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Barnett: "Don't expect Europe to step in line behind any new American president."

Thomas P.M. Barnett has a column in the Knoxville News Sentinel in which he reports on the mood of government officials in the Netherlands. There are a lot of interesting angles in the article -- for instance on McCain's 'League of Democracies', which the Dutch do not appreciate, and on European worries about trade rhetoric by Obama, which would be overblown as Obama is pivoting to the centre faster than the eye can see.

These, however, are the article's key paragraphs:

But here's what I found during my week in The Hague: the Dutch aren't convinced that America plus Europe translates into a quorum that's sufficient to tackle all the challenges we collectively face.

In almost every issue you can name, Europe's coming to the conclusion that the West needs the East to figure out the South, as well as our shared future on this increasingly crowded and competitive planet.

It should be borne in mind that the Dutch are one of the most atlanticist nations of Europe in their outlook. Public thinkers from the States like Barnett quite frequently get an ear from the Dutch government. Yet, they have gone global. The Dutch - and the Europeans in general - do not see the 'west' as sufficient anymore, either in terms of its power or in terms of its legitimacy.

German NSC Sparks Controversy

This is a guest blog post by our long-time reader and commenter Pat Patterson:

The blog Coming Anarchy has a balanced piece concerning the recent proposal by Chancellor Merkel and the CDU to create a German National Security Council that argues, "It is for these reasons that a seemingly innocuous and in fact logical step like creating a national security council has again sparked debate among citizens and politicians alike." And that, "Over the past few years though with the changes in both the domestic and international security situation, debate has been ongoing about whether Germany needs a National Security Council based more on the American model for example."

Something similar was argued by the SPD in 1998 but very little in the way of change was made to the Bundessicherheitsrat (Federal Security Council) other than advising on the domestic state of affairs of the countries that were purchasing arms from Germany. But the current proposal goes much farther and states:

"In order to guarantee coherent and effective interagency work combining domestic and foreign security, a national security council is necessary as a center for political analysis."

But the immediate opposition came from the SPD's Frank Walter-Steinmeier, the German Foreign Minister, mainly because the new proposal was similar to the US's National Security Council and thus, "This cannot be the model for us." (Deutsche Welle)

A longer description of the proposal and the introduction of the idea that this new body would also be not only carrying out the instructions of the Chancellory but advising on the ".national interests" of Germany. The International Herald Tribune also mentions that the creation of this body would essentially bypass the Foreign Ministry which obviously would weaken the SPD presence in the government. As well as a quote from Karl-Heinz Kamp of the NATO college,

The fact that the conservatives decided to do without their coalition partners,.is impressive because it would have been watered down. The basic idea is not bad at all.