Anne Applebaum's Jan. 29 op-ed column, "Here Comes the New Europe," while trying to explain the dynamic of the "New Europe," overstated Spanish support for a war. Sure, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's government has offered the United States its bases, but U.S. troops have been stationed in Spain for decades. And internal polls show increasing discontent with the Aznar regime both for its bumbling handling of the Prestige oil spill crisis and for its perceived willingness to cower before foreign interests in an effort to make a name for itself on the world scene.
Europe, despite the unity its institutions often demand, remains divided in its approach to world affairs. It is this complexity that perplexes the Bush administration because it does not fit neatly into its "good-evil," "us-them," "dead-alive" binaries.
Anne Applebaum noted that "Britain, Italy, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Denmark, the Czech Republic . . . have recently undergone (or are undergoing) economic liberalization, privatization and labor-market reforms that have brought their economies at least marginally closer to ours."
Perhaps more significant, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic recently have experienced democratization, which has brought their political systems close to ours.
As this country's stated goal in Iraq, in addition to disarmament, is to liberate the people, give them a decent government and promote reform and stability in the region, the support and example of these newer democracies -- which have liberated themselves, given themselves decent governments and promoted reform and stability in the region -- could be invaluable.