Tag Archives: european union

Why the European Union Reform Treaty is Needed

It’s striking the EU is able to maintains an arms embargo against China,” a major trading partner China, but not their main strategic rival, Russia. It is a good thing that Russia is so militarily weak it needs French ships to intimidate Ukraine and Georgia, of course. It is bad it is strong enough to be able to get them.

Russia is close to buying a warship from France in its first deal to import military technology from a Nato state since the end of the Cold War.

Bernard Kouchner, France’s Foreign Minister, and Hervé Morin, the Defence Minister, made it clear that they supported the sale of a Mistral assault ship to Russia during talks in Moscow yesterday.

The move is likely to alarm other Nato states after Russia indicated that it was seeking a bigger deal to upgrade its armed forces with advanced Western technology. It could also raise tensions in the Black Sea, where Russia has threatened to act against Georgian naval vessels if they block ships from travelling to the separatist region of Abkhazia.

This is why the European Union Reform Treaty is needed, why it was such good when Ireland voted for it. This is why it would be a good thing for the Czech Republic and Poland will join too (meaning it becomes binding for all members of the European Union). Russia is able to play divide-and-conquer games with the European States, because of the weak nature of the European Union decision-making process, in a way that Russia could never do with the 50 united States.

When Europeans say global warming, they mean Russia.

When Europeans say European Union, they mean the Political Arm of NATO-in-Europe.

Stop “global warming.”

Strengthen the “European Union.”

Ireland, State of Europe

Contrary to Helen at Chicago Boyz, the Irish should accept the EU referendum. If the Irish do not, Ireland should be expelled from the Union.

The European Union exists to provide a monetary, economic, and political way for the democracies of Europe to avoid being divided by Russia. Russia is able to use oil and natural gas politics to invade weaker countries and roll back democracy and liberty, using direct assaults that are impossible militarily (because of NATO).

The EU is the political, economic, and monetary arm of NATO in Europe.

Broadening and deepening the European Union is critical to the security of democracy and liberty of Europe.

Ireland should vote yes.

Islamists, Europeans, and Free Speech

Last year, Network Solutions (a hosting company that caused Chet trouble on an unrelated problem) yanked the website of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, who produced a movie entitled “Fitnah” to protest the murder of the director of the movie “Submission” Both “Fitna” and “Submission” focus on perceived mistreatment of women in Islam.

Britain yesterday decided that avoiding another terrorist strike was more important that free speech or even Continental Unity (as Mr. Wilders is a Parliamentarian in a fellow EU member state). Wilders’ response is typical of his bravery and showmanship:

“I’ll see what happens at the border,” Geert Wilders told Radio Netherlands on Wednesday. “Let them put me in handcuffs.”

The right-wing lawmaker was invited by a member of Parliament to show his anti-Islam movie “Fitna,” which calls the Koran a “fascist” book and accuses Islam of being a violent religion. He was told by the British Embassy in a letter Tuesday that he could not set foot in the country.

Previous attempts to show the film, in the real world and online, have been met with death threats and self-censorship. In the U.K., making the film is cause for expulsion from the country.

My hat off to Mr. Wilders, and other defenders of intellectual freedom everywhere.

Update: Geert Wilders has been denied entry at Heathrow Airport, and was then detained.

Update 2: More on the retreat of free-speech in Europe, from The Economist.

The Rise and Decline of Great Powers

Tom Barnett and Jennifer Chou have a pair of great posts on the expanding influence of the great powers of the Core: the United States, the European Union, and China. While the posts and the articles they link to don’t address the reasons directly, an important one are the three factors of production: capital, land, and labor. While the US, the EU, and China are all well run economically, each has a special advantage: large-scale immigration increases the US pool of labor, the incorporation of new states increases the EU pool of land, and the continuing market reforms increases the Chinese pool of capital.

One formerly great power that doesn’t enjoy legitimate growth in these factors of production is Russia. While Russia has been trading land for cash for generations (losing influence in more and more countries in order to keep revenues up, most recently seen in Moscow’s squeezing of Belarus), she has been unable to create a productive economy. Even these days of high energy prices only further addict Russia to energy-export, a dead end for nearly every country that tries it.

The increase in land, in capital, and labor is vital for America to be not just a great power, but also a Super Power. Part of this is keeping a liberal economy. Part of this is comprehensive immigration reform which will increase the arrival of both high- and low- skilled labor. Part of this is adding new states.

Happy Birthday, Europe

Fifty years ago today, the Treaty of Rome was signed. With this treaty, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, and the Benelux countries formed the European Economic Community. That small club has now grown into a continent-straddling economic and political union of twenty-seven member states. An important front-line state, with Arabian Africa to the south and Russia to the east, the European union is an important engine of connectivity and a vital player in the domino-like globalization of the world.

Europe’s constitution, the Ode to Joy, salutes the wonders of connectedness:

Be embraced, ye millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, beyond the star-canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
Be embraced,
This kiss for the whole world!
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods

Happy Birthday, Europe!

No is Non

Blair hints at a possible U-turn on EU Constitution referendum,” Reuters, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1081522.cms, 19 April 2005 (from Pundita through ZenPundit).

Remember when I said

The important news: French intrasigence may save Tony Blair’s political career. Tony Blair has promised a vote on the new treaty, which is deepy unpopular in Britain. Losing a vote of that importance would seriously harm Blair’s credibility. Further, if the other countries vote yes, Britain may be asked to leave the European Union.

However, a French no vote gives everyone cover. Great news!

tdaxp: right again

Prime Minister Tony Blair indicated on Monday for the first time that Britain might shelve plans to hold a referendum on the European Union Constitution if France rejects the treaty next month. Blair’s Labour government, fighting for re-election on May 5, has until now been adamant it will call a vote on the charter in 2006 regardless of plebiscite results elsewhere in the EU.

As fears of a French ‘no’ vote grow, polls show Blair would be very hard-pressed to convince traditionally euro-sceptic Britons to back the treaty.

Most commentators say a ‘no’ vote in Britain could end the pro-European Blair’s career as premier.

Asked on Monday whether he would call a referendum even if France had voted against the charter, Blair said: “You can’t have a vote on nothing.”

EUpower

EU pulls back from Lisbon goal,” EUPolitics, http://www.eupolitix.com/EN/News/200501/84ad29ce-d444-4894-82fb-1e47991ab22c.htm, 18 January 2005.

Tsunami-hit Thais told: Buy six planes or face EU tariffs,” by Fraser Nelson, The Scotsman, http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=66782005, 19 January 2005.

Jaque Chirac and others want a “multi-polar world.” A world with many great powers and no super-sized super-power. What sort of great power would Europe be?

Cruel, heartless, tactless

TSUNAMI-struck Thailand has been told by the European Commission that it must buy six A380 Airbus aircraft if it wants to escape the tariffs against its fishing industry.

While millions of Europeans are sending aid to Thailand to help its recovery, trade authorities in Brussels are demanding that Thai Airlines, its national carrier, pays £1.3 billion to buy its double-decker aircraft.

The demand will come as a deep embarrassment to Peter Mandelson, the trade commissioner, whose officials started the negotiation before the disaster struck Thailand – killing tens of thousands of people and damaging its economy.

While aid workers from across Europe are helping to rebuild Thai livelihoods, trade officials in Brussels are concluding a jets-for-prawns deal, which they had hoped to announce next month.

As the world’s largest producer of prawns, Thailand has become so efficient that its wares are half the price of those caught by Norway, the main producer of prawns for the EU.

To ensure the Thais cannot compete, EU officials five years ago removed its shrimp industry from the EU’s generalised system of preferential tariffs – designed to share Western wealth with developing countries by trade.

Slow, inefficient, antigrowth

The European Commission has quietly dropped a five year old EU pledge to make Europe the world’s most competitive economy by 2010.

An internal Brussels paper drops the target and instead calls for a simplification of economic goals which have ballooned into an increasing number of unrealistic social and economic targets.

The pledge was first made at a Lisbon economic summit of EU leaders in 2000 – with the city giving its name to a sweeping agenda aimed at boosting growth and research investment.

China may eventually be a world-power. This will force the U.S. to respond with ever greater measures, from greater encouragement for savings to political union with our American sister republics. But Old Europe? It’ll be a nice play for a vacation, as long as it avoids Sharia law.