U.S. braces for new friend/rival United States of Europe

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jumpinjarhead, Oct 15, 2009.

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  1. U.S. braces for new friend/rival united states of Europe
    By JOEL BRINKLEY - McClatchy-Tribune News Service

    The United States is about to confront a fierce new competitor, unlike any the nation has faced in its history.

    The vote in Ireland this month to approve the Lisbon Treaty, intended to streamline and strengthen the European Union, may have seemed like an interesting, parochial European development. But think about what it portends.

    Today, Europe is a largely ineffectual player in world affairs. European states rotate the E.U. presidency, and for most non-European nations, the tenure of each new president is largely invisible. But what happens when the E.U. elects a full-time president with a five-year term, as the treaty stipulates. (Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, is the front runner now.)

    The European Union would then seem almost like the United States, a collection of states forming a cohesive union with a common foreign policy - and a single, prominent president who will immediately become an important player in the world. The European Union's 27 nations have a population of about 500 million, 40 percent more than the United States. Its gross domestic product is almost 20 percent higher than the United States'. How could it not be taken seriously?

    Of course, the E.U. has a fractious membership. The big states, particularly England, France and Germany, want to establish the E.U. as a major world party, while the smaller states, like Luxembourg and the Czech Republic, are less eager, afraid they will be marginalized. But don't we have similar arguments in this country, between the South, the Northeast and other parts of the nation?

    The United States had a fierce competitor as recently as 1990 - the Soviet Union. But that was the enemy, and it was easy, almost expected, that Washington would reject its concerns. Two hundred years ago, when this nation was young, weak and small, Britain, an absolute monarchy then, was our fierce competitor. Of course, the British army sacked Washington in 1812.

    Now, for the first time, our great new competitor is a collection of like-minded democracies - our friends and allies. It certainly won't be easy to ignore Europe's concerns. Former President George W. Bush did just that, and the United States paid a price. Europe often opposed the Bush administration's initiatives on a variety of fronts.

    But Europeans want to be friendly with America. A poll of E.U. residents last summer by the German Marshall Fund showed that 77 percent of the respondents support President Obama's handling of international affairs compared to just 19 percent for President Bush's last year. Never in the history of this poll had there ever been so remarkable a turnaround. And that was before Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize. How easy will it be for Obama, or any other president, to stiff arm Europe?

    Potential areas of disagreement might be policies toward Russia and Iran. Many European nation's have important commercial relations with both countries that color their views. Another is how to handle Afghanistan. Through NATO, several European states have troops there.

    The treaty and all that comes from it are still not wholly ratified. Poland and the Czech Republic still have not signed. Poland says it will sign, soon, but the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, is a hold out. Will he be able to remain the last man standing when every other nation has signed? After all, the Czech parliament has already ratified the agreement.

    The treaty authorizes the E.U. to open embassies around the world - in addition to the embassies each European state already has. The central government could sign treaties and other international agreements on behalf of its members. In other words, it would begin to look like a large and powerful nation unto itself rather than a loose collection of states, as it is now. It would have its own foreign service and, perhaps, the authority to act decisively in each country where it holds representation.

    "I don't think we know yet how all of this will work out in the end," said Karen Donfried, executive vice president of the German Marshall Fund, said. The many smaller nations that make up the union are likely to object to elements of these proposals. All the while, though, the E.U. will continue to admit more members, grow more powerful.

    "The attractive force of the E.U. as a political, societal and economic model remains immensely powerful," the German Marshall Fund said last week. "Numerous countries are standing in line to join."

    Much remains to be decided, but whatever happens the United States will soon have a powerful ally - or a fearsome rival.


    Joel Brinkley is a former Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for The New York Times and now a professor of journalism at Stanford University. Readers may send him e-mail at: brinkley@foreign-matters.com

  2. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

  3. [/quote]

    No doubt U2 will be the headliner!
  4. If there was a war between the EU and America... I would side with the USA... wouldn't be the first time they helped liberate Europe!
  5. JJH - is this former Pulitzer prize winner for real - because he is economic with the truth and spouts some fecking drivel.

    Last time I looked the UK was a member of the EU - not just England. And that the Brits sacked Washington in 1812 is as irrelevant as the fact that the then US President left his wife in Washington with the dinner still on the table whilst to quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail " Bravely he did run away" - and the Brits tried to stop the locals from stealing everything. :D

    The Brits aren't in yet and the Czech President is carrying out a blocking action on affirmation of the the Czech agreement - so none of what is written is actually about to happen. And he thinks Europe is a lot more cohesive than it actually is.

    Apart from the fact that it's sh1te its a good article :twisted:
  6. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Nor were we an absolute monarchy.

    Interesting, more for the prejudices of the author rather than any prescient or perntinant relevance.
  7. Facts, facts :roll: They'll be the ruin of a good story :twisted:
  8. I was confident that you and other ARRSErs would find this article enjoyable. :D
  9. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    Well we don't have time to read all the drafts of text you post/paste, and some of us even have to break off from arrse and do some work now and again.

    Thankyou for saving us the trouble of looking for anything to read for ourselves :wink:
  10. You are welcome--I do try. In addition to those who have some work to do on occasion (me included), judging from the comments of many other ARRSErs I suspect a lot of them are inconveniently woken up from their napping.
  11. Since the USA is the friend of Democracy and the enemy of Dictatorship everywhere, I sincerely hope Obama is planning to have Tony B Liar assassinated and come to the aid of the good people of Europe by getting rid of the unelected bodies that seek to rule it.
  12. [quote="jumpinjarhead]You are welcome--I do try. In addition to those who have some work to do on occasion (me included), judging from the comments of many other ARRSErs I suspect a lot of them are inconveniently woken up from their napping.[/quote]

    Hurrumph, hurrumph. Mumble, mumble. Pass the sherry. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  13. At the risk of repeating myself - again, I repeat a prediction made by a man whose intellect dwarfed worlds; whose political acumen was sharper than the average serpent's tooth; whose academic achievements make some modern so-called 'brain-boxes' look like 'Bliar's failures - unable to read, write or 'do sums''; whose linguistic ability bridged social and political chasms; whose military service surpassed all in speed of promotion - even Mountbatten.

    Who was this astonishing man? He is known to all on here aged over thirty and to all with even a modicum of pre-Bliar education.

    This man, when asked at a private dinner party, who he saw as the main protagonists in a third world war, replied:

    "I see that war being fought between America and Europe".

    This man was my dinner guest. I know what he said, albeit in 1981, but his expansion of the answer so predicted the path of the political expansion of 'Europe', that I am certain he will be proven to be correct.

    His name: Enoch Powell.

    Before the 'usual suspects' and their 'lame-brains' wet their knickers (see through knickers in all probability), I ask them to lay aside their preconceptions and prejudices and 'google - Enoch Powell' and learn!

    A 'First Class Degree' in Oxford or Cambridge before Hitler's War was very rare. A 'Starred First Class Degree' was so rare that the dodo and an occasional dinosaur were the only witnesses to such an event.

    A 'Double Starred First Class Degree was ......................... .!

    Nowadays, in Bliar's blighted Britain, Oxbridge colleges are lucky to admit undergraduates who can read and write - let alone do 'sums'.

    PS: To say it again - US -v- Eurineland - no contest, - and I am crossing that 'pond' westwards as soon as it looks likely kick off!

    France -v- US; Germany -v- US; , who else is there? Eurineland!!!! What a fvcking joke!!! - except of course, the Bosch may well revert to their normal stupidity. The 'Frogs' will give in. The Italians - *. The 'Rest' **. Who will pick up the shattered pieces? Of course, the British Infantry!! What a turn up for the books?

    Eurineland what a fvcking corrupt and dishonest joke?!
  14. John Nash was one of the greatest minds of the 20th Century. He was also a paranoid skitsophrenic. I wouldn't trust his mathematical mind on international relations any more than I would trust Enoch Powell's linguistic mind.
  15. Hardly braces. True there is not a little paranoia in some far right wing US circles about the EU but there also a massive degree of support from very powerful vested interests in the US.

    As a result DC has been an eager sponsor of the EU project especially when it come to enlargement. The IV Reich is an institution run largely to benefit multinational corporations many of them American owned. The Chinese may not like the manufacturing competition with Germany but love the worlds biggest consumer goods market near as much as selling useless crap to Walmart. And a DC up to its ears in debt would not want to upset those who hold it in Beijing. Twinned with the now failing institution of Nato the EU was also a means of containing The Bear. Finally there are rather large numbers of G.I's buried in Yurp largely because during the last bout of globalization we miserably failed to get our act together, in some ways it's all just a product of WWII and the Marshal Plan.

    If there is a rivalry its ideological and that's what smells strange to Yanks about the EU, this is an odd beast that isn't a 19th century nation state and in some areas is eroding that very concept.

    Emergent democracies also tend to be wary of the US style of governance: two almost indistinguishable parties arguing over minutia, an over powerful President hedged around by men of elite interests working the the system for easy pork, it just isn't that attractive to folk who have just shaken off a dictatorship. This is a system of rugged chaos that operates rather well in the unique social conditions of the USA but it is not made for export, it's a recipe for corrupt stasis without a deeply rooted respect for law, individual rights and transparency.

    It's the normative mainland European systems of multi-party governments and shifting coalitions providing a dense, caring, welfare state providing a well educated population and cheap socialized medicine. This is the City On The Hill that poorer nations aspire to build. More Denmark than Detroit. A far stealthier foe than Godless Communism, a bland efficient self assembly flat pack, a bureaucratic Nemesis.