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The Real War: United States Vs. European Union

 
 
fbaezer
 
Reply Thu 13 Mar, 2003 05:45 pm
I am convinced that the ungoing crisis in the UN's Security Council is not mainly about Iraq or terrorism. It's about the post-cold war New World Order.

In other words, it's about who's on charge, the sole remaining superpower or a community of nations under (Western) international law.

I don't believe in France's or Germany's "peace principles". I see them as dedicated partners in the construction of supranational Europe, the construction of an alternative power to that of the US of A. They know that they can't make it alone. They also knnow that, if they let Bush get away with his war pretentions, it would be tantamount to an acknowledgement of who's the superboss.

I think that the true war will be between the euro and the dollar.

I also think Great Britain blew, one more time, it's chance to be a first class player. Strangely, their euroskepticism has thrown them in the arms of the US, while they have much more in common -specially in economics-with the "Continent".

I can perfectly imagine an scenario in which the powers that would vote (or veto) a war resolution in the Security Council would do much more than give a "moral condemnation" of the actions of the US and their allies. (For instance, the backing of factions in the Iraqi opposition, or a blunt announcement that they won't permit the US going beyond Iraq -perhaps to Iran- in the American crusade against terrorism).

Well, that's my opinion. I hope to have some feedback.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Mar, 2003 05:51 pm
This seems to me quite an accurate explanation of the current political processes around the Iraqi campaign. The First World gets separated into two axes: I shall call these "Anglo-Saxon" (USA, UK, Australia, that get support from the countries of "New Europe", Spain and Japan), and "Continental"("Old Europe"+Russia and China). By all means, it seems to me that animosity between these axes will develop only in diplomatic and economic fields, and no direct military collision seems to me being probable in the next 50 years.
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Mar, 2003 10:54 pm
I agree that Europe has a problem, as it isn't united in this very important issue.

I wouldn't define Spain as a permanent part of the "anglo-saxon" axe. It's very clear to me that Aznar is the only leader who has taken a clear cut position out of personal principles, not national interests. He's bound to lose power soon, for this sole reason. And I'm not sure Blair will be able to hold his position against growing unrest in the Labor party and the British society.

It would also seem clear that most Eastern European nations understand European union in trade, and economic, rather than political terms. That is why a majority of them has alligned with the USA.
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Mar, 2003 11:07 pm
Fbaezer -- Many analysts and others (including me) agree with you -- except that it's as well to understand that the EU issue is only one (albeit important) element in the strategy of the madmen. I don't know Aznar's situation well, but I haven't had the impression that he's acting out of principle but rather as a way of hedging his bets. Vicente Fox is the one I'd pick out for principled leader these days -- and he may get in trouble too! But in general, I see Iraq as a cover for many other hegemonic moves.
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mamajuana
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Mar, 2003 11:26 pm
Aznar is not popular in Spain, and he may have thought that aligning himself with the U.S. would help him politically. Very few Spaniards, apparently, think he's acting out of principle. (At least, that's what I get from Spanish friends and newspapers.)

But Turkey is interesting. It seems they place greater importance on being part of the E.U. Part of the package that had been offered them was U.S. help in trying to get them admitted to the E.U., but that fell through.

I think maybe we underestimate the growth of the E.U. The euro is getting stronger, and so is their trade. This administration has been so myopic when it comes to looking at anything and anybody outside their own narrow world, that they have risked all on a venture that daily seems more unwinnable no matter how it plays out. Sure world power comes into play. And it looks like the time is coming when it will be China's role again - heaven knows that country's got thousands of years of experience to draw upon.

Wars end, but trade and the balance of trade continue. And globalization means we'd better learn how to get along with the world.
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Mar, 2003 11:29 pm
I think we do underestimate (not to say patronize) the EU. Their economic and social model seems very well suited to the new millenium -- they've been danged smart. Many of the people who helped set it up in fact came out of the UN (I knew one or two). The US is getting into an increasingly foolish (well, more than that!) position.
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mamajuana
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Mar, 2003 11:44 pm
Tartarin - patronize - yes. That's sort of been the attitude towards a lot of things, and we are now paying a price. Superpowers are usually envied, feared, respected, hated - usually a combination of these.

It looks like we are neither respected or feared enough to bend all those countries to our will, and the WH doesn't seem to understand why, or even that's it's happened. To keep on begging, bribing people to go along with us; to have hundreds of thousands of troops ready for an invasion; to insist that we're right without any indication of willingness to reach understandings and agreements - this makes us look smaller and younger. I am regretful that we are wasting two hundred years of a good thing.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2003 12:20 am
I agree, Fbaezer, that much of what is happening is a jockeying for position between various power blocs - plus, I think, a dawning realization of the perils of the untrammeled power of the USA. I wonder if the current struggle between the US and France and Germany was a thing simply awaiting its arena.

It is interesting that, I believe, Steissd's currently accurate positioning of Australia in the "Anglo-saxon" bloc, is descriptive of the present government's policies - not necessarily of the hearts and minds of the Australian people - whose political inclinations lie closer, I think, to those of the EU than to the economic rationalism and neo-conservatism of the US. It will be fascinating to see how this plays out when the conservatives here lose power - given the powerful post WWII pull of the USA on bi-partisan politics here. Which way shall we jump? Well, it matters to us! heehee.
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trespassers will
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2003 12:43 am
fbaezer - An excellent lead-in and I like the way you are thinking. I have just found this discussion and have not read past your beginning. Will look forward to wading in more deeply as time permits.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2003 02:58 am
fbaezer,

As usual excellent and on the mark. I'd have put more spin on it by saying that the EU is countering but otherwise agree with what you have said.

I've been avoiding politics but this is something tha hasn't yet been said on these forums (that I know of) and I had to read it.
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frolic
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2003 04:05 am
fbaezer wrote:
I agree that Europe has a problem, as it isn't united in this very important issue.

I wouldn't define Spain as a permanent part of the "anglo-saxon" axe. It's very clear to me that Aznar is the only leader who has taken a clear cut position out of personal principles, not national interests. He's bound to lose power soon, for this sole reason. And I'm not sure Blair will be able to hold his position against growing unrest in the Labor party and the British society.

It would also seem clear that most Eastern European nations understand European union in trade, and economic, rather than political terms. That is why a majority of them has alligned with the USA.


Aznar seems to forget that 20 years ago Spain was a underdeveloped country. And that only the EU support brought them where they stand now. I hope we dont make the same mistake with "New Europe". the EU is not a charity organisation. If it was for me i would put Poland and the Czech Republic on hold. They dont deserve EU membership. And we can set an example.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2003 06:32 am
Frolic wrote:
If it was for me i would put Poland and the Czech Republic on hold. They dont deserve EU membership.
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trespassers will
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2003 10:16 am
mamajuana wrote:
Aznar is not popular in Spain, and he may have thought that aligning himself with the U.S. would help him politically. Very few Spaniards, apparently, think he's acting out of principle. (At least, that's what I get from Spanish friends and newspapers.)

I would caution you against attempting to identify trends among the populace--at home or abroad--based upon what you "hear" in your own circles. It is very easy to be misled since we tend to surround ourselves with people with whom we agree.

This reminds me of the nationally known journalist who commented after Reagan was elected in a landslide (49 of 50 states voted for him, if I recall) that she couldn't believe he had won because she "didn't know anyone who voted for him". Clearly her sample was skewed

Within A2K one might easily get the impression that most Americans are anti-Bush, pro-UN, pro-Martin Sheen, and opposed to military action in Iraq. According to every poll I have seen, that is not the case (and the scales are tipping further and further away from that minority position).
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2003 12:51 pm
Thanks, everyone, for your responses.

Now, a few asides:

Mexico

Patronizing is an accurate word to define most American politicians and many of the citizens when they discuss the world context. Both conservatives and liberals.

I have found specially hard to swallow the liberal American dismissals of Mexico as a "buyable" country (also in A2K). It means that they don't understand anything at all. In particular, they are unable to even glimpse our common history from our point of view. No empathy whatsoever.

In Mexico we view the US as the neighbor we are doomed to live with, but also as our ally, our partner and our friend. At the same time, we obviously don't want the US to do what it wants without international consensus: we have been both helped and bullied by the US. We hate being bullied by the US. We lost half our territory in a war with them. And less than a century ago, the US ambassador was key to the assasination of a democratic President and the support of a short lived dictatorship. It took lots of political efforts, from both side, to build a working friendship and partnership.

Mexico's position at the UN Security Council has been that of the player who holds his cards right next to his chest. If they have any common sense, the Americans must know by now that, with Mexican active diplomatic history taken into account, Nafta working fine, the US oblivious of Mexico's immigration interests, a less than 20% popular support towards the joint US-GB-Spain position and incoming federal elections, those cards are not saying "yessir". They also should know that a Mexican abstention equals going against the US without the electoral profits. Showing the stick has proven counterproductive.

So, I can only agree partially with Tartarin. President Fox is not going by principles only. In this case, principles and national interest coincide.


Spain

I think Aznar is acting with his guts, and with little reasoning. He makes sylogisms of this kind: Terrorism-ETA-Bad; Bush-Antiterrorist-Good; Hussein-Proterrorist-Bad; We-Civilized-Good; Moors-Uncivilized-Bad.
This goes against the commitment of Spanish democracy with Europe, which has helped so much to the well being of that nation.
In the particular case of Spain, the government's position has translated in a huge backlash in the polls. Aznar's Partido Popular has a confortable edge before the war crisis; now it has fallen behind the Socialist as is lagging day by day.


Eastern Europe

I think the UE was overanxious to expand. Former communist countries seem, quite logically, more interested in consolidating their democracies and bettering their economies, than in assisting, as subordinates, to the construction of an alternative political European superpower. At the moment, they're too fascinated with the thrills of the free market -epythomized by the US- to go further.


Turkey

Turkey has a big big problem. Kurdistán. In fact, they are at risk of losing part of their territory if the American intervention in Iraq results in a balkanization.
We can see some similarities between Iraq and Yugoslavia: countries put together by a tough leader. Only Saddam is way more ruthless than Tito ever was.
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trespassers will
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2003 01:29 pm
I would argue that in this instance, the principles and interests of the US likewise coincide.
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2003 03:40 pm
Dark days for Europe
The Iraq crisis has set back efforts to build a common EU foreign and security policy by years, writes Andrew Osborn
Friday March 14, 2003

No blood has yet been spilt in Iraq but in Brussels - the cauldron where a common European foreign and security policy (CFSP) has been simmering away for years - the figurative blood is already beginning to soak into the carpet.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,914499,00.html
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mamajuana
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2003 05:04 pm
TW - Although I'm sure your caution was meant for careful consideration, my observation about Aznar is built upon more than a circle of friends. There are many newspapers to read in Spain, and many U.N. people here from whom I also get opinions. And the millions who have marched in Galicia and other parts of Spain lend some credence to this as well.

I would add a note of caution about polls. particularly since this is a field I've worked in. A recently released poll in the NY Times, for instance, gave some statistics based upon a random sampling of a little over a thousand people in the whole country, done by telephone, over the course of a weekend. When the questions were broken down to two important ones, however, it turned out that one question had a response of a little over 400, and the other 500, and the poll (I think it was a joint NY Times/ABC) said the smaller numbers had a plus-minus factor considerably higher than the usual 3 - 4% they give. Reading further, it developed that this same random group nationwide of a little over a thousand people had actually been asked many qustions, with contradictory results.

Polls, as we all found, can be twisted, manipulated, managed to return answers that are desired by the ones who commission the polls. So I would be very careful in quoting polls. Particularly when public information itself is managed and manipulated by those giving it out.

And, although this administration has found it easy to disregard some public displays, the fact that millions have been counted in various protest marches cannot be ignored.

The way this is playing out is getting interesting.
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frolic
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2003 07:01 pm
steissd wrote:
Frolic wrote:
If it was for me i would put Poland and the Czech Republic on hold. They dont deserve EU membership.


I live now and have nothing to do with facial hair dudes from the past. This has nothing to do with tolerance to differing opinions. This has to do with respect for the hand that feeds you.
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Mar, 2003 08:03 pm
frolic wrote:

This has to do with respect for the hand that feeds you.


frolic, you sound like an angry father!
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Mar, 2003 12:31 pm
While I side with France-Germany on the Iraq issue, I think I understand the reasoning behind the Eastern Europeans.

They are afraid of having a new subordination (this time towards the EU led by Germany and France). It took them long to regain national autonomy, now they're afraid to lose it.

First Worldlers should have a little more empathy.
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