President Bush is in Europe discussing Iran, among other things, with our “Allies.” Today, he was with German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, a social democrat. They claimed the differences over Iraq are behind them and that they are united against Iran’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons. I’m not sure how reliable such an expression of solidarity is coming from Schröder, but it is nice to have, nonetheless.
What struck me about this otherwise unremarkable development is the protestor pictured below. This woman apparently puts ideology before all common sense. I can certainly understand her opposition to the war. We should avoid war whenever possible (I assume she doesn’t oppose the American war effort to defeat the Nazis, but why complicate such questions?). But when she protests against Capitalism, that just makes me question her intelligence period. I am no economist, but it doesn’t take much more than Economics 101 at any college or university taught by someone who is not a Stalinist to convince someone with a small amount of common sense that capitalism is the very soul of a vibrant economy, which in turn, is a necessary prerequisite for prosperity and a high standard of living. It might be that a self-determining people might eventually choose to heavily regulate free market or replace it altogether with a social market economy (which still runs on the basic principles of capitalism and completely avoids central economic planning), but this can only really happen after capitalism has created a vibrant economy in the first place. Jumping too soon into a social market economy is a recipe for disaster, and once again, a social market economy, such as the one in Germany, still fully runs on principles of capitalism; the difference is that the people have chosen to part with more of their capitalistically earned wealth for the sake of providing welfare and entitlements to a larger segment of society on a broader range of issues.
The sign reads “No to War and Capitalism”
The other irritating thing is that European protestors always harp on the highly inaccurate idea that Bush is the real war criminal. This evidences a remarkable misunderstanding of international law. If they were aware of the international definitions of crimes, whether codified in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, or in principles of customary international law, or in UN treaties or conventions, then they would have to merely say that We wish international law were such that Bush were a war criminal. Whether the Iraq War was morally just or unjust is not the question here; rather, the question is whether it can serve as a basis for the accusation that Bush is a war criminal. Under the current state of international law, that case simply cannot be made.