Tom Friedman is usually essential reading in The New York Times, but I do find his perspective distorted at times. “I hate to say this, but except for the good old Brits, we’re all alone.”
Is that really so? From a European perspective, it certainly seems wrong, given how the Germans have been forthright in offering assistance as well. And given that Gerhard Schroder governs as head of a red-green coalition, he has risked alienating a good portion of his traditional supporters by his stance.
I do agree, however, with Tom’s conclusion. “Unlike the free-riders in our coalition, these young Americans know that Sept. 11 is our holy day � the first day in a just war to preserve our free, multi-religious, democratic society. And I don’t really care if that war coincides with Ramadan, Christmas, Hanukkah or the Buddha’s birthday � the most respectful and spiritual thing we can do now is fight it until justice is done.”
The horrific fire in the Gotthard tunnel in Switzerland evokes grim memories for millions of Europeans who have travelled through this and other trans-Alpine tunnels. It’s now clear that a rail solution will have to be found, to replace the road haulage across the Alps.
It’s extraordinary that in the 21st century, a major economy, Italy, can be largely cut off from commerce because of its reliance on a handful of tunnels through the mountains.