Chick Diplomacy

The New Times reports that America has caught up with the Dixie Chicks. The article refers to the Incident. That’s when Chick Natalie Maines proclaimed her disdain for George Bush in London on the eve of the third Gulf War. The right wing forced country radio stations to boycott the Chicks. When their songs got no air time, the album sold “only” six million times.

As Americans have come to agree with them, the Chicks feel validated. They dedicated their new album to the Incident. While one needs to remember that they have been working on the album for over a year, the President’s low approval ratings can only help the Chicks’ marketing. It’ll be interesting to see if Americans embrace their leadership now that the Chicks turned out to be wiser than their president.

Speaking of which, not only do the Chicks and Americans agree about George Bush. So do Americans and the rest of the world. For the first time since 2003, Americans and their European cousins agree in their assessment of the Republican leader. While European conservatives have understood from the beginning the George Bush wasn’t one of them, American conservatives are realizing belatedly that he has damaged their movement and their program.

Chick Natalie Maines wanted to send a message that Americans have more in common with Europeans than it appeared at the moment. Her judgment turned out to be on target. The confluence of public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic is an opportunity to reforge the alliance of Western democracies.

May be, Europeans will even be willing to listen to country music once again.

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22 thoughts on “Chick Diplomacy

  1. It’s a shame that it has taken this long. I can’t say I like the Chicks’ music, but I admire them for speaking out when it was unpopular (unpatriotic?) to do so.

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  2. I’m uncomfortable building or “reforging” an alliance based on mutual hatred. If that which we hold in common is a hatred of a certain politician, it is not much of an alliance.And when Americans make a comment on politics in some other country, it is paternalistic, inexcusable, arrogant hubris and imperialism. But Americans are supposed to feel cozy when Europeans hate their leaders as much as they do.Ronan, what is the shame, exactly? That Americans in general were dumber than the Dixie Chicks?

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  3. “the Right crushed dissent”? Ronan, please. People are free to boycott when they don’t like what they hear. That is not crushing dissent; that is freedom, not crushing dissent. (I assume here you are referring to how the Dixie Chicks had a difficult time selling albums when many of their fans didn’t agree with their political views.) If this had been a liberal base boycotting the conservative comment of an otherwise liberal band, then the boycott would have been “speaking truth to power” and not “crushing dissent.” You really surprised me on this one, Ronan.

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  4. Europeans and Americans are not united because they hate George W. Bush but because Americans are recovering a sense of reality about the nature of international politics.

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  5. On what basis should this renewed alliance be formed? Americans have learned that Europe (aside from the UK) does not support them in their perceived foreign policy needs. What is your argument against a renewed Isolationism rather than a renewed transatlantic alliance? Is it not a valid lesson to be taken from the Iraq experience that America needs to stop being the world’s policeman and should just leave the world to its own devices? Why should America not adopt a new policy of no intervention anywhere? Does America have to intervene and try to solve problems in volatile regions, whether Yugoslavia, Iraq, Darfur, the Koreas, or whatever in order for its businesses to continue international transactions? Perhaps what America should learn from Iraq and the world’s hatred of its politicians is that our military truly should be for defense and not for use abroad. Bring them all home, right now. Keep them here, defending the homeland and perhaps our merchant vessels as they travel around the world. Why should complete disengagement not be the proper course after Iraq?I am not saying that I actively advocate these things, but I am interested in your answers to these questions.I will be, however, long disillusioned by everything that has happened.

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  6. John, your questions are straw men. Just because many feel Iraq was a mistake, doesn’t mean, say, a US-led no-fly zone over Darfur would also be a mistake. It’s not a question of intervention vs. no intervention, it’s a question of the right intervention vs. the wrong intervention. Don’t make it all or nothing.Back to the Chicks: yeah, “crushed” is a tad hyperbolic. How about, “the Right wing (AM radio, Fox News, the White House) encouraged an atmosphere where dissent was considered unpatriotic”?

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  7. Ronan, those questions are not straw men. What, are you suggesting, are the “right interventions”? If the UN agrees with it, then it is the right intervention for America? Darfur is the right intervention and Iraq was wrong?Could the world’s reaction to Iraq be influencing the Administration’s willingness to act on Darfur? If so, would that be wrong or unjustified?And what is the argument against a new Isolationism, like in the early twentieth-century only better because of America’s current prosperity and power? On what basis should America ever intervene again? America was criticized for intervention in both Yugoslavia and Iraq — by the same people. What is wrong with drawing back when such a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” state of things reveals itself?

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  8. John, it’s not like the United States had no support. There is a lot of support for the war on terror. There just was not support for pipe dreams, wishful thinking, and cronyism.

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  9. HL: It seems that what the USA has support for is sending its military and spending its money on intervening and cleaning up problems that the international community thinks are “right” and there is little, if any, support for America flexing its muscle for its own perceived reasons. The “international community”, such as it is, is perfectly justified in only wanting to support the USA when it is footing the bill and providing the hardware for the projects that the community wants taken care of. That is only sensible of them. Why would they or should they want to pay for something themselves when they can call in the world’s policeman on the American taxpayer’s dime? It would be idiotic of them not to take the position that they have. But isn’t it justified to ask whether the USA has been idiotic to play along with this? What does the USA gain from doing so? Well, NOT support for the invasion of Iraq when it perceived a need to do so in the interest of its own security. The question remains about whether the USA is not justified to conclude from the Iraq experience that a new Isolationism is the right course for America in the twenty-first century. The tin-pot dictatorships, kakistocracies, and cleptocracies will just have to repair themselves from within after things get so insufferable for the people living there that they take the initiative and rise up and change things themselves. HL, when people honestly think (honestly but irrationally) that the USA is a bigger threat to the world than terrorist states with nukes, then why is Isolationism not a justified conclusion? Platitudes about helping our fellow man are insufficient because they are too abstract in the face of actual experience as the world’s policeman.

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  10. My question focuses on whether such conclusions are not valid in light of the Iraq experience, not whether your personal political philosophy agrees with them.

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  11. John, there was no need to invade Iraq. Iraq was contained. Saddam Hussein spent two billion dollars on his military. We spent more than that in half a week. By the time of the invasion, it was painfully obvious that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Even if there had been, the inspectors were in the country and operated effectively. Most importantly, Iraq was not an ally of Al Quaeda. America’s allies have no obligation to engage into foolishness.Contrast the third and the second Gulf War. America didn’t have to pay a dime to liberate Kuwait. Japan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Germany covered the bill. That’s because George Herbert Walker Bush had created trust, acknowledged reality, and pursued clearly defined obectives.

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  12. Isolationism no longer meets the needs of the United States. Sputnik and September 11 are only the most spectacular reminders of America’s connections with the the world. The American economy also relies on foreign investment to a greater degree than ever before.Fortunately, there are a lot of options between adventurism and isolationism. I wrote about one prerequisite for the successful projection of power < HREF="http://headlife.blogspot.com/2006/03/multilateralism.html" REL="nofollow">here<>.

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  13. Why do you seem hesitant at the suggestion that America actually give the world what it wants: American disengagement with the internal affairs of other countries.

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  14. HL: why would a new Isolationism interfere with foreign investment in America or in Americans’ investment abroad? America doesn’t have to bomb Serbia or invade Iraq in order for its businesses to be successful Europe, South America, and Asia, etc.

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  15. Your assumption that most foreigners want America to go home is not correct, John. Most Europeans, for example, see the United States as a force for good. What Europeans do not appreciate are leaders that ignore reality, politicize science and intelligence, and enrich themselves and their cronies.If there is a reasonable project and a decision making process that involves the allies as partners then there will be lots of support for United States foreign policy.

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  16. HL: I disagree with what you state is the predominant European view of the USA. If you doubt my experience and insight into Europe, Ronan will vouch for my impeccable European credentials as far as interest, knowledge, and education. It simply is not true that most French, Germans, and Spanish believe that the USA is a force for good. They believe that the USA is a greater threat to world peace than Iran and North Korea and other terrorist organizations and rogue states.

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  17. The impression I have gotten through much experience in Europe is that they typically despise the USA unless the topic is rock and roll, movies, or other such things. There is an undercurrent of disgust with the USA and an unspoken wish that the USA was not involved around the world. Sure it was fine when it was spending its blood and treasure to protect Western Europe from the slave empire on its borders, but (now) even that is viewed as only a self-serving realpolitical machination of the evil USA.I would love it if you could prove me wrong. But I honestly do not believe you can.

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  18. Yes, it is true that French and Germans like American pop culture. What they don’t like are ideologues who invoke the bible to discredit reason. They don’t like crusaders who call for the assassination of foreigners. They are amazed that such characters could wield so much influence in American politics. That doesn’t mean that Europeans don’t admire other aspects of the American experience or wouldn’t acknowledge the role that the United States has played in the history of liberty.That’s why it was important for other Americans to remind us that not everyone likes George Bush.As Americans have come to reject the adventurism of the Bush administration, the transatlantic gap has narrowed. Things are going to be better.

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  19. <>That doesn’t mean that Europeans don’t admire other aspects of the American experience or wouldn’t acknowledge the role that the United States has played in the history of liberty.<>I simply disagree with this. Sorry. Agenda has taken over pop history as well.

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