Monday, March 31. 2008
Posted by Joerg Wolf in Transatlantic Relations on Monday, March 31. 2008
"America badly needs to improve its global image," says The Economist in a special survey on "American and the world." The magazine is pretty optimistic regarding the next US president's chances to win back Europe's "love with America" (HT: Atlantic Community):
Many Europeans are ambivalent about America: prone to sounding off about Yankee imperialism but nevertheless infatuated with American culture. Many of them were furious with the Bush administration precisely because of its refusal to live up to the American ideals that had served the country so well during the second world war. Given a little wooing, they might be willing to fall back in love with America.
Was Europe ever truly "in love with America"? Is "just a little wooing" enough? I doubt it.
Related: Le Figaro says that Europe has to get prepared for rising US isolationism and fill the void (See Top Press Commentary in the Atlantic Community.) Europe won't do that either, I believe.
Defined tags for this entry: AC
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
John in Michigan, USA - #1.1 - 2008-04-01 12:00 -
Pamela - #1.2 - 2008-04-05 13:28 -
franchie - #2 - 2008-04-01 03:05 -
Well, "isolationism" is what I have heard for a few years by persons like A Adler. It also that word that depicted the US while I was in High School a few decades ago. I think they need to reconcentrate their energy, leave the Bush's chimeres of reshaping the world, (ie the great Middle-East) remove their actual lobbies in Washington DC that are oriented by a messianic vision, and wars goals, let Israel assume herself her defense, (he, we might see then some windows for discussions with her neighbours ; already Pakistan has said that he won't make the war for the war against the Talibans, but also discussions). Effectively this administration gives the impression that war is the only solution to any different in the world, it makes the nations feel dizzy, cause making systematically war isn't anymore the solution ; the ennemies have changed their tacticts ; in the "global" world they use internet to recruit their fighters, that are already in our countries. So, the war will be more "virtual", more of renseignements, more with local guerillas, that don't need a heavy and expensive structure, but well trained forces and technologies. So, in that way, I don't believe in the supposed future isolationism of the US, they 'll need to share the infos with the obliged (forced) allies in Europe, of the same original culture.
Anonymous - #3.1 - 2008-04-01 03:09 -
Dunno... It seems to be one of those visual effect things that appear to be visible only from the Northwestern shores of the Atlantic.
Joerg - Atlantic Review - #3.2 - 2008-04-01 07:10 -
I think I remember plenty of German newspaper editorials in the early 90s complaining about the lack of US leadership in the Balkans. Although that was when I was in high school, I am quite sure about those editorials. That was the void back then. Could happen again. Pakistan is the most dangerous country these days, but Europe has no Pakistan policy: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/952-Europe-has-no-Pakistan-Policy,-US-has-a-Bad-One.html[/url] Europe just sits back and let's the US try its best. Europe does not show much initiative at all to solve any conflict in the Middle East: Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Syria/Turkey, etc. Or Darfur... US foreign policy is often flawed. And maybe the excuse for Europe was that it was hoping the US would do it better next time. But if the US is reducing its international engagement, then this excuse does not work.
Anonymous - #3.2.1 - 2008-04-01 07:40 -
Actually, [i]capability[/i] is the key missing piece of the puzzle. Without adequate control, command and communication capability you're going to nowhere really fast. I've mentioned the enormous significance of macro-technological (and industrial) development in Europe before, but it bears repetition: until and unless there's a sufficient, adequate and well-prepared skeletal military/logistical/intel structure in place, there's no place for wishful thinking. NATO is hardly able to offer a unifying interface; what's really needed is a fully integrated EDF, something which - sadly - meets veto after veto west of the Channel. There's simply nothing at present, and I mean: [i]nothing[/i] that would enable a realistic statement toward European self-reliance to engage something of the dimensions of Rwanda, Darfur or the FYR on their own. Nothing. So, until and unless Europeans buck and/or silence the whiny British anti-European defense force trend, there's little realism to be vested in hopes of "stepping up". Very little.
Zyme - #126.96.36.199 - 2008-04-01 10:47 -
We are not making progress by continually accusing the British. They still cling to their "Britannia rule the world" idea - and cannot imagine to be incorporated into a common defense with the majority coming from the continent. So instead of putting pressure on them, we should lure them (and with "them" I mean their political leaders) with personal benefits. The British progress made about the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty is astonishing - given the totally sceptical British public. But EU colleagues have managed to more or less win the leadership of all major parties in Britain. Not the least I think because those leaders hope to be awarded with positions in Brussels. If the same way was established for the development of the common defense structure, we would get along a lot quicker. For example, British generals could be promised a leading position in the common defence for the first decade. I am sure that would make the entire process a lot more tempting for the Brits.
Don S - #188.8.131.52.1 - 2008-04-01 11:05 -
"We are not making progress by continually accusing the British." Yes, The term 'poodle' in reference to a certain retired British statesman should have long-sice retired. Most particularly since he was not anyone's 'poodle'. 'They still cling to their "Britannia rule the world" idea - and cannot imagine to be incorporated into a common defense with the majority coming from the continent.' The problem is that the Brits visualize their force as being 'nationalised by the EU. Still financed and manned by the UK taxpayer but controlled completely from Bruxelles. The only (in the British view) way this can possibly work is for other major EU powers to bring funding and training up to UK standards. France, Italy, Spain, Germany, etc....). How likely is this to happen? "So instead of putting pressure on them, we should lure them (and with "them" I mean their political leaders) with personal benefits." Very smart. A good step would be to drop the poodle gibes and give Tony Blair his heart's desire - one of the Eu presidencies.
Anonymous - #184.108.40.206.2 - 2008-04-01 11:28 -
I have this stubborn idea that the start of progress is to acknowledge that one's stuck in the present. And to move on from there, working with what's within one's [i]own[/i] realm of possibilities. I agree: there's no point in trying to make substantial British objection to a more capable and above all effective EU budge. But instead of pinning hopes on more or less sophisticated bribery offers, perhaps in the understanding that won't exactly have the supposed effect, I suggest looking in the opposite direction: move on and forward without the British. It's time to move ahead with the two-speed EU idea, and to erect a European Pentagon, angled on France, Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain. Sadly, De Gaulle is tremendously underrated; he had the right idea five decades ago. It's time to make up for the lost opportunities, and create that trans-Atlantic counterpoint which benefits the US most. I'd set out forth two nimble conditions: stop pushing Turkey into the non-fit in the EU, and two, reassure the Brits that when they grow up they can play too. Other than that, as far as I'm concerned: play ball.
Zyme - #220.127.116.11.2.1 - 2008-04-01 13:10 -
Oh god, not the Polish! With them this whole process is doomed from the beginning. As relieable partners I would consider France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Finland. If a Europe of two speeds is needed, than I would start with these.
franchie - #18.104.22.168.2.1.1 - 2008-04-01 16:42 -
Don S - #22.214.171.124.2.1.2 - 2008-04-01 17:46 -
"As relieable partners I would consider France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Finland." Ah, but would they consider YOU a reliable partner?!!! France, likely. Nederlands yes. Belgium, not sure but they don't pass gas without asking the French and Germans, so probably yes if Germany and France said yes. Austria? Don't know enough to judge. Finland? I don't think so. Their geographical position as the chigger on the hide of the Bear has compelled them to follow Bear-friendly policies for a long time. That brings us to Germany. Is Germany a 'reliable' partner from a defense perspective? I'#d say their recent history wars with the longer term perspective on this point. The Germans held up their end pretty well between 1955 and 1985, then cut their defense budget radically after 1985. If judged under the former criteria they could be termed reliable. Judging based upon the period 1985-2005 Germany would have to be considered unreliable.
Zyme - #126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 - 2008-04-01 19:55 -
You have a pretty bad conception of our country huh? We are very reliable, at least as long as the others agree with us :D Seriously, the countries I named have societies not unlike ours. Together we are considered to be the heart of traditional Europe and the EU. These peoples have similar attitudes towards going to war, and governmental policies to deceive and appease their public will not be totally different from each other. In other words: Those countries are predestined to have a common army to pursue common goals. I named Finland because they are determined to keep the Russians at bay - and because it is the country we traditionally have the best relations with from all scandinavian countries.
Don S - #184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1 - 2008-04-02 17:33 -
You are utterly reliable as long as 1) you are protected, 2) you are able to pursue a policy of complete neutrality between your allies (I won't presume to say friends) and those who are potential threats, and 3) All your allies always behave with complete adherence to the principals of complete pacifism as formulated in Germany. Then you are reliable, otherwise pretty much absolutely unreliable. Unfortunately several things in that list contradict themselves in the real world. In good times when no stresses are put on the contradictions Germans are the most reliable of allies. In harsher times when the contradictions come to light and stresses are made Germans are among the least reliable.... What I think matters not at all, correct?
Zyme - #18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1.1 - 2008-04-02 21:03 -
Don S - #126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1.1.1 - 2008-04-04 16:15 -
Zyme - #184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 - 2008-04-04 18:27 -
Zyme - #22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1.2 - 2008-04-02 21:12 -
Don S - #188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.3 - 2008-04-04 19:02 -
"But be warned - among the younger there are no less that wish our country to oppose american influence. " You think I haven't seen that the past 10 years? Of course I have! Problem is that asking the US to continue defending you while you do a glacially small buildup - and taking every opportunity to slit Uncle Sam's Achilles tendon while we remain somehow obligated to continue defending you - simply is not going to work. We cannot 'domineer' Germany into doing anything. That is not completely a bad thing even for the US. But the German form of not being dominated seems to be saying 'no' to everything, and that will not work. The US CAN force Germany to contribute to it's own defense, but only by breaking the NATOP alliance even more than Germany has already done. I think the German view tends to be that the only legitimnate role of NATO and the US armed forces is defending Europe. The American view is that limiting NATO to that role benefits Germany greatly and the US very little. Tell me, why should the US continue to heavily subsidize the defense of trading rivals? "The US here have the smell of a country that has domineered us long enough. We made peace with the French and the Brits, we got rid of the Russians - now the US are next." Do you mean 'make peace' with the US? Or 'get rid of'? Actually I think we are in agreement here. You wish to 'get rid of' the US and I wish to get out of NATO - at least the parts of NATO who palpably wish to benefit from the US contribution without giving anything substantial in return. "Think about it. It is the reason our politicians receive public cheer whenever they thwart american plans like taking Ukraine and Georgia into Nato." Yes, I knew that. But you make an unwarranted assumption here - that I support Bush on expanding NATO when the opposite is true. The US needs to pull resources out of NATO and permit the Germans the freedom you yearn for. Perhaps then the countries can be friends again, although not for many years, because both Germans and the US feel betrayed by each other now. Or rahter the US already does and Germany will do when we remove the German birthright - getting defended without cost or sacrifice.
Zyme - #220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.3.1 - 2008-04-04 20:52 -
Anonymous - #22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 - 2008-04-04 21:34 -
At the second glance one might think about the old arguments that Nato does not primarily defend Europe - but instead prevents Russia from gaining more influence. Since Russia is not the Soviet Union this is nonsense as well of course. I think the Baltic States and the Visegrad-4 might not agree with you on that point. Perhaps you mean that Russia's expanding influence is not a problem for Germany which is correct. However such an attitude, perceiving the slav nations as an economically provinical hinterland to be exploited for Germany's greater benefit, is one of the reasons that the central and eastern Europeans dont trust Germany for their continued existence.
Kevin Sampson - #184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 - 2008-04-05 01:01 -
'Discharging Nato would strip the Americans of a good deal of influence over Europe so to speak.' The reverse is also true, so the question is, is it a net asset or liability? The latter, IMO.
Zyme - #22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 - 2008-04-05 14:47 -
Why is the reverse also true?
Kevin Sampson - #184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.1 - 2008-04-05 17:24 -
Zyme - #22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1.1.1 - 2008-04-05 21:07 -
World bank and IMF?
Pat Patterson - #184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 - 2008-04-06 00:06 -
The World Bank, which is primarily concerned with providing loans and technical assistance to developing nations, is led by an American. While the US does indeed have the largest individual vote, arrived at by how much money the US has loaned the IMF, it is not a majority but that is really not tha important as most actions the IMF takes are by consensus. The only organization that could truly counter some US actions in the world would by ndirect means be the WTO. If all economic decisions were seen as having political consequences then many issues could go against the US.
SC - #126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1.3.2 - 2008-04-05 02:38 -
Do you think that the US would be less willing, or as willing, to maintain, or even extend, security guarantees to Europe in the absence of NATO?
Zyme - #184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 - 2008-04-05 14:49 -
Less willing of course - but who needs security garantuees here today? We are in the process of uniting the continent. Russia has become a valuable partner instead of a feared opponent.
Don S - #22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 - 2008-04-05 15:12 -
True, at this time Russia is no threat to Germany. And in fact at times Germans seem to value the Russian partnership more highly than that with the US. But I think Heisenberg's Uncertainty theorum may apply to politics as well as physics. The fact is that Russia has no hope of military victory over NATO - while the US remains part of NATO. If the US were to withdraw from NATO and remove the security guarantee the situation would fundamentally change, although I won't predict how it will change. I suspect Russia would become much more assertive in that circumstance. Germany and Germans have been undervaluing the security guarantee the US has provided for at least a generation. This will lead in time to an earthquake in trans-Atlantic relations - and a new world. That split may occur in 5 years or 20 years. Or if Europeans actually try to address the problems the US is talking about) it may not happen at all. But I'm not betting on the latter. I think sooner or later you will treat a Democratic President as roughly as you treated Bush - and alienate your very last remaining friends in the US body politic.
SC - #184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2 - 2008-04-05 15:37 -
Ok. You believe that security guarantees are valueless. But is that a view widely shared among governments and governing classes? Arguably, I think not. So, in the absence of NATO, countries on either side of the Atlantic most likely would seek out bilateral or multilateral security arrangements and guarantees. The question is, what would either side get in the exchange? Don has argued for some time that NATO is becoming, or already is, a bad deal for the US. And yet, successive US administrations, including the present one, have not only been committed to NATO but want to expand its size and scope. Why? Joerg entitled his post "European Love for the US and American Isolationism". If American security guarantees are of such little value - to either side of the bargain - then why isn't traditional American isolationism a stronger force in US politics? There was at least one Republican candidate for the Presidency for which this traditional form lay close to the surface, and he didn't get very far. This most traditional of American foreign policies dominated for 165 years, surviving intact a number of conflicts including one world war in the early part of the 20th century. It was a period during which the country grew from a rural, and largely coastal, agrarian society to an industrial society spanning a continent that already was a world power in trade and industry without perceived need, much less desire, for security arrangements - particularly with European countries - before the turning point in the 1940's. Where do you suppose all the isolationists have gone?
Don S - #22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.2.1 - 2008-04-07 12:05 -
"Don has argued for some time that NATO is becoming, or already is, a bad deal for the US. And yet, successive US administrations, including the present one, have not only been committed to NATO but want to expand its size and scope. Why?" I think there are two things going on, SC. I think it's obvious to almost everyone that NATO in it's traditional form is pretty much 'mission accomplished'. No more USSR and most of the former Warsaw Pact has been absorbed into the western alliance. The older European members of the alliance have radically cut their defense budgets and become significantly more pacifist as their proximity to the remaining threat recedes. This tendency extended across the the entire alliance (not excluding the US) but Germany is by far the most extreme example of this shift to pacifism. The US, UK, and possibly France much less so. So NATO needs to change or go the way of the Holy Roman Empire and be recognized as defunct. One obvious way to make NATO relevant again is to expand the alliance to cover countries which are physically closer to the remaining threat - Russia. This has already been done by NATO expansion. This has several effects - it removes traditional western Europe further from the threat and thus reinforces the pacifistic and busy-body tendencies of the older European members. They can cut their contribution to NATO while raising the profile of their demands upon NATO policymaking and even insist upon a controlling influence upon US policy outside of NATO upon the grounds that the US is a member of NATO and therefore everything the US does must be controlled by NATO. There is no substantial cost to behaving this way; the Bear is now a very long way from Germany/France/Italy and is no threat at all to these countries - as long as the US and UK maintain the 'security guarantee. What's not to like from the POV of Germany? Extremely low defense expenditure - historically the lowest ever, I believe - coupled with strengthened influence over the immensely powerful US military which will be available as needed and which can be condemned at all other times to raise the public image of Germany - at the expense of the US' image. The Bush proposal to further expand NATO to Ukraine and Georgia make no military sense - one has to consider the politics to see the logic. Public opinion in Ukraine is fundamentally divided between pro-NATO and pro-Russian camps - Ukraine should not be admitted until that is resolved. Georgia has the public support but is a long way from the strategic center of NATO - so that doesn't make strategic sense either - unless one believes that NATO should expand to be a global alliance as Rudy Guliani proposed. But expansion would have several political effects. It would dilute the relative influence of the 'pacifist' members. It will be popular in Eastern Europe. And it will make NATO more relevant. To statesmen of the Bush generation (I include McCain and HRC in that statement) NATO is an invariant - it is assumed to be needed and must be patched and repaired through all the stresses that it has experienced in recent years. The Bush expanison plan can be seen as a desperate effort to preserve NATO and make it worthwhile for the US to participate. Such desperate meausres rarely succeed. I ask a more fundamental question. The late Peter Drucker wrote that every organisation needs to ask itself a fundamental question about all of it;s operations each year: "If we had to build this from scratch today - would it make sense to do so?". If the answer is 'no' then the organisation needs to start winding down that operation. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall NATO was definately needed and the answer was yes. Since 1989 the answer to the question has been increasingly obviously 'no', measured by how much the members have been willing to give up to preserve it. Watch Germany - Germany is the canary in the coal mine. Germany is the closest traditional NATO member to the Bear - and Germany is the least-willing to sacrifice anything to preserve NATO. There is your answer - say No to NATO. What is needed is for a generation of politicians to see the situation with fresh eyes, which is the primary reason why I am supporting Obama for President this year. He is the most likely to do this and he is very sharp and principled. McCain is cold-war generation and will see NATO in that light. HRC is transitional and (I think) completely expedient; I don't see her doing anything not driven by opinion polls. Obama is the best bet to look to the future interests of the US.
Zyme - #184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2.1.1 - 2008-04-07 14:14 -
"I ask a more fundamental question. The late Peter Drucker wrote that every organisation needs to ask itself a fundamental question about all of it;s operations each year: "If we had to build this from scratch today - would it make sense to do so?". If the answer is 'no' then the organisation needs to start winding down that operation." Very well said. This question is the bottom line of every alliance, it reveals its current state - and your answer is also correct.
Don S - #22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 - 2008-04-07 16:16 -
Yes. NATO is in a curious situation. If an extraterrestial were to analyze NATO given no more information than that one member was spending 3.7% of GDP to defense and another nation only 1.3% of it's GDP, and asked which country was spending the higher figure and which the lower, I think 'ET' would reply that it is obvious that the US is expending 1.3% and Germany 3.7%! The US has no strategic threats worth mentioning - and Germany does. Potentially at least. To it's trade partners if not to German national territory - although the threat is more real than people understand I think. Some significant part of the US 3.7% is effectively neutralizing the threat from Russia to Europe - and has done so for two generations. Both Europe and the US have lost sight of that fact, Europe more than the US I think. For Europe this is now considered part of it's 'birthright', I think. Not something which has to be paid for in any way. I don't think people in the US would agree, and the more obvious Europe makes it that they think this way the less people in the US will agree. A widening fissure.
Zyme - #220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 - 2008-04-07 18:42 -
Don S - #188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.1 - 2008-04-07 19:55 -
Umm, yes. Citing the totals begs the question of effectiveness. Italy spends about 33 billion euros and Russia spends 40 billion - that means the Italian military is 80% as effective as Russia's, no? Not (say) 10% or 20%. Ummm, right. And Europeans call US Yank's 'materialists'! I think it's realistic to judge the Russian military as about equivalent as those of Germany, France, Italy, and Spain combined, perhaps better because of the tradit6ion and the experience factor. More and sometimes better equipment and a MUCH better idea how to use the equipment! Remember the early days of the Russian campaign in WWII. Russia had a considerable material advantage both in quality and quantity over Germany, so who was threatening whose capital in December 1941? Hint: It wasn't Berlin. Just to posiit a hypothetical situation: Suppose the US were to withdraw the Security guarantee (and really mean it) and Russia were to take the opportunity to grab for it's traditional prize - the Dardanelles. Going through whomever they need to to get that. Who in the remaining NATO states could effectively respond to that (apart from Turkey itself)? France, perhaps. The UK - if it wished to. But Turkey is a long way from London - almost as far as Afghanistan is from Berlin. So say the Brits opt out - "too involved in Afghanistan, old man"! Who stops them, tell me? Italy, Germany, Spain? Don't make me laugh! Greece? Ummm, right. Greece would be providing covert aid but not to the Turks. France? Is France going to take Russia on nearly alone? I don't think so, France simply doesn't have the mass. Neither does the UK for that matter, not practically. France AND the UK - possible. You depend upon the US (and the UK) for all kinds of capabilities - and you routinely abuse us for being wretched militarists. And you do your best not to help - not even to maintain the capability to help - to do so would be 'immoral', and the actions of 'war criminals'.
franchie - #22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.1.1 - 2008-04-07 21:13 -
UK and France were already once on Turkey's side against Russia : Crimea war ; but that was during the Ottoman Empire. Seems that countries that have coasts on international waters are more concerned by international conflicts, especially if one country wants to control a pass that is obviously very busy with ships, so are the Dardanelles. [url=http://mars.wnec.edu/~grempel/courses/russia/lectures/19crimeanwar.html]Crimea war[/url]
Zyme - #220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1.1.2 - 2008-04-08 00:12 -
You almost sound like those believing that islamists are about to implement sharia in Europe. With the russian fleet rotting in its harbours, its nuclear propulsions being recovered with EU financing, they sure must be at our throat sometime soon. I am speechless.
Don S - #188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 - 2008-04-08 11:20 -
Such scorn, Zyme. My point is not the imminence of a Russian attack against against a NATO member but to to remind people that one of the lessons of history is that what appears to be a stable state - isn't. In 1970 everyone thought the Russians were a superpower in every sense of the word, fully capable of conquering Western Germany and imposing their own 'Pax USSR' without massive intervention by the US military on the side of West Germany. Today the conventional wisdom is the opposite - Russia is weak as water and will remain so forever. What I'm saying is that the conventional wisdom tends to be wrong in the long term. In the span of 15 years Germany between 1930 and 1945 Germany went from weak as water to unconquerable to crushed. The inflection points of history can be much sharper than we realize, and the more complacent we are the more likely those sharp points are to rip us open. Europe strikes me as complacent as it has ever been in the current age. That is dangerous; things may not be as you complacently assume. Many things....
Zyme - #126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1 - 2008-04-08 11:58 -
Don S - #22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1.1 - 2008-04-08 13:01 -
Trade relations - a compelling argument to be sure. Except for one awkward fact - the genesis of WWI. In 1914 the volume of world trade was comparable to that today. Trade between Germany and the UK, Germany and France, Germany and the Russian Empire - very high, at least as high (on a comparable basis) as today. I personally find the 'balance of forces' argument you previously cited as more convincing than the 'volumn of trade' argument made here. It's not completely convincing either - but stronger.
Zyme - #18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.1.1 - 2008-04-08 13:26 -
Oki but in 1914 there still was the deep hatred and mistrust I spoke about above. This surely helped in the creation of offensive alliances, created provocations and countermeasures - a vicious circle so to speak. And like I pointed out, none of the opposing countries in WW1 would have gotten the idea of researching technology with each other. They all insisted on keeping an independent chain of development - to be ready for war and able to surprise foes. Both decisive elements for WW1 have gone.
Don S - #220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 - 2008-04-08 18:09 -
Again I'm not sure about that, Zyme. Obviously the pre-WWI 'deep mistrust' between France and Germany is 99% gone - but there was not a lot of 'deep mistrust' between Kaiserine Germany and Imperial Russia, I think. They had been allies up until about 1890 I believe. Germany had not fought a war with Russia since Crimea, and that was actually Prussia. Today I'd have to say that there is conclusive evidence of 'deep mistrust' on the part of Putinesque Russia. Mostly aimed at the US to be sure, but the events since 1985 all appear as one vast conspiracy from the POV of many Russians - including the most powerful Russians I think. From their POV they have 'lost' territory to NATO - the entire former Eastern Bloc, the Baltic states, Ukraine, and much more. From Putin's POV it probably makes the French loss of Alsace and Lorraine appear a bagatelle by comparison! Lets not forget that the scenario we're discussing is that a disillusioned/disinterested US has withdrawn from NATO and no longer stands in Russia's way. That will not make them friendly to the US - not for a long time. But they are not going to fight the US in the Bering Sea in order to reconquer their national territories in Europe, are they? No, they may pursue a strategy not dissimular to the one Germany pursued in the 1930's - regaining the territories one at a time. Would Germany/France/Italy/Spain fight for the Ukraine or Georgia? No - it will be Neville Chamberlain all over again. 'Peace in Our Day'. It may never happen. Russia may never recover to the point where it feels able to take the gamble. Putin won't do it - he is more of a Ludendorf or Hindenberg figure than The Little Corporal. But I think he'd very much like to - as would his successors.
franchie - #220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 - 2008-04-08 21:02 -
"Would Germany/France/Italy/Spain fight for the Ukraine or Georgia? No - it will be Neville Chamberlain all over again. 'Peace in Our Day" why should we ? they were/aren't in our sphere influence ; only if the Dardanelles are controlled by an awful Ivan again
Don S - #220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.1 - 2008-04-09 10:59 -
Perhaps not, and perhaps quite rightly also, franchie. But will Germany/France/Italy/Spain fight for Poland or the Baltic countries? Hungary? Slovakia, Czech Republic? The question here is where is the 'fighting line'?
franchie - #220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.1.1 - 2008-04-09 12:16 -
likely not, they dream of your "Marshall plan", not of ours ; though money has no colors (and no smells), they also appreciate our money subventions
Zyme - #220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.1.2 - 2008-04-09 14:11 -
The Eastern Europeans would be well advised to rely on the EU and integrate into its structure voluntarily. It is after all the main reason they can count on France and Germany as allies. We all know how much sympathy there is from Moscow to the buffer states. Without the EU the same wind might start to blow from Berlin. It is thus in their vital interest to support further EU integration.
SC - #220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.2.1.2 - 2008-04-07 20:58 -
Don S - #126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 - 2008-04-09 12:30 -
SC, sorry for the delay in replying to this. First a 'chip-shot' about your phrasing. Tainted? That's a rather nasty word - be careful, your air of detachment may be slipping! ;) 'Influenced', maybe even 'overly influenced' I could buy. But 'tainted'? I'm neither suffering from food poisoning nor gangrene at the present moment! The rest of your argument is an interesting one, but I don't think I can do it justice in the context of this topic. I think it gets into the questions of 'first intentions' about the basis of the NATO alliance and how these appear to be evolving in different directions in different parts of the alliance. One thing which has become very clear to me is that the US is not the only country with just grievances about NATO in it's current state; the central European countries have a much different POV, the newest members have a still different POV, and even Russia has valid questions about how NATO is evolving - they see it as a threat even though the intention is not to be threatening to Russia, I think. But I think this belongs on another topic. I am thinking of submitting a 'first intentions' or 'purposes of NATO' guest post sometime. Or perhaps you may wish to begin this?
SC - #18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 - 2008-04-10 04:55 -
SC - #184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.2 - 2008-04-11 01:31 -
Whoa! Sometimes ideas are just in the air! You should take a look at this article I just found by Robert Kagan, http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/Spring-2008/full-neocon.html. Embedded in it area some of the same points I made in my post above, in particular note how he describes the aims of FDR, Truman and Acheson, etc. His quotes of my home state Senator (from the 50's, of course) Robert Taft are not to be missed.
franchie - #126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.2.2 - 2008-04-07 12:17 -
a few years ago I read that Ms Merkel had talk of an EU army, that is precisely what also wants Sarko ; I remember a meeting with the brit Blair and Chirac in Dinard (don't remember the exact year) who also agreed, at least, for a cooperation in specific technologies and interventions ; Germans and Frenchs are already cooperating as far as police, renseignements, and a few expeditions in Africa, don't forget they also cooperate (also Italy) in former Yougoslavia, Lebanon and Afghanistan ; they alternate thedirection of the different forces ; Spain, Portugal, despite their latin America involvement are cooperating as far as police is concerned, renseignements, hunting illegal immigration... They all are members of the Airbus consortium, Space industry, Eads... The smaller states seem a bit more "cold" on EU goals ; may-be, for them, EU is more an opportunity to make businesses than a global will for identic policies and defenses ; they still look towards their big "son" at the western diving sun ; in any case, if Nato structures change into an EU formation, these smaller countries will still desagree with the EU bigger states, cause they'll can't be a "real" voice that counts for the decisions. In 2009, the Nato summit will be the decisive summit : we'll definitly know who should be in there, who pays what, who share what.... what are Nato goals.
Zyme - #220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.2.2.1 - 2008-04-07 14:37 -
franchie - #126.96.36.199.2.2 - 2008-04-01 17:26 -
wwe do have cpmmun projects with the Brits : [url]http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=dti&id=news/dtCAR0207.xml[/url]
Joe Noory - #188.8.131.52.2.2.1 - 2008-04-04 17:59 -
The French are soliciting a French carrier. It seems the only kind of defense posture they find acceptable is the another pan-euro subsidy boondoggle.
John in Michigan, USA - #184.108.40.206 - 2008-04-01 11:52 -
Anonymous - #220.127.116.11.1 - 2008-04-01 12:22 -
I'm not sure I see any reason to assign "blame" for the British vetoes; they're just what they are. The Western European Union is one such intriguing cases. The defense-to-GDP ratio argument is popular in Westminster, I know. But that argument doesn't speak to what otherwise would be inexplicable vetoes, such as to the WEU. Because the WEU had stepping stones in spending in sight. Yet it was adamantly axed down, under especially vehement British insistence that NATO should never have a parallel. No, those vetoes have in my opinion a more strategic background; the desire to keep the "special relationship" with the US alive, with the UK acting as the pivotal hinge, which necessarily implies knocking European aspirations down wherever those might somehow threaten to create parallel, hence rivaling structures next to NATO (and where the UK might very well hold a less pivotal, "special relationship" trump card). But that doesn't mean there's no way out of that stalemate: that's why I suggest to triangulate the British Exception out of the equation, and move on to greener pastures. One inspiring example of where some pushing can bear fruit with the British even reconsidering / reversing, is the birth of dual-use Galileo. Few things feed my optimism about a future EDF more than the sight of those going up, over the next years.
Anonymous - #18.104.22.168.2 - 2008-04-01 12:38 -
Sorry - I hadn't replied to your question... I use EDF ("European Defense Force") as a term referring to a [i]future[/i] military body. By comparison, EUFOR is more of an ad hoc mission type organization; [url=http://www.eurocorps.org]EUROCORPS[/url] comes a lot closer as a much more permanent structure.
Nanne - #3.2.2 - 2008-04-01 23:26 -
Good answer. Europe has no real foreign policy anywhere. The countries still follow their own.
Anonymous - #22.214.171.124 - 2008-04-02 02:35 -
I suppose that "real" is a matter of [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CFSP]definition[/url]. In so far as that it has a limited scope, I submit the British Exception (in a more broad, non-rebate related sense) as a major factor. Then there's the issue of the misused referendums in France and the Netherlands, preceded by the Nice Treaty referendum in Ireland. The more clearly the EU is laid out internally, the more strongly it'll stand outwardly.
Nanne - #126.96.36.199.1 - 2008-04-03 19:12 -
The general reaction I get with regard to the EU is that no one understands it. Some of that is overblown (few people really understand their own parliamentary procedures). But we do need to think deep about the architecture of the EU.
franchie - #3.3 - 2008-04-01 17:11 -
I found that in the "void" : [url=http://www.globalfirepower.com/list_mil_exp.asp]the black hole[/url]
Joe Noory - #3.3.1 - 2008-04-02 14:01 -
Like most statistics compiled for a specific intent, it's rigged up to make numbers look dramatic. How is it that the EU can be proudly called a unified economic and philisophical entity, but be allowed to appear not as one entry in the statistics you reference, but as several? Why isnt it accompanied by per-capita expenditures that would put Lebanon on par with the US?
Don S - #4 - 2008-04-01 10:54 -
joe - #5 - 2008-04-03 07:19 -
Good so the "core" of the EU is going to go off and provide for its own protection. Maybe at some point taking on security missions outside the land mass of Europe. I hope this means the unwinding of NATO.
Joe Noory - #6 - 2008-04-04 15:14 -
The US is jockeying Russia into a state of inclusion into the western alliance as the 3rd leg of a stool, and tacitly handing the EU-3 the role as the middleman. And the idiots don't want it. They're being handed the biggest force multiplier they've ever gotten at nearly no risk or cost, and they were resisitng it up until now. Now they finally get the jist that they shouldn't anticipate more fear of threats from Russia than Russia is actually dispensing. By backing off on Ukraine and Georgeia thay ere actually giving them a zone that will enourage an empirial realm mentaility as opposed to relating to other powers orbitting within the boundaries of a larger alliance. Idiots. This one exchange could elimiante all the potential antagonism and risk Europe has coming from Russia, and they resisted it.
Pat Patterson - #6.1 - 2008-04-04 20:11 -
Plus there still seems to be a disconnect between those who merely experienced Soviet subversion and those who were actually occupied. Poland is a good example in that to suggest that their fear of Russia is misplaced since the Soviet Union is no more conveniently ignores the centuries of Russian attempts to dominate the Polish plains. To either serve as a corridor to the West and also to block such an invasion route from the West. There are certain geogrphic realities at work in regards to Russian fears and intents that have absolutely nothing to do with that country as a semi-democracy commodity state or its former status as a revolutionary internationalist state. Just as Egypt would like to control invasion routes through that coastal strip known as Gaza, the US and Europe needing to control the shipping lanes around Iceland and the Russians will continue to see their geogrphic need to dominate Poland and thus have a strategic advantage over Germany.
Jill - #7 - 2008-10-10 02:09 -
I'm sick of hearing what THEY think. Their stupidity empowers socialism in the USA, and Americans are now craving the blood of anybody who helps socialists in the USA. They should probably worry about what we think of them because it isn't very good.
Google the Site