national immigration issues are surging as issues here.  There is also great concern about bailing out the poorer neighbors and how far such aid should extend.  There are schisms among parties here as there is in the US, but nothing remotely approaching the stultifying effect of Republican ignorance and mismanagement’s effects on the American democracy.

We would be well advised to listen to our friends abroad and not just deranged people in the Right Wing of the Republican Party. 

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