Tuesday, October 1, 2002

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SPLIT? WHAT SPLIT?: Six weeks ago, the European Union was threatening to deny EU membership to any country that signed a bilateral agreement with the U.S. exempting American soldiers and officials from prosecution for war crimes at the International Criminal Court. Yesterday, the EU jointly agreed to such an exemption. What to make of this?

1) Schroeder is still on the defensive. Germany is rarely on the losing side of an EU decision. Their willingness to go along with this decision indicates that Schroeder is still paying penance for his anti-American election campaign.

2) A looming core/periphery divide. The countries on the periphery of Europe -- Spain, Italy, and the UK -- were the ones pushing the agreement. France and Germany -- the core of the EU -- were the most opposed. This isn't the only issue that will provoke this sort of ideological divide. Imagine what will happen when Poland, the Czech republic, and other U.S.-friendly Eastern European states enter the European Union?

3) Bob Kagan is wrong, wrong, wrong! Sorry, I know I've been harping on this, but this decision underscores that the divide is not between the U.S. and Europe, but within Europe.

UPDATE: Chris Caldwell has a less sanguine view of where Germany is headed.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The Economist has the latest, which suggests that the Bush administration is not budging.

READER RESPONSE: Reader Trent T. replies:

“The real implication here isn’t a ‘looming core/periphery divide.’ It is a French/German one.

The Germans are now a ‘Normal Nation’ with Schroeder as prime minister. The Germans will no longer support the French using the Germans to extend French influence in Europe or elsewhere. The French foreign policy is now in ruins. It has no counterweight to the American ‘Hyperpower,’ even in Europe.

This turn of events is the result of the Euro currency. The reality of the Euro is that European nation-states have lost control of their economic destiny, so the European national leaders are grasping at any straw they can find in order to distract people from holding them accountable for a bad economy.

Schroeder was merely the first Euro-leftist to get there with regard to Anti-Americanism.

He will not be the last.”

posted by Dan on 10.01.02 at 10:33 AM