Thursday 6 May 2010

Biden in the European Parliament: All quiet on the Western front

Joe Biden gave a 30 minutes speech in the European Parliament today.

Most of it was charming Brussels, Europe and the European Parliament, mixed with statements supporting human rights, privacy, peace and individual freedoms. But all this was intertwined with the obligatory "triple axis" as @martiadroher put it: "Security, Security, and Security".

He underlined that he wants to use Passenger Name Record (PNR) data and financial transaction data (SWIFT) to fight terrorism. He supported this with the success US authorities had in capturing the alleged Time Square terrorist thanks to PNR data (and probably other intrusive measures that are used against citizens who are not terrorists every day).

And he defended the need to be in Afghanistan, totally in line with the CIA recommendations (published by Wikileaks) on how to get more public support from Europe for this war (e.g. focus on civilian and policing aspects). His final sentence ended with the words "... and may God protect all our troops" which shows that this was his actual focus, these were the words he wanted us to be remembered: Troops, troops, troops.

It is not some God who should protect "our" troops, it should be politicians protecting them by not sending them to fight, especially not to places where you are not providing actual help for more security or democracy (Afghanistan is not peaceful at all after 9 years and Karzai is definitely not a democrat) but costing our societies so much money that one can rightfully blame these expenses as part of the debt problem that many European countries and the US are facing today.

Well, Mr Biden, that was a nice speech, but I'm not convinced, not a bit, that you actually bring the change you are advocating...!

PS: A German MEP has a picture on how Biden's speech looked from the plenary.

Update: Conor has also written about Biden's speech. Erin has reacted to the content of Biden's speech.


martinned said...

Mentioning God is never a good way to make a good impression in Europe...

(For the record, I'm guilty of that sin myself as well. If I had been in the room today, I probably would have had a little superior smile at the God-reference as well.)

André said...

EUX has got the video of the speech