Of course, the French only act in the best interests of the European Union as a whole, that great organization that is making the nation state and national allegiances obsolete. In the French view of the world, the best interests of the EU coincide with surprising frequency with the narrow national interests of France. Funny, that.
On the other hand, articles like this illustrate the mentality that infests the halls of power and the ranks of the political activists in Europe. This kind of deeply flawed thinking is pervasive enough that it still poses a risk.
The Radical highlights another risk. The tricky part is to head off this sort of skullduggery without coming across as the arrogant superpower trying to kill the UN.
Overall, I'm encouraged by most of what I see. Both content and tone of statements by the US & UK governments are about right, and press coverage in Germany (and, apparently, France) is even getting less one-sided. That said, there's a long way yet to go and one blunder could still slow or reverse the trend.
:: Erik | 4/05/2003 08:35:00 AM | | ::
:: Wednesday, April 02, 2003 ::
Hearts and Minds?
A survey of the articles in the EU Observer over the past few days shows that the risk of a serious long-term breach between the US and Europe is very high, and that a significant segment of the European political establishment is actively working to encourage and prepare for that breach, and that the challenge will only grow over time. See:
European and British responses to my earlier post universally confirmed that Bush cannot "just ignore" the UN without either alienating or destroying Tony Blair, and a slew of articles like this indicate that alienation is the more likely outcome.
That would be a disaster. The Eurocrats and politicians are busily trying to construct a constitution which is designed to stifle dissent and which invests so much power in barely accountable "pan-European" (i.e. Franco-German) bureaucracy that it is effectively undemocratic. If anything approaching the current constitution is adopted, enormous power will be consolidated into a Brussels bureaucracy that is institutionally as well as emotionally anti-American. Emotions heal, but institutions endure.
The US needs to be win back old allies and firm up support from "new" Europe in preparation for the looming showdown, and a serious breach with the UK would destroy any hope of opposition at the constitutional convention. Blind anti-Americanism isn't universal and the odds are good if we recognize and respond appropriately to the risks. If we coast around the track on a premature victory lap and cackle about Chirac's demise, we could wake up to find ourselves facing a new cold war.