This post from Pathetic Earthlings about possible effects of Facism on the stance against terrorism of various countries (France, Germany, Spain, and Iraq) made me want to say "Blogga, please!" At first blush, the idea that their previous authoritarian governments is affecting current European foreign policy seems rational.

But George's arguments leave rationality back in 1945. I would argue that the primary reason that the governments of both France and Germany wish to regain their former status of world powers. One of the easiest ways to differentiate their foreign policy is to take a different position than the United States.

But I believe George was claiming that the populations of France, Germany, and Spain (I am going to ignore Iraq, for purposes of simplicity) have somehow been stunted by their fascist history:

How can a civilized people let themselves slip into Fascism? And how can any people so recently freed from under the Fascist boot not recognize it on their own doorstep? Or do they recognize it all too well, and let intimacy provide the fatal pause?

While the above quote might make sense if France, Germany, and Spain were all one country (FrancEspana-Deutschland, perhaps?) with a shared history. Last time I checked, France never "slipped" into Fascism; it was conquered by Nazi Germany. And despite gw's comments on the supposed low numbers of the Free French (Do you think it was simple to escape to London?), there was an active Resistance movement in France, especially after the Normandy invasion. And while recent events might possibly classify as fascism at Europe's "doorstep," it is a huge stretch. The abject absurdity of Iraq being a danger to Europe (especially since George suggests that at least France was collaborating with Hussein) is so obvious, I refuse to talk about it further.

Virtually the only point I agree with is that populations that do not have the same liberal democratic traditions of government as American tend to be more forgiving of authoritarian governments (although I would use Russia and China as my examples, rather than Europe). But this is by no means a blanket fact. I would like to see how George would explain the significant part of the British population that did not support the war, considering their abject lack of past fascist governments.

Excepting Spain, France and Germany stopped being a part of the Third Reich a long time ago. Long enough so that significant amounts of their population do not actually remember Nazism. This makes George's idea of a "national Stockholm Syndrome" even more suspect.