Remember when "Rummy" (Hell, do you even remember "Rummy?") made the distinction between "Old" & "New" Europe?
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recently caused Paris and Berlin intense consternation by stating what should have been apparent to all: That the United States is not without allies in Europe when it comes to dealing with Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
The International Herald Tribune reveals why "Rummy" was so hot about the "New" Europe: They're crypto-fascists, w/ a pinch of Catholicism:
In Hungary, Viktor Orban, leader of the opposition conservative Fidesz party, courts the far right, even refusing to distance himself from a new extreme right-wing grouping that harks back to the fascist years of the 1930s. In Slovakia, Robert Fico's socialist-led coalition depends on Jan Slota's nationalists to remain in power. In Bulgaria, extreme nationalists are in the ascendancy, and the mainstream parties are accommodating them instead of marginalizing them.
This new conservatism in Eastern Europe, so soon after most of the region joined the European Union in 2004, is spreading at the same time that conservative parties in Western Europe are moving toward the center.
"What the new self-proclaimed revolutionaries in Central Europe fear is the excesses of post-modern culture and the collapse of traditional values," said Ivan Krastev, director of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia. "They are nostalgic and not utopian, defensive and not visionary," he added.
The Kaczynski government in Warsaw supports a greater role for the Catholic Church to protect Poland against the invading secularism of Western Europe and the globalization of consumerism, social mobility and new values.
Jiri Schneider, director of the Prague Security Studies Institute, said conservative parties have failed in deciding what they want to keep or, indeed, what they want to become. "What really is their point of reference? They cannot claim to be the heirs of these original conservative parties because of their ignominious past. Yet they are not prepared to develop into modern conservative political parties in which populism will be kept from the economic and social agenda," Schneider said.