Regime change is needed in Europe

AcidTrash

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Regime change is needed in Europe
(Filed: 05/12/2005)

As the American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, arrives in Europe, it is instructive to look at the areas where her country's interests clash with those of the EU. They fall into six broad categories: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Israel, China and what one might loosely call "supra-nationalism" - that is, the power of the UN, the Kyoto process, the International Criminal Court and so on. These disputes are not unrelated; they are linked by a common ideological thread. In each case, the United States is pro-democracy, the EU pro-stability.

In Cuba, Brussels has withdrawn its support for anti-Castro dissidents. In Iran, the EU has pursued a decade-long policy of "constructive engagement" with the ayatollahs. In Iraq, with a few exceptions, Europeans were horrified at the notion of toppling a tyrant by force. In European capitals, unlike in Washington, Israel's status as the region's only democracy is not seen as meritorious.

In China, the EU has not only announced its intention to lift the arms embargo on Beijing, but is also actively collaborating with the Communists on a satellite system called Galileo, designed to challenge what Jacques Chirac calls the "technological imperialism" of America's GPS. And, when it comes to international bodies, the US is almost alone in taking the view that elected politicians are more legitimate than global technocrats and human-rights lawyers.

This difference in approach was, as it were, encoded in the DNA of the two organisations. The US was born out of a revolt against autocratic government. In consequence, it sympathises naturally with democracy, decentralisation and national self-determination. Its founding creed was adumbrated by Thomas Jefferson, who believed that power should be exercised by the individual in preference to the state, and by lower in preference to higher tiers of government.

The EU, by contrast, was a reaction against the pre-war plebiscitary democracy which, in its patriarchs' eyes, had led to fascism and conflict. Its governing principle is the precise opposite of Jeffersonianism: the doctrine of "ever-closer union". Its leaders believe to this day that states are better run by experts than by populist politicians and, just as they apply that belief to their own institutions, so they extend it to other continents. Indeed, the distinction between the two unions can be inferred from the opening words of their founding charters: the American Constitution begins "We, the people"; the Treaty of Rome begins "His Majesty the King of the Belgians".

There is only one part of the world where America does not extend its principles: the EU itself. Everywhere else, this administration has moved beyond the Cold War tendency to do business with local strongmen ("he may be a son-of-a-bitch, but he's our son-of-a-bitch"). George Bush has grasped that undemocratic states tend to export their problems, which makes them objectively inimical to Western interests, however notionally pro-Western their leaders.

But, when it comes to Europe, he is happy to indulge the elites even as they take more power from their peoples. Previous American presidents did not even mention the EU in their speeches, ("our European allies" was the preferred phrase). Mr Bush is the first holder of his office to have visited the European Commission. His ambassador to the EU went so far as explicitly to endorse the proposed Euro-constitution. Miss Rice herself has spoken of European integration in the warmest terms.

How are we to explain this contradiction? It doubtless owes something to Tony Blair, who has called in his Iraq debt by securing the President's support for the EU. It also stems from institutional inertia: the State Department traditionally backed European integration as a bulwark against Soviet expansionism, and the policy remains in place despite the collapse of its original rationale.

But Miss Rice should be careful. Forty years of solid Washington support for the EU have not led to any reciprocal pro-Americanism in Brussels. As she has found before, and will find again, Europeans often exhibit a psychotic desire to bite the hand that freed them.
 

spiralx

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Are you posting this because you agree with it? Because you want to discuss it? I'm not clear... nor is it clear where this even comes from.

Regardless there's certainly plenty of half-truths, opinions stated as facts and general badmouthing in this article.
 

JPsychodelicacy

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Alright, me old mucker? Long time no see...

I shouldn't worry about this character - he's the one that reckons all Muslims are suicide bombers.

J.
 

AcidTrash

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spiralx said:
Are you posting this because you agree with it? Because you want to discuss it? I'm not clear... nor is it clear where this even comes from.

Regardless there's certainly plenty of half-truths, opinions stated as facts and general badmouthing in this article.

I'd be very keen to read opinions on this. That's all.
 

AcidTrash

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JPsychodelicacy said:
Alright, me old mucker? Long time no see...

I shouldn't worry about this character - he's the one that reckons all Muslims are suicide bombers.

J.

Yes I did. I'm such a nazi. I'm not in anyway concerned about democracy or human rights either.
 

Stuoolong

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I wish I could have gone...:icry:
 
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