Europe, Endless

As you may remember, at the start of the war against Iraq ten years ago, Donald Rumsfeld was asked about the widespread opposition to the invasion, especially in Europe, which stood in marked contrast to European support for previous American military endeavors.  His reply:

“Now, you’re thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don’t. I think that’s old Europe. If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the center of gravity is shifting to the east. And there are a lot of new members.  Germany has been a problem, and France has been a problem.  But you look at vast numbers of other countries in Europe. They’re not with France and Germany on this, they’re with the United States.”

While there has clearly been a major shift in the power balance in Europe — away from the snooty, wimpified West with its effeminate citizenry, unseemly tolerance for Islam, and highfalutin internet access and food purity laws, and towards the dynamic, manly East with its frontier capitalism, git-er-done attitude, and morning-fresh awareness of democracy and human rights — the details of what exactly we mean by “Old Europe” and “New Europe” is rather vague.  I have therefore compiled this handy guide for travelers:  learn where you are, what you’re doing, who you should avoid, and most importantly, whether or not the country to which you’re considering a visit is a staunch ally in the war on terror, or a vacillating aggregation of wobbly surrender-monkeys.

NATION:  Albania
STATUS:  New Old New Europe (committed troops to the Coalition of the Willing, but only in non-combat roles)
TROOPS COMMITTED:  120
CASUALTIES:  0
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  shrugging, telling Marines “I wish I could help, really”
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  fiery political rhetoric
NOW KNOWN FOR:  actual fires

NATION:  Andorra
STATUS:  Old Europe (did not commit troops to the CotW)
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  no military
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  highest life expectancy in Europe
NOW KNOWN FOR:  lowest fun expectancy in Europe

NATION:  Armenia
STATUS:  New Europe (committed to the CotW)
TROOPS COMMITTED:  46
CASUALTIES:  0
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  never complaining about the noise Mongolia made in the next tent
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  that little unpleasantness a while back with the Turks
NOW KNOWN FOR:  famous tourist attraction, a city in the sky

NATION:  Austria
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  had to work the next day
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  birthplace of Freud, Mozart and Wittgenstein
NOW KNOWN FOR:  birthplace of Hitler

NATION:  Azerbaijan
STATUS:  New Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  150
CASUALTIES:  0
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  operating the ear-piercing kiosk at the new Sadr City megamall
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  nothing
NOW KNOWN FOR:  being the only country in western Asia that doesn’t end in “-istan”

NATION:  Belarus
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  too much coffee, man
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  intimate familiarity with the underside of Soviet thumbs
NOW KNOWN FOR:  delicious drink made from vodka, Kahlua and cream

NATION:  Belgium
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  big argument between Flemish & Walloons
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  tasty waffles
NOW KNOWN FOR:  being the most boring country in Europe

NATION:  Bosnia and Herzegovina
STATUS:  New Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  36
CASUALTIES:  2
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  demanding two checks from Bush administration because, really, when you think about it, they’re two separate countries and all
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  being a completely different country
NOW KNOWN FOR:  statue of Bruce Lee

NATION:  Bulgaria
STATUS:  New Old Europe (committed troops to CotW, but then withdrew them)
TROOPS COMMITTED:  462
CASUALTIES:  13
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  ‘locating’ land mines
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  supplying incompetent hitmen to SMERSH in Ian Fleming novels
NOW KNOWN FOR:  Julia Kristeva

NATION:  Croatia
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  if Bosnia and Herzegovina is doing it, it must be lame
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  the Yugo
NOW KNOWN FOR:  ethnic cleansing

NATION:  Czech Republic
STATUS:  Old New Old Europe (had troops in CotW, but withdrew them)
TROOPS COMMITTED:  96
CASUALTIES:  0
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  beer runs
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  being forced to double-date with Slovakia
NOW KNOWN FOR:  providing home away from home for drunken American students

NATION:  Denmark
STATUS:  New Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  550
CASUALTIES:  5
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  irritating terrorists with series of crude cartoon drawings
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  brooding Prince Hamlet
NOW KNOWN FOR:  delicious ham

NATION:  Estonia
STATUS:  New Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  35
CASUALTIES:  2 (highest percentage of losses in the Coalition)
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  high-quality pornography
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  cacaphonous, bewildering folk dances
NOW KNOWN FOR:  flat tax which has ushered in ‘economic miracle’ for many happy foreigners

NATION:  Finland
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  afraid their frost-covered bodies would melt in desert heat
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  cell phone manufacturing
NOW KNOWN FOR:  high suicide rate

NATION:  France
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  didn’t want to risk possibility of winning a war
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  cultural capitol of the world
NOW KNOWN FOR:  butt of cheap jokes by conservative pundits

NATION:  Georgia
STATUS:  Super-New Europe (has committed  more troops to the CotW than originally pledged)
TROOPS COMMITTED:  850
CASUALTIES:  0
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  smiling patiently when US Army troops hollered “Hey, I’m from Georgia too!”
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  many, many portraits of Josef Stalin
NOW KNOWN FOR:  ‘Tibilisi, The Atlanta of the Georgia That Atlanta Isn’t In’

NATION:  Germany
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  “no way are you blaming THIS one on us”
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  Europe’s economic giant
NOW KNOWN FOR:  being the anti-France

NATION:  Greece
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  foresaw few opportunities for yelling “OPAA!”
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  birthplace of civilization, art, commerce, drama, democracy
NOW KNOWN FOR:  birthplace of deprivation, sodomy, bankruptcy, insolvency, austerity

NATION:  Hungary
STATUS:  New Old Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  300
CASUALTIES:  1
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  going on snipe hunts
ONCE KNOWN FOR: historical birthplace of the Rubik’s Cube
NOW KNOWN FOR:  competing with Turkey for country used most often in lame puns

NATION:  Iceland
STATUS:  New Old Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  7 (MAN WAY TO GO ICELAND!)
CASUALTIES:  0
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  leaving
ONCE KNOWN FOR: ice
NOW KNOWN FOR:  Björk

NATION:  Ireland
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  too drunk
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  loud-mouthed, inebriated brawling
NOW KNOWN FOR:  loud-mouthed, inebriated economy

NATION:  Italy
STATUS:  New Old Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  1600
CASUALTIES:  33
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  managing to keep their government from collapsing for the entire duration of their stay in Iraq
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  fashion, cuisine, industry
NOW KNOWN FOR:  the Mafia

NATION:  Kazakhstan
STATUS:  New Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  29
CASUALTIES:  1
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  being at the vanguard of the New Europe despite technically being located in Asia
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  Cossacks
NOW KNOWN FOR:  Borat

NATION:  Latvia
STATUS:  New Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  136
CASUALTIES:  1
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  Doombots
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  lunkheaded hockey players
NOW KNOWN FOR:  Ingride Udre, the hottest Speaker of the House since Tip O’Neill

NATION:  Lichtenstein
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  U.S. already had a guy to run the popcorn dispenser
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  it’s a country…AND a ski resort!
NOW KNOWN FOR:  thanks to The Mouse That Roared, most people think it’s made up

NATION:  Lithuania
STATUS:  New Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  50
CASUALTIES:  0
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  winning CotW Battle of the Bands with black metal group “DËTH”
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  Laurence Harvey
NOW KNOWN FOR:  Charles Bronson

NATION:  Luxembourg
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  it’s fucking Luxembourg
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  the world’s only remaining Grand Duchy
NOW KNOWN FOR:  least necessary of the Benelux nations

NATION:  Macedonia
STATUS:  Super-New Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  55
CASUALTIES:  3
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  Minotaur Brigade
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  getting into big arguments with Romania over who gets credit for Clement of Ohrid
NOW KNOWN FOR:  being a member of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, for some reason

NATION:  Malta
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  trying to get their head together, man
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  famous attempt in 1972 to join with Andorra, San Marino, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein and Monaco to get up enough people for a soccer team
NOW KNOWN FOR:  inextricable association with Thomas Pynchon’s V.

NATION:  Moldova
STATUS:  Old New Old Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  12
CASUALTIES:  0
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  always there to brew up a fresh batch of beet jam
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  being the most easily-forgotten of the Soviet republics
NOW KNOWN FOR:  being the poorest country in Europe

NATION:  Monaco
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  other three guys in the country were on vacation
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  Princess Grace
NOW KNOWN FOR:  Prince Albert

NATION:  Montenegro
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  weren’t exactly sure if they were a real country
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  only Slavic nation with a name people could pronounce
NOW KNOWN FOR:  sitting out all that former-Yugoslav-republic unpleasantness

NATION:  Netherlands
STATUS:  New Old Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  1345
CASUALTIES:  2
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  HOND IN DE GOOT
ONCE KNOWN FOR: being tall and blond
NOW KNOWN FOR:  being Holland, and the Dutch, and the Netherlands, and who knows what

NATION:  Norway
STATUS:  New Old Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  150
CASUALTIES:  0
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  reminding soldiers from Minnesota of home
ONCE KNOWN FOR: interesting cheeses
NOW KNOWN FOR:  socialism

NATION:  Poland
STATUS:  New Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  900
CASUALTIES:  17
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  telling American officers “yes, yes, I heard that one”
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  hilarious managerial jokes about submarines with screen doors
NOW KNOWN FOR:  hilarious presidential jokes about having been forgotten

NATION:  Portugal
STATUS:  New Old Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  128
CASUALTIES:  0
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  clarifying meaning of “Brazilian” to US troops, president
ONCE KNOWN FOR: being that country stuck on the end of Spain
NOW KNOWN FOR:  world champion rink hockey team

NATION:  Romania
STATUS:  New Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  628
CASUALTIES:  2
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  bringing the klezmer music
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  gypsies
NOW KNOWN FOR:  slightly fewer gypsies

NATION:  Russia
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  forgot where they put their economy
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  dirty rotten commies
NOW KNOWN FOR:  dirty rotten mobsters

NATION:  San Marino
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  entire population outnumbered by residents of a single apartment building in Tikrit
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  being really fucking tiny
NOW KNOWN FOR:  being really fucking tiny, but also pussing out in Iraq

NATION:  Serbia
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  Bill Clinton wouldn’t let them
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  starting WWI
NOW KNOWN FOR:  being the last country prior to Iraq that the US bombed the shit out of

NATION:  Slovakia
STATUS:  Old New Old Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  104
CASUALTIES:  3
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  pretending to speak Arabic and nodding politely when Iraqis complain
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  coming after “Czecho-“
NOW KNOWN FOR:  being mistaken for Slovenia

NATION:  Slovenia
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  Slovakia already had it covered
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  capital city contained most combined uses of the letters “lj”
NOW KNOWN FOR:  synonymous with “slovenly”

NATION:  Spain
STATUS:  New Old Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  1300
CASUALTIES:  11
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  promised to take out any bulls employed by insurgency
ONCE KNOWN FOR: the Inquisition
NOW KNOWN FOR:  failure of one-time ruling party to learn from Bush administration proper methods for blaming terror attacks on political opposition

NATION:  Sweden
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  Viking gene diluted after years of cross-breeding with Danes
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  bikini teams
NOW KNOWN FOR:  inexplicable assassinations

NATION:  Switzerland
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  why start now?
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  one of the world’s oldest democracies
NOW KNOWN FOR:  hoarding Nazi gold

NATION:  Turkey
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  eyed dozens of Muslim neighbors nervously
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  beloved Thanksgiving meal
NOW KNOWN FOR:  inability to make up mind whether it’s in Europe or Asia

NATION:  Ukraine
STATUS:  New Old Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  1650
CASUALTIES:  18
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  wheat
ONCE KNOWN FOR: breadbasket of the Soviet Union
NOW KNOWN FOR:  nuclear waste dump of the Commonwealth of Independent States

NATION:  United Kingdom
STATUS:  New Europe
TROOPS COMMITTED:  7200
CASUALTIES:  118
MAJOR CONTRIBUTION:  bullet-catchers
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  having a huge empire upon which the sun would never set
NOW KNOWN FOR:  helping America maintain their huge empire upon which the sun will never set

NATION:  Vatican City
STATUS:  Old Europe
WHY THEY DIDN’T JOIN UP:  Pope was sick
ONCE KNOWN FOR:  holy seat of the Catholic Church
NOW KNOWN FOR:  really crappy basketball team

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