News - Should we care what Europe thinks of George Bush and his policies?

No. We now have a leader who won't back down from European horror over American common sense

So the Europeans have their knickers all askew because they don't care for our new president and his policies on missile defense, the death penalty and climate change.

All together now: Let's just not give a damn. After eight years of having the American president's lips firmly planted on European derrieres, this new state of affairs is refreshing. After all, should we really care that much about opinions from countries where men eat snails and women don't shave their armpits?

And lectures from Spaniards and Italians on human rights? I think not. The U.S.-European "alliance" goes something like this: We save their collective butts when they screw things up (World Wars I and II and the Balkans crisis, for instance) and keep the bad old Russians from their door. In return, they criticize everything we say and whine about everything we do.

European socialist politicians have been among the harshest critics of President Bush's missile defense plan. But if (after we build and pay for it) some crazy despot threatens to lob a missile into one of their theme-park cities, you can bet they'll want us to deploy it. And we will, because that's what we do.

If modern civilization is indeed endangering the planet by causing the climate to warm (an unproved thesis that's a column for another day), it will be American technological know-how that solves the problem. And we will be criticized by Europeans, even for saving the planet, because that's what they do.

The good news is that we now have a leader who won't back down in the face of European horror over American common sense. Bush, like any Texan worth his boots, isn't interested in currying favor with the quiche-and-brie set.

On his recent tour of the Continent, he seemed to get along much better with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Perhaps he and Putin had a good laugh at the notion that the prime minister of Sweden thinks anyone cares about Swedish opinion on matters more weighty than meatballs.

Don't get me wrong — I think we should be engaged in Europe. We've seen what can happen when we let Europeans handle their own affairs without adult supervision. And it's a great place for us to vacation.

But despite its many charms, Europe is chock full of some mighty ungrateful people. Taking heed of their ungrateful chatter would only give it validity — and probably encourage even more.

Instead, we should just take Bush's lead: Patiently listen to them whine, smile and then do what's best for our own country.??

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