Europe may not be inclined to listen. Perhaps because of four solid years of calculated snubs in which everyone in that crowd from Dubya on down painted the Western European powers as "old Europe", out of step and irrelevant. And perhaps because the threat they're making -- restrictions on technology sales to European companies -- just isn't that impressive. An immediate export ban might be enough of an inconvenience long enough to slow things down -- until the Europeans can find alternate sources for whatever technology they need. And how much is there for which some Asian country doesn't have, or couldn't develop, an alternate source? And do we really want to run up the trade deficit, by encouraging people to find alternate sources for the few American products they're still willing to buy? At best, that'll slow things up by a year or two, which will be fine with the Chinese leadership -- they think about decades. In the long run, these threats are self-defeating. It's just bad policy.
But our Republican overlords in Washington seem to have a uniform approach when one of their pet policies runs into an inconvenient fact: they refuse to believe it:
- Tom DeLay would like to see the Ten Commandments posted in courts, and prayer in public schools. When people try to tell him that our constitution forbids the establishment of religion, he refuses to believe it. (via The Poor Man).
- Before the Iraq invasion, Republicans desperately wanted to believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, so they'd have an excuse to invade. And so they brushed aside the failure of weapons inspectors to find any, even when the CIA was telling them where to look. Now, an authoritative report has been published saying that there were no weapons to be found -- and seizing on a newly discovered collection of perfume bottles in the Iraqi desert, a highly-ranking member of the House leadership recently proclaimed the report to be wrong. He just will not believe it.
- Republicans are all worked up over a "fiscal crisis" in social security -- a "crisis" which, according to the worst projections, might result in fractional benefit cuts decades from now. Meanwhile, they continue to defend tax cuts which are causing a far more serious crisis in the much nearer term -- like right now. When anyone asks about this, they trot out phony budget estimates which show the deficit shrinking by half, once their "temporary" tax cuts expire and tax rates revert, as scheduled, to where they were under Clinton. And, out of the other side of their mouths, they argue that we need, for some reason, to make the tax cuts permanent. Don't bother trying to educate them about the real fiscal consequences -- they'll refuse to believe it.
- Another, slightly lower ranking Republican is out bragging about how he recommended directly to Dubya his one-step solution to several nasty problems in the Middle East: nuke Syria. If you try to explain why broiling millions of people, most of whom bear no responsibility for the actions of their government, is not the sort of thing that a country that wants to be well-regarded ought to do... do you think he'll listen?
And so on.
By the way, they believe that things are going just great in Iraq.
Of course, as Biden illustrates, denying reality
is, to some extent, a bipartisan thing in Washington these days.
Witness the continued efforts of Senator
Lieberman to find
a bipartisan non-solution to the non-problem of Social Security,
for no apparent reason other than a desire to be seen as Nice Folks by
the loons in power...
Acknowledgment that the threats to Europe might seem to work for a year or three added late...