Friday, November 10, 2006

Old Europe, New Europe and Rumsfeld

Pieter Dorsman makes a couple of good points regarding Rumsfeld's departure as Defense Secretary. Donald Rumsfeld may not be remembered for his diplomacy, but he did observe accurately a "New Europe/Old Europe" divide.

...this old-new analogy will be part of the Rumsfeld lexicon and stay with us for a long time. It was one of the things he was absolutely right about. There is a distinction between the tired, careful, economically moribund and static part of Europe personified by especially Chirac’s France and Schroeder’s Germany and the dynamic and pragmatic youngsters that are building something new on the rubble of the former Soviet Empire. Poland, the Czech Republic, the Baltic states: they know exactly what they missed out on for some fifty years and are in a serious hurry to reclaim it, unhindered by strife-inducing immigration, regulation and deep complacency.

The European center of gravity seems to be shifting Eastward. It's too soon to come to any conclusions about what that might mean, but one thing is plain: most Americans are blissfully unaware of any such trend and unfortunately couldn't care less. Donald Rumsfeld at least did his homework.

His link to this 2003 BBC column is worth reading.

Dorsman is a Dutch expat. I regard his blog as as reliable source of informed opinion about anything regarding Europe in general and The Netherlands in particular.

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