For the past few days, I've been absorbed by this book, The Cellist of Sarajevo. It's set during the siege of Sarajevo and follows four people. For two of them, the story traces the events of just one day. For two others, it spans 22 days. Overall, it's a beautiful meditation on what makes us human in the midst of inhumanity.
The thing is, I kept thinking, where was Europe as one of it's modern cities was being slowly exterminated?! Four years. The siege lasted four years. Four years of a city with a tunnel that could have evacuated every member, only the tunnel was controlled by those who became rich selling aid-supplies to starving inhabitants. Four years of risking sniper fire darting across streets where you used to sip coffee at a sidewalk café. Four years of expecting that someone, somewhere would come to the rescue.
We, the United States, get judged for intervening around the world. Judged most harshly by European countries. I thought our intervention in Afghanistan had some justification, the one in Iraq seemed wrong from the start. I'm not defending that action at all. Yet, Europe did nothing when the trouble was in its own land. Instead they waited for the United States to act. One could argue that was before the EU. Before Europe had the means or the will to act as one. (I fully acknowledge my understanding of the politics of the Balkan conflicts is murky at best . . .)
Except it's happening again in Georgia. Especially after all their protests about US behavior, why should they look to the US for any level of involvement?! Don't bitch at us for leaving our own borders and then turn around and whine that you want us involved in your own backyard.
From an article in the NY Times:
Still, Europe is taking comfort, as usual, “in the idea of mediating between Washington and Moscow.”