The WaPo editorial
on the eve of the President's trip to Europe concedes high quality diplomacy is coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., even if it's not yet coming out of Europe. It's a remarkably well toned editorial for a paper that would run multiple editorials weekly against Bush, but there are eyebrow-raisers like this:
Though anxious to mend relations with the United States, European governments remain broadly skeptical about a Middle East strategy centered on "spreading freedom." [And they're waving around a blank sheet of paper that details their options.] Many don't entirely accept Mr. Bush's premise that a Cold War-like struggle against a global enemy is getting underway. [Even if they only "partially accept" it, do they have any alternative but fighting against it?] They may be willing to help a little more with Iraq and Afghanistan and will support Palestinian state building. But they are less interested in elections than in prodding Israel for steps toward a peace settlement. [How does Palestine rate equal standing with Iraq and Iran? And isn't progress being made there without Europe?] They also are committed to a strategy of negotiating with Iran's existing regime about the country's nuclear program [... and they've only got about six months to accomplish it, so they'd better have a Plan B] and are pressing for U.S. participation in an eventual bargain. And they have priorities not on Mr. Bush's list: global warming [global warming, real or not, is on the list; Kyoto isn't], aid for African development [read the White House policy on Africa here] and U.S. acceptance of a lifting of Europe's embargo on arms sales to China [Sure, now that they've lost Saddam as am arms customer, they've got to find a new market].
Europe is definitely a place that has to be led, not followed.