Sunday, May 29, 2005
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Open 'non' thread
Yeah, good luck with that, Monsieur Chirac -- it's not that the French don't want to act in their national interest -- it's just that the French are quite split about defining that national interest
The BBC analysis by Kirsty Hughes provides four reasons for the rejection:
Given reason number two, I'm skeptical of the Christopher Adams' speculation in the Financial Times that, "Britain is likely to use the result, particularly if the Netherlands also votes against the treaty on Wednesday, to push its case for economic reform across the EU more vigorously." Or, rather, Britain can try, but I doubt their efforts will fly.
In advance of the referendum, Greg Djerejian and Henry Farrell had very good analyses about the politics and prospects of the European Union in a post-'non' environment -- so go click on them and then come back here and post your comments. And check out Glenn Reynolds' collection of links.
UPDATE: Wow -- go check out the Ipsos breakdown of exit poll questions on the referendum. It makes for fascinating reading. [But it's in French--ed. Then enter the URL in Babelfish and read it anyway.] Two things stand out immediately:
posted by Dan on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM
My wife's family is Turkish, and I have spoken with a number of them at length about the prospects of Turkey becoming a member of the EU. Though they are all westernized, urban Turks, who would find themselves more comfortable among the Parisians or the Nicoise, than they would be if they found themselves in the Anatolian frontier of Turkey, my wife's relatives nonetheless think that Turkey faces many hurdles, if it wants to be part of the EU.
Also, there seems to be little consensus among Turkey's educated, westernized people, as to whether Turkey is ready to join such an organization as the EU. While they argue that it would be beneficial to the Turkish elite--urban dwellers who are educated at western universities and who speak English--they also concede that countries like France and Germany are right to worry about the large numbers of desperately poor Turks who would flood wealthier countries.
It seems, from my perspective, that their is ambivalence even within Turkey about its prospects for EU membership, and even if it should even pursue such membership. Many of its own people do not think it a modern enough country to warrant membership.posted by: Dave on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
here's morgan stanley's take:
From the standpoint of economic performance, a single currency, a uniform interest rate, and the pan-regional harmonization of taxes, pricing, and regulatory conventions count for a good deal more than agreement on constitutional rights. Political unification would, of course, be the icing on the cake if it ever does occur -- in effect, tightening the straightjacket that forces pan regional efficiencies. But in the same sense, I do not believe that a French-led setback on the political front threatens to unwind this shift to increased economic convergence.rather than a french no, i'd be more worried about an italian exit... btw, in his post, djerejian derides the 35hr work week, which is factually incorrect. posted by: videlicet on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
Interesting to see what influence the French and Dutch votes will have in UK. Might've just saved Blair's skin with the "Non" vote, spares him the trouble of trying to get brits to vote in favor if French and Dutch already sank the constitution.
Coming from my point of view (that'd be from Finland), the less France in EU, the better. By all means exercise your national sovereignty and try to get all the socialism you can for yourselves, just don't try to stamp it on the union.
"Worries (mostly misplaced) that the constitution moves the EU in an "Anglo-Saxon" direction economically"
Constitution or no constitution, the EU is, ever so slowly, heading towards a more market oriented superstate. The contradictions within capitalism itself are enormous enough; nevermind the dialectic of market socialism.
C'est la vie.posted by: No von Mises on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
You picked a somewhat strange quote from the Stephen Roach piece -- which, btw, was BEFORE the vote ...
This is from the conclusion, which makes a VERY different statement, and is much more to the key point here:
"the tails of the political verdict could well have major impacts on financial markets. A decisive French rejection of the EU constitution could force markets to raise the probability of an EMU break-up."
An EMU break-up ... hmmmmm ... that seems kind of major to me ...
If you take fiancial markets seriously -- as you seem to -- then your sanguine conclusion seems a bit misplaced ...
Beyond that, I agree that there are problems with Djerejian's post, which, Dan, is QUITE long and VERY hard to get through ... at least I found it so ... more on that momentarily ...
Sorry for the double post ... NOT intentional ... don't know why that happened ... that said ...
As you may know from the second half of my comment on "Some Fine Blogging This Week", I think that both you and most of the people commenting on your PRE-Non piece were a bit sanguine about the potential consequences of a NON vote ...
In that context, I'm a bit surprised that you take a RETRO-, as opposed to a PRO-, spective take on what has just happened. Indeed, the BBC piece you link to details some of the problems -- both immediate and longer-term -- that are now DIRECTLY on the agenda:
"An EU in crisis and one where there is more focus all round on national concerns and less on pan-European compromise will be one where decisions could get increasingly difficult for the foreseeable future - from budget agreements to decisions on future enlargements (although the Bulgaria and Romania enlargement treaty is already signed).
"An EU gridlocked and inward-looking at a time of major international challenges is a likely outcome.
"Another key issue will be whether the EU goes ahead with membership negotiations with Turkey in the autumn, or whether it reneges on a major international commitment.
"The two biggest decisions of the enlarged EU of 25 members have been agreeing the constitution and the deal with Turkey on negotiations. If the enlarged Union fails on both, its record of achievements will be reduced almost to nil."
"If the enlarged Union fails on both [of its two biggest decisions] its record of achievements will be reduced almost to nil" ...
Again, why are you all so sanguine about this ???
For a different view, see an unusually IN-formal piece we did on Friday:
"If Europe now begins to manifest serious structural difficulties, then ALL BETS ARE OFF, and the Millennium Crisis – whose severity has ratcheted up with the various aspects of the Ides of May –
will become even MORE widespread and all-encompassing than it has been already, which can ONLY spell trouble for a world already reeling with instability and crisis in both the US and the umma Islamiyyah."
GREAT blog, btw ... by far the most interestingly substantive one out there ...posted by: Grok Your World.com on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
well, no it wasn't "decisive" - if you look at the exit polls 72% are still in favor of a continuation of the EU construction process (57% of the "no" voters), while most of the "no's" came from voters expressing dissatisfaction with the current french gov't...
from a financial market pov the potential for a no vote was discounted a few months ago (follow the polling data and the EUR/USD fx rate), so the difference between a pre- and post-referendum world (again from a financial market pov) is not as great as you maket it out to be, the litany of what plagues europe (what roach expresses) is well known.
as for its record of achievement (and why i'm sanguine) the unheralded success of the EUR is the euro bond market, which in less than a decade has shown phenomenal growth - in depth of liquidity and breadth of product - that recommends the EUR as a reserve currency of note (see '2nd tier' central banks - india, russia, s.korea, taiwan, singapore and gulf states - talk of reserve diversification). moreover, the development of the euro bond market remains in the early innings, so to speak. as for creditworthiness:
Investors still seem to regard the credit risk of European countries as negligible. CSFB points out that the range of credit spreads across individual US states is 70 basis points, compared with just 18 basis points for the eurozone.and, compared to the US' fiscal position as a whole (the US would not be rated AAA, if ratings agencies abided by GAAP standards) not abiding by proscribed debt limits doesn't look as bad, altho again...
In economic terms, the biggest worry is Italy, which has just suffered two quarters of declining growth (a technical recession), where debt is more than 100 per cent of gross domestic product, where unit labour costs have risen 35 per cent since 1993 and where, according to CSFB, a fifth of GDP is exposed to sectors that are very vulnerable to emerging market competition.still, while pillars of italian business are being shaken (parmalat, fiat, now banking) they are inexorably being dragged - kicking and screaming - into the wider european market with the attendant oversight and competition that entails. they'll be better and more productive for it.
despite political setbacks, financial integration/innovation continues apace and i suspect will continue to lead, while political (and cultural) integration plays catch-up. again, i'd worry less about a 'french no' than an 'italian exit' in that regard.posted by: videlicet on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
The exit poll data are really interesting. They suggest among other things that the draft constitution did best among the oldest voters and the wealthy; lost by enormous margins among followers of the extreme left and extreme right; lost not only in rural France but everywhere else except Paris; steadily lost ground from the end of last month through the referendum, following a dramatic drop in support beginning on March 4, when Chirac announced the date of the vote; and might have lost by a greater margin had not so many younger voters abstained. They also suggest that many voters were discontented with economic conditions, not as many with Chirac personally.
Short campaigns (compared with ours) are the norm in Europe, but it is hard not to notice that as soon as Chirac announced the date of the referendum about a third of the draft constitution's support evaporated. A longer interval might have been wise from Chirac's point of view. On the other hand, Glenn Reynolds along with other commentators makes the very sound point that in an election like this one voters are more apt to vote their fears than their hopes. Indeed, this time they had little choice -- the constitution they were being asked to vote on is over 300 pages long, and so detailed and complicated that people looking for an excuse to vote their fears didn't have to look far.
I didn't see a category in the Ipsos data asking voters whether they read the constitution or not. That would have been revealing.
posted by: Zathras on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
"Again, why are you all so sanguine about this ???
For a different view, see an unusually IN-formal piece we did on Friday:"
I went and read some of your blog, but I guess I missed the big "this is why the US should be worried" part of the argument about the failure of this referendum. What did I miss?
My guess is three years till they vote on this again.posted by: Babar on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
YES!!!!posted by: padme on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
North Sea Diaries has a pretty full analysis of the exit polls.
Bill.posted by: Bill Massie on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
Sorry, it's at http://www.north-sea.net
Billposted by: Bill Massie on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
Not entirely good news for US interests. OTOH, it's pretty clear that the EU eilte will finally heed the concerns of the EU public and focus more on internal problems. Which means less attention and resources for grands projets in the international sphere, not only but especially the attempt to challenge the US in areas and regions that have no impact on the EU's growth rate or its ability to protect jobs.
OTOH, where EU foreign policy can indeed protect jobs by bashing the US, we can expect more Gaullism, more German hyperbole about US "bloodsucker" capitalists and the like. So all in all, I think this means less EU meddling in the middle east and less pretentious rhetoric and posturing as the "moral superpower" (Kyoto, debt relief, bashing Israel etc) but also a distinct turn toward both protectionism, esp in the service sectors, and toward much more aggressive trade promotion of big ticket items sold to third world governments like Airbus planes, construction projects by Bouygues, telecom and auto plants etc.
In short, whereas the EU foreign policy used to be a mix of short-term opportunism and a one-worldist idealism colored heavily by rivalry with/hostility to the US, the balance now will be very sharply tilted toward opportunism. Less irritating, but not necessarily less harmful to US policy, esp re Iran and China.
This is very, very bad news for cooperation with the EU vs the mullahs. The pressure on France and Germany to get a quick boost to exports by caving in to the mullahs will now be intense. Ditto for EU military exports to China.
Agree that it won't have major implications for EU integration, which will continue to muddle forward. However, it's a very clear sign to the EU elites that local needs trump international ambitions, especially the EU elites' dream of building a "moral superpower" to rival the US. That dream is now seen as an irrelevant, indeed ridiculous, luxury for people who don't have to worry about the security of their jobs or their pensions.
The only Frenchmen who share that dream are the most secure, most confident and wealthiest Frenchmen: ENArques, worldly middle-aged Right Bank professionals and execs, and well-heeled, highly mobile cadres of multinational firms. These are the only Frenchmen whose jobs are not vulnerable to either outsourcing or direct competition from Poles and other East Europeans.
In US terms, it's as if NAFTA had been defeated and Perot elevated to if not the White House then at least to a kingmaker role in one of the two parties. Get ready for increased protectionism and isolationism a la francaise. AKA Gaullism. Bad news for free trade and for the world economy.posted by: thibaud on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
Why all the blather?
I noted weeks ago that if the European Elite
It is the same arrogance we Americans see
These days, of course, it is the Left that
Happy Memorial Day!posted by: Ted on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
"In US terms, it's as if NAFTA had been defeated and Perot elevated to if not the White House then at least to a kingmaker role in one of the two parties. Get ready for increased protectionism and isolationism a la francaise. AKA Gaullism. Bad news for free trade and for the world economy."
Well this all sounds like good news to me. I'm glad the French, unlike the Kansans, know which side their bread is buttered on and vote their economic interests.
To paraphrase the man who made NAFTA a reality:
At least we can hope.
Vive la France. Vive Jacques Bove.posted by: CurtisE on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
posted by: stringph on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
The constitution is clearly too long and too cumbersome. I haven't read much of it at all -- mainly just sections here and there -- but it doesn't seem to create any coherent whole. The American constitution's three branches, balanced against one another, with defined (but not too precisely) powers for state and federal governments is something that can be grasped rather easily. It created a sovereign government. The EU constition seemed to propose reducing members states' individual sovereignty and sending it ... nowhere, or at least not to an entity identifiable as a unifified sovereign government. It seemed to be just more for the bureaucrats to do.
But, even if EU leaders were somehow able to come up with a reasonable constitution, I doubt it could get passed by all 25 members, especially when many have referendums. The U.S. constitution could not have passed that test after it was written.posted by: Andrew Steele on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
"I suppose an 'elite' is someone who can spell wrath correctly, and knows that the possessive pronoun its has no apostrophe?
Posted by stringph at May 30, 2005 04:02 PM"
Please, gentlemen, do not underestimate all Europeans or stick us all in one bunch. There are several East European countires that have a different understanig of where the EU should be headed. More "socialism" is not our idea of a viable future.
I'm an Estonian. Before joining the EU Estonia was one of the most open countires to free trade and if it weren't for the common market and unfettered access to the EU internal markets, it still would be. There are plenty of advoctes for free trade around. One can only hope it rubbs of on "old" Europe.posted by: JS on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
Maybe I'm just not too smart or maybe too focused on domestic issues, but I've been thinking all along this is a giant train wreck waiting to happen. Has anyone else had that thought?posted by: save_the_rustbelt on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
I enjoy NASCAR and American Idol.
By the way, in this case PRICK is spelled PRICK!!!posted by: save_the_rustbelt on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
Others have already reflected on it, but the IPSOS numbers really point to a big split in France between the wealthy, well-educated, older, in Paris living people and the rest of France. Only wealthy people voted in majority in favour of the constitution, only well-educated did so, just as the older people (60+) and those living in paris. The other groups voted in majority against the constitution.
Of course there will be young, poor, low-educated, rural Frenchmen who supported the treaty, but it seems the EU has been unable to become popular beyond a (too) small group of people.
Here in the Netherlands I often hear that the EU is a toy for the elites, for the politicians. I guess these critics are right up to a point. But beyond that the EU has done much good things for Europe and can continue to do this, if they learn the lessons of this referendum and really start working on winning hearts and minds, not in an arrogant fashion, as we have seen to much the last weeks, but in a positive, down to earth way.posted by: Harmen on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
I enjoy NASCAR and American Idol."
posted by: Mike on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
Incisive analysis of the bond market and its relation to political factors.
In that context, three questions:
1) Do you think Roach's prediction of the "probability" of an EMU break-up should be taken seriously ??? It seems you don't, but, if not, then what would happen to the Euro's ability to be a reserve currency / alternative to the dollar ???
2) At the same time you seem to think this "non" is not that signfiicant on any visible level -- and I accept completely your analysis of the financial market anticipation of a "non" -- you actually seem to think that Italy is going to opt out of the Euro all together.
Granting the empirical realities you cite, how likely do you think it is that Italy really IS going to leave the Euro zone ???
3) Given all THIS, don't you think your analysis actually SUPPORTS the notion that there are serious STRUCTURAL problems in the EU -- whether in France or Italy --
and that US and European "leaders" are woefully unprepared to deal with this situation, from either an analytical or plan of action point of view.
Challenging take.posted by: Grok Your World.com on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
As you could tell, technical problems somewhat interfered. That said, the key point is that -- tout d'un coup -- both European and American "leaders" are now having to confront a situation in Europe where what HAD been the assumption of a more or less settled direction for Europe has now been thrown radically open to question.
Think of the points made in the BBC analysis that Dan cites. There are a lot of issues, both immediate and longer-term -- notably with regard to further enlargement AND, always lurking, Turkey -- that were going to be difficult enough to deal with even with SETTLED assumptions.
NOW, it's going to be even harder to deal with these sorts of questions because the overall direction of things has all of a sudden come into serious question.
This, in turn, now presents the US with a situation of potential structural instability in Europe -- in addition to the on-going structural instability, albeit for different reasons, for BOTH the US AND the ummah islamiyya ...
And, as noted, it's not clear either European nor American elites have the SLIGHTEST idea how to deal with these new, and rather unanticipated, problems.posted by: Grok Your World.com on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
"This is very, very bad news for cooperation with the EU vs the mullahs. The pressure on France and Germany to get a quick boost to exports by caving in to the mullahs will now be intense. Ditto for EU military exports to China."
By "mullahs," do you mean Shiite / Iranian clerics re nuclear proliferation -- or are you making a more general statement about political Islam ???
Beyond that, your pessemistic second post again makes me wonder: do either American or European elites have either an analysis or plan of what to do know to preserve European stability in a setting where the agreed-upon framework has been seriously thrown into question ???posted by: Grok Your World.com on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
"This, in turn, now presents the US with a situation of potential structural instability in Europe -- in addition to the on-going structural instability, albeit for different reasons, for BOTH the US AND the ummah islamiyya ..."
I see your point, but what's really changed other than a set of assumptions that it would be passed? I mean Saturday, France, The Netherlands, the UK, etc. were all separate entities brought together under the economic umbrella of the EU. On Monday...well they still are. From a US point of view, I don't see that as making much difference, except for as you point out the "Turkey" question. Further, it would seem to me that it was in America's best interest that this particular "go round" was rejected, if for no other reason that it was championed by Chirac and Schroeder, two leaders that have made clear their anti-US pedigree. I'm not necessarily referring to the Iraq War here, that just solidified their excuses, but rather some of the rhetoric spewing from them on other occasions. It seems to me that the rejection of this document also empowers Sarkozy, who if I'm not mistaken, is more interested in engaging rather than opposing the US than Chirac. Do you agree?posted by: Mike on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
I agree entirely with the point about the EU Charter being too long-winded and cumbersome. Don't get the quip about the US Constitution also having trouble getting adopted. I seem to recall something about the Articles of Confederation that preceded it being a horrid mess, then being replaced by a heartily endorsed Consititution. What am I missing? Don't send me back to my high school textbooks!! Please...
As for France's non, I think the critical point is that no one in Western Europe wants THEIR welfare rations cut into by the new and potential members. But if all voters behave like the French--who drink liberally from the EU tit--saying "I want unification but I don't want to pay the cost" there can be no real unification. Chirac's PR problem was that he could hardly broadcast how much French socialism depends on EU handouts without incurring the wrath of neighbors, could he? I mean, there's no secret decoder ring that he can send every Frenchperson which will allow him to say "psst, your way of life IS underwritten by the EU already, don't be a damn fool."
If I were in the financial realm I'd be betting heavily on the breakup the EMU in 3-5 years, maybe a bit longer. Smaller countries are not going to stand by idly as big members like France and Germany continue to put off necessary reforms, continue to run bigger than allowed deficits and wring their hands about nasty immigrants and the perils of that 36th workhour.
Thibaud makes a good point about all of this distracting attention from the growing nuclear crisis abroad, but I do have to ask (and not facetiously, for once), how much more unified the US-Euro efforts would be on this score if things were going swimmingly on the EU's domestic front?posted by: Kelli on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
Well, some people heartily endorsed the U.S Constitution, some heartily opposed it. As I recall, Rhode Island didn't even send delegates to the convention, and didn't ratify the constitution until well after it took force (which occured after nine of the 13 states ratified it). New York's governor opposed the idea, and two of its three delegates left the convention (leaving Hamilton alone from NY). The votes to ratify were close in some states, and the debate pretty fierce at times.
The fact that state legislatures did the ratifying, and that only 9 of 13 were necessary for the constitution to take force, is what brought the issue to mind. Maybe I shouldn't have said with certainty that the U.S. Constitution wouldn't have been ratified if it had had to meet EU standards - but I think we should be glad unanimity and referendums weren't part of the process.posted by: Andrew Steele on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
Andrew Steele wrote:
"...Rhode Island didn't even send delegates
I believe both of those statements are correct.
When Charles II granted Rhode Island it's
Much like the French people felt on Sunday.
btw - I LIKE Nascar and the IRL. And I LOVE
For those dreaming of a trans Atlantic free trade agreement (John O'Sullivan: http://www.suntimes.com/output/osullivan/cst-edt-osul31.html) as an alternative to the EU... keep dreaming. The French voted down the EU consitution largely because of the free trade implications. Adding America's name sure isnt going to sweeten the deal. We should consider setting up something with our cental and Eastern European allies as well as Turkey and anyone else that will come along, but we wont get the core nations who are still politically invested in the EU. Particularly if it is sold as an alternative. We should grow closer to those nations in the East and let Old Europe keep slowly committing suicide.posted by: Mark Buehner on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
The Constitution of the United States, along with all the amendments, runs about 15 pages - depends on how it is laid out. The Draft Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe runs 325 pages.
The preamble to the US Constitution:
Read the preamble and DEFINITION AND OBJECTIVES OF THE UNION for the proposed European constitution. One link is here:
I would not vote for that thing just based on the legalese crap the lawyers have put together. The US Constitution starts with "We the people". Europe lists its heads of state.
The proposed European constitution could be the greatest advance in human rights in all of history - but who could possibly comprehend that.
The beauty of the US Constitution is almost breathtaking - particularly the preamble. I think the Europeans should have taken Shakespeare's advice - first, kill all the lawyers. But it might be politically incorrect to take advice from a dead white European man.posted by: Martin on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
I don't think killing all the lawyers was something Shakespeare advised. It's a line given to a mostly unsympathetic character in his early Henry VI series, suggestive of that character's desire to overthrow all law and order.
Shakespeare was however fairly consistent in the Henry VI plays and afterward about the merits of killing the French. I'm not saying I agree, and in fact want to go on the record denying that I believe French people should be killed. I'm just commenting on Shakespeare's thinking about the subject.posted by: Zathras on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
I suspect that the vote in France (I don't know enough about the Netherlands' vote) was more a vehicle for expressions of opinion on matters other than the desirability of that particular constitution - whether the French voters get enough goodies from the EU in general, how the French economy is doing, whether Chirac and the EU bureaucrats are too smug and distant even for the French, etc.
In terms of the EU consitution, though, I am reminded of a particular "environmental" ballot initiative in California about 15-20 years ago (guess) which was so long and badly worded that the opposition slogan was "Vote for it if you understand it!" The initiative was buried at the polls - the vote was something 4 or 5 to 1 against it.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
Interesting stuff on US / EU constitutions ...
1) What's changed -- as a quick perusal of the front page of any number of European / US MSM web sites would seem to confirm -- is that, all of a sudden, a) the overall FRAMEWORK of "Europe" now is VERY much thrown into question ... which, as noted, raises lots of issues immediately, in both short- and long-term, about a number of key initiatives that were supposed to take place within that framework -- e.g., enlargement / Turkey
and b) the general DIRECTION that European politics is now going to take ... which is not just existential, but also quite practical ... as European policy makers now cannot help but question just WHERE they're supposed to be heading as they deal with a myriad of concrete issues that are fairly full of ambiguity ...
2) Re the US attitude ... well, I think you're accepting a bit too uncritically a deeply, and, in my view, unnecessarily partisan -- rather than "national interest" line on "what's good for the US" when it comes to European politics ...
There is no reason to believe that Sarkosy and Merkel -- if indeed they do come to power -- are going to be that much different from Chirac and Schroeder ... for a whole variety of reasons chiefly having to do with the political economy of their countries ...
And if you think that the Chirac and Schroeder are denying the pro-Iraq views of their multitudes, to use the phrase of Hardt and Negri, then I would re-consider:
after all, look what happened to both Blair and Berlusconi, who clearly suffered politically from their embrace by and of Bush ...
See our piece on Bush & Berlusconi: Bush-Bashed Brothers
I think Bush and his pals are DEEPLY mistaken to think an un-stable Europe is in the US interest ... and not ONLY because of our incredible inter-dependence with them on the financial investment front ...
Disagreements over Iraq aside, the US and Europe have just WAY too much invested in each other -- financially / emotionally / politically -- to take much pleasure from seeing the emergence of what, I fear, is structural conflict.posted by: Grok Your World.com on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
"We should grow closer to those nations in the East and let Old Europe keep slowly committing suicide."
Dude !!! While I enjoy your biting style and sardonic attitude, are you really sure you think a) that Old Europe is committing suicide ??? b) that, if it WERE true, it would be a good thing, either in general or for the US -- especially given all of our mutual inter-dependence, as noted just above in my response to Mike.
Very interested in your response.posted by: Grok Your World.com on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
"a) that Old Europe is committing suicide ??? b) that, if it WERE true, it would be a good thing, either in general or for the US -- especially given all of our mutual inter-dependence, as noted just above in my response to Mike."
a) I think its pretty clear they are. Between unsustainable socialism, wreckless immigration policy, and already overregulated and stifled economies with unemployment and (lack of) growth America would never stand for France and Germany are already in deep trouble. I might be less pessimistic for them if they looked to be turning a corner, politically, but as this vote shows the answers they are looking to are _more_ socialism, more regulation, and less free trade. Thats holding tight to the anchor.
b) Do I think its a good thing for America, the West, and the world? First off, I dont think it matters whether we like it or not, so its kind of a moot point. They are going to do what they want and anything we advise them will likely provoke the opposite response. In the short run, its probably a very good thing for the rest of Europe at least. The worst outcome would be a seemingly viable quasi-communist France and Germany exporting their self-destruction to the fragile nations of Eastern Europe. In the long run, old Europe has to get worse before they get better. Until the socialist, protectionist, buearocrat states are shown to be total disasters to everyone involoved, no reform will take place. That isnt to say i want to see total collapse and anarchy, nor do i think that a realistic outcome. But a shakeup is clearly in order. I suppose when I say suicide im referring to the deadly system theyve wedded themselves to, not the literal death of entire nations.posted by: Mark Buehner on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
Well, we have voted "no". And decisively, about 63% no, with a turnout of also 63%. Let's see what happens next!posted by: Harmen on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
I think Bush and his pals are DEEPLY mistaken to think an un-stable Europe is in the US interest ... and not ONLY because of our incredible inter-dependence with them on the financial investment front ...
Whatever organizational problems exist in Europe are still well within the capabilities of Europeans to deal with. In any case, American meddling in the matter would be unwelcome, unpopular, and probably detrimental to those European politicos who are relatively friendly to our interests, therefore the US's interests in this case are best served by discreetly keeping an eye on things and keeping official opinions to ourselves- or expressing them privately, if they must be expressed.
In any case, the US has far more important matters to deal with at the moment.posted by: rosignol on 05.29.05 at 11:02 PM [permalink]
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