Pity poor Europe (NOTE TO AMERICANS: the UK is not Europe). What was once a collection of the most powerful states the world has ever seen has now been reduced to a bunch of whiners trying to have it all their way.
The latest craze is to claim how the USA is doing everything unilaterally and not asking anyone (i.e. Europe) their opinion. Listen carefully folks. What they're actually saying is "You are bad because you're putting your interests ahead of ours!" Well, duh.
As a great man once said, before complaining about the mote in your friend's eye be sure to first remove the beam in yours. The French are the most pitiful of the bunch. They made news all over the place when they pitched a fit over echelon. Want to know how France figured out we were listening to some of their conversations? We let everyone (everyone, not just our buddies) know they were bribing every third world official they could get their hands on to win international business contracts.
Then they start talking about the Kyoto treaty. Who the hell do you think was putting its entire auto industry out of business with clean air acts thirty years ago? A lot of European cars weren't brought over to the USA after 1969 because they didn't comply with even basic emission standards of the time. It took decades for the Europeans to set air quality standards as high as ours.
Then we start hearing about how we're part of the problem in the war on terrorism because we don't call the EU every time we think about scratching our ass. They'll do this with a straight face! Remember a few years ago when we did what they asked and let them try to handle the Balkans on their own? The result? Death camps we thought had gone out of style sixty years ago. A set of civil wars that made them long for the good old days when all it took to settle matters was an army of teenagers, a trench, and some machine guns. And we still had to go in and clean it up for them.
And what a mess that turned out to be. Think Johnson picking out Vietnamese targets on the White House lawn was bad? These poor airmen had to have targets approved by the politicians of six or seven different countries before they could drop a bomb. Europe had quite merrily dismantled their defense industries and military when the Sovs pulled up stakes from eastern Europe. The damned things were expensive! Of course, now they have to ask us for rides when they want to go help (cause trouble) somewhere in the world, but hey, that just shows you how unilateral and uncaring we are, making them hitch rides like that.
And don't start about how if we'd just be a little more sophisticated about things how it would all be a lot easier. The vast, vast majority of the problems the world is dealing with today were caused at root by Europeans and their policies.
Want to know why Africa can't find its way out of a paper sack with a map, compass and flashlight? That's what happens when a bunch of white guys with boats and guns get together (sometimes literally on a dark night) and draw lines on a map to suite themselves. How can anyone possibly be amazed? These borders were drawn specifically to cause internal strife and weak governments. They weren't, and aren't there to help. They were, and are, there to make Europeans money.
Asia only tossed the Europeans out when Japan showed them it was possible. Of course, before you think Japan is one of the "good guys" please remember that they were only interested in setting up their own little colonial empire. The only reason they're still not a problem is because we a) wrote their constitution for them (the one they wrote for themselves would've put Tojo back in business in two years) b) helped finance their country's reconstruction and c) sat on them all until the old soldiers literally faded away.
The only reason anybody cares about the middle east is they happen to be sitting on the largest, easiest-to-get-at oil reserves in the world. This fact alone is enough to enrage the entire Arabic intelligencia, who have been raised from birth with the myth of Islam as an irrisistable force historically destined to take over the entire planet. The roots of many of the Palestinians' problems go to the baldly self-serving and conflicting secret agreements the Europeans (and this time it includes the UK) made with all the parties involved in W.W.I. They sold shares for that particular bridge six times over to everyone and anyone interested.
Are we any better? Yes, but not much. We at least believe there are higher principles to be served. Most of us anyway. We don't pay enough attention to what our government and corporations are doing overseas, and a lot of us don't care even when we do. The rest of the world needs to realize that we don't trust our government any more than they do. The times in history when we did correspond roughly to the times in history when our government and industry caused the most trouble. We want to trust them, which is why we have to be taught and retaught that people who try that hard to be powerful are, at the very least, people who need to be watched very carefully.
So if you're a European, please get over the fact you don't run the world any more. It's your own damned fault we do. If you're an American, please realize that what happens in the outside world is important and no, it's not so far away and yes, it does affect you and yes, you should, must, care.
And please, stop whining and just get on with it.