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That Vision Thing (Or: The Best of Atlantic Review)

This is a guest post from our long-time reader and commenter John Hadjisky, who comments as "John in Michigan" on Atlantic Review

I've been thinking about how to explain the trans-Atlantic relationship to an average citizen on either side, in broad strokes. Part of the problem is a lack of common vocabulary. Here on Atlantic Review we tend to bash away at that problem using a combination of rants and highly technical analysis. I have nothing but praise for a good rant, especially one that attracts readers. But, rants have obvious problems. Technical arguments, meanwhile, at best are wonkish, and at worst are nit-picking.

Occasionally, however, we get some real gems here. So for my first official guest post, I decided to mine the archives and highlight what I like best about Atlantic Review. I hope everyone will add their own "best of" links.

1. Our own "Parable of the Nets" regarding social welfare.

2. How is consensus politics different from competitive politics? Electoral and legislative procedures, obviously, but that can get boring. We've had better luck discussing:


political crime


3. We've even managed a bizarre mix of fact checking and ranting, resulting in some gems of understanding:
Setting the Record Straight: Carl Benz from Germany Invented the Car

In preparing this post, I also discovered some new gems of unknown quality:

1. European politics is opera; American politics is sport. Discuss.

2. Can literature, or even film (heh), illuminate the trans-Atlantic relationship?

Europeans correctly point out that combative American politics is obsessed with winners and losers, resulting in a rougher discourse and, by definition, alienation (of the losers, at least). On the other hand, Americans could point out that dramatic European politics is excessively dependent on what Samuel Taylor Coleridge called a "willing suspension of disbelief".

That phrase to me nicely captures the dangers but also the epic possibilities of the EU.

Americans, as is our wont, take an approach that is both more practical, and more religious: "If you build it, he will come" So: you have to build something physical. Also, in that film, "he" is the protagonist's father, from whom the protagonist was alienated. But "he" could be interpreted as a Messiah figure also. This line is often misquoted as "if you build it, they will come" which is a reference to the twisted politics and economics of building a sports stadium...or perhaps an Olympics bid.

What film or book comes to mind when you think of the EU? To my fellow Americans: bonus points if you can answer this question without invoking Orwell.

What are your favorite posts or comments on Atlantic Review?

Tip: If you remember reading or writing something on Atlantic Review and are having trouble finding it, use “Google this site” featuer in the sidebar on the right.


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Marie Claude on :

Uh, John European politics is opera, booffon opera would be the right color ! well, at the moment, I have no particular posts to point on, but I remember quite well when an Iranian rebel squatted this place ! also, I watched "good bye Lenin" last week, and it's a good indication for me to understand what eastern Germany life was there before "the anschluss" said some former eastern interviewed Germans on the subject

John in Michigan, US on :

I remember well that Iranian rebel, Pen Name. Or was he a regime supporter? It was hard to tell. [url=]Here[/url] is a link to one of the main discussions with Pen Name. I got the feeling that, at that time of that discussion, which was before the stolen 2009 Iranian election, the split between the regime supporters and the rebels was less deep, and both sides were very wary of America (especially Bush) and the West. Since then, I have seen some pro-Western and even pro-American noises coming out of the Iranian protest movement. But are they just noises, or are they a temporary, tactical change of heart, or are they a real change of heart? [url=]The President Snubs Iran's Democrats[/url] Be sure to note that opinion piece was co-written by a member of [url=]Tahkim Vahdat[/url], the student movement that occupied the US embassy!

Pat Patterson on :

There is a California politician, Armineh Chelebian, of Armenian descent who posts regularly on her FB page about Iranian affairs. She seems to have good contacts within Iran as she often posts statements by Hosseini days before they are noticed in the West. The split seems real but then again so did The Trust during the early days of the Soviet Union.

Marie Claude on :

probably "Pen Name" was a regime supporter, even if he wasn't, then, a "green" one, which is supposed to be a deviance of the official regime's, but still under the rules of the theocrats, ie Rafsanjani, Komeyni's spiritual heir !

John in Michigan, US on :

[url=]Opéra bouffon[/url] seems right. And in American politics today, the fans want both teams to lose.

John in Michigan, US on :

Crap, what I just wrote might make you think I was trying to correct you. I didn't mean that as a correction, just agreement and also a link for those who, like me, don't know that style of opera. Sorry.

Marie Claude on :

"opera-bouffe" is the right term (in french for wikipedia, or "opera buffa", but the explanation isn't quite equivalent to the french link

John in Michigan, US on :

Opéra bouffe? Is that like a [url=]soap opera[/url], but paid for by a food company instead of a soap company? Yes! I've managed a joke about the Common Agricultural Policy! US Ag policy is not much better.

Pat Patterson on :

The closest thing to an opera buffa that most people would identify would be A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. Which mainly consisted of servants trying to pull the rug out from under their masters. But I would like to thank John for reminding me that I can be quite rational at times. Maybe my evil twin has been commenting lately?

Zyme on :

Interesting collection of discussions which lead to a better understanding of the other side of the pond! When I have time to take a look at all of them, I will write down my thoughts in a more detailed way.

Zyme on :

Hey Marie - is it true what I read today that in French national politics there are discussions for some time now on the introduction of a "french-german" minister, taking part in both national cabinets ?? What is expected from such a minister, why does the idea receive support or resistance in France and from whom?

Marie Claude on :

Zyme, I didn't read, or heard, or watched about these discussions, I'm still in Portugal, though with satellit connection for french TV programs. But it is'nt new, Kohl and Mitterrand had such exchanges. If Sarko and Merkel projected that, probably that they trust each others too ! I must ironise on our common history, if Hitler had waited for a few decades, how many pains would have been avoid :lol: As far as myself, I don't care until we dn't have the Brits as EU leaders :lol: uh, also, could we have better "justice" applications between our 2 countries ? there is a case of a german doctor (from Munich) that (raped and) murdered his step daughter of french origin, for which he was condamned in France (by "contumace") and that the german administration never wanted to deliver to french justice, and or did press on french foreign offices to not pursue the reseach.

Zyme on :

"uh, also, could we have better "justice" applications between our 2 countries ? there is a case of a german doctor (from Munich) that (raped and) murdered his step daughter of french origin, for which he was condamned in France (by "contumace") and that the german administration never wanted to deliver to french justice, and or did press on french foreign offices to not pursue the reseach." Marie - I think I remember reading that he was also convicted for raping a teenager in Germany in the mid-90s in a different case. I was highly astonished by this diplomatic struggle when I heard about it a few weeks ago. Normally people persecuted in one EU state are swiftly extradited when being caught in another. Really the only possible explanation for that case which came to my mind is that he must have at least one powerful friend at the right position.

Marie Claude on :

I posted your question on my Twitter account

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