Solana on external threats to Europe ...
"We are not as Europeans concerned to establish a mechanism of that type," Solana said. "This is for every country to decide."
Somewhere, deep down, tucked away underneath their loathing for George Bush, in a secret place where the lights of smart dinner-party conversation and clever debating-society repartee never shine, the growing hordes of America-bashers must dread the moment he leaves officewrites Gerard Baker (thanks to Tom Pechinski).
When President Bush goes into the Texas sunset, and especially if he is replaced by an enlightened, world-embracing Democrat, their one excuse, their sole explanation for all human suffering in the world will disappear too. And they may just find that the world is not as simple as they thought it was.
It’s been a great ride for the past six years, hasn’t it? George Bush and Dick Cheney and all those pantomime villains that succour him — the gay-bashing foot soldiers of the religious Right, the forktailed neoconservatives with their devotion to Israel, the dark titans of American corporate boardrooms spewing their carbon emissions above the pristine European skies. Having those guys around for so long provided a comfortable substitute for thinking hard about global challenges, a kind of intellectual escapism.
When one group of Muslims explodes bombs underneath the school buses of another group of Muslims in Baghdad or cuts the heads off humanitarian workers in Anbar, blame George Bush. When Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, denounces an imbalanced world and growls about the unpleasantness of democracy in eastern Europe, blame George Bush. When the Earth’s atmosphere gets a little more clogged with the output of power plants in China, India and elsewhere, blame George Bush.
Some day soon, though, this escapism will run into the dead end of reality. In fact, the most compelling case for the American people to elect a Democrat as president next year is that, in the US, leadership in a time of war requires the inclusion of both political parties, and in the rest of the world, people will have to start thinking about what is really the cause of all our woes.
Take a look at the miserable mess that is unfolding in what is supposed to be the “West’s” fight in Afghanistan against the Taleban and al-Qaeda. Afghanistan was, remember, unlike Iraq, “the good war”. Within days of September 11, 2001, all the European members of Nato readily signed up to assist America in righting the wrongs of international terrorism by defeating the Kabul regime and its allies.
Even after the alliance fell out over the Iraq war, those who opposed that conflict reiterated their dedication to winning the one in Afghanistan. When the Spanish socialists pulled their nation’s troops out of Iraq in 2004, they insisted they were fully committed to the war against the Taleban.
But what is the state of that struggle? These days, despite the notional presence of a Nato force involving more than 15 countries, only a handful — Britain, the Netherlands, Canada, and plucky Lithuania included — are putting anything like the effort required in terms of resources and willingness to take the fight to the enemy.
Others — such as the Germans and the French — will commit troops and equipment but won’t let them fight, preferring noncombatant roles. Last week the Italian Government collapsed because some of its members actually want to make friends with the Taleban. European countries are not failing to fight the war in Afghanistan because they don’t like George Bush. They lack either the perception of the threat or the will to deal with it.
…Even as some future Democratic president proclaims his commitment to renewing alliances, he is sure to be greeted with all kinds of explanations as to why the Europeans are just not quite ready to make that a joint ownership. When that moment comes, everyone will be urgently wishing they still had George Bush to blame.
Bizarrely, having to do with sports:
The review talked of a democratic, European sports model, "deep-rooted in civil society, an important expression of our culture" and characterised by "solidarity" between the elite and community grass roots, specifically contrasting that with the US view of professional sport as pure big-business entertainment. The review's specific recommendations did not match the grand ambition, but did terrify our rich clubs by arguing for "competitive balance" to be restored with salary caps and for UEFA to share Champions League money more fairly.Just how is it that the existence of professional sports takes something away from local, individual, or any other sort of sport goes unexplained. If anything, it encourages kids to get hooked on the games that they enjoy for the better part of a lifetime.
The American habit of locally formed league sports not requiring anyone's benevolent "regulation" notwithstanding, the fact that the grand sporting “traditions” seem to unduly influence the world by stacking the deck in favor of their preferences remains hidden. More than 80% of the members of the International Olympic Committee are European, seem to enjoy being bought-off, and when they spread a monoculture... well, that’s called ”wisdom”
”Europe” is going after Microsoft again.
Microsoft was on Thursday dealt a serious setback in its long-running antitrust battle with the European Commission when Brussels threatened to impose yet another massive fine on the US software group for failing to comply with a landmark competition ruling handed down almost three years ago.Never mind the fact that the threat to charge isn’t about competition, but the very opposite, and all feels okay. They are trying to eliminate the problem of European software companies from having Microsoft as competition.
Europe’s top antitrust regulator on Thursday issued a new set of charges against Microsoft, a step that is likely to result in another ruling and a new fine against the group.
The lame excuse this time?
The EU and Microsoft just can't seem to see eye to eye. After years and years in the courts and a guilty verdict a few years back, the EU has forced Microsoft's hand in releasing certain information that will help other companies create inter-compatible software with Windows and its components. Now, however, the EU is displeased with the way they are making that information available, and is threatening more fines. The reason? They are charging too much for it.Again it seems that this is a sort of stopgap measure to frustrate the success of the foreigner to give their own producers a better shot at success, but in a malicious manner. It’s really not that different as common behavior on a larger level that have led to intense enmity between immigrants and the indigenous, except for the fact that the object of their effort is far away, and as a corporation (simply a collection of people,) carrying the trope of dreaded capitalism and is too far away to have to face personally.
Oddly, this kind of story in the US about the US dominates the media, in exactrly the same way that the story about the US would dominate the news in Europe, but certainly not because it matters in Europe in any way.
There are wide variations in healthcare outcomes across the EU – for example, five year survival rates for bladder cancer range from 78% in Austria to 47% in Poland and Estonia.
Regions where income inequality is high tend to have a significantly lower life expectancy than regions where income inequality is comparatively low.
7% of Europeans had taken prescription drugs in the previous 12 months due to psychological or emotional health problems and 3% had received psychotherapy in that period (7% in the Netherlands).
As for obesity, the health risks can be as large as from smoking. Yet a Eurobarometer Survey showed that half of 15 -44 year olds had indulged in no vigorous physical activity in the previous seven days and 40% had not even taken part in moderate physical activity like walking for more than 30 minutes.
The 80’s revival rages on. Transnational economic turf-warfare, greed, and meddling in business lead straight to Airbust: Union officials, who were informed of the proposals earlier on Wednesday, expressed anger at the scale of the cuts. "We totally oppose the closure of any site and we won't accept any firings," said European Metalworkers Federation head Peter Scherrer.
Union officials, who were informed of the proposals earlier on Wednesday, expressed anger at the scale of the cuts.
"We totally oppose the closure of any site and we won't accept any firings," said European Metalworkers Federation head Peter Scherrer.
- with thanks to George
A few more of the “Zionist spies” of one of our, intemperate troll commenters.
A tragedy was avoided on Sunday after a smoke bomb, thrown through a window of a Jewish kindergarten in Berlin, failed to ignite. Targeting a place where these "dangerous" 4 and 5 year olds play. Perhaps to induce fear, but more likely because the people who did it have had their revusive reflex trained out of them with ideology, only to be replaced by some notion of "social justice" as an excuse. The new form youthful idealism takes is little more than loutish repugnance.
However, the school, located in a northwest neighborhood of the German capital, was not spared by the spray painting of swastikas, other Nazi symbols and anti-Semitic phrases, such as “Auschwitz,” “Juden Raus” (Jews, get out) and “Sieg Heil”, on its outer walls, as well as on toys that had been lying around in the school’s playground.
Time, perhaps, for “Altermonidialist” types to take a personal inventory. I’ll leave the colorful phrases found in the image to individual translation, but it needs to be said that the part of Berlin in question (Wedding, I believe) is by no means poor or “immigrant”, it’s a pleasant, wooded area free of the tension used to explain away this hatefulness which is actually old hat
Once again, the idiotic potbanging by the agitational left is founded on a lie. The “16 words” that the left are so cranked up about came from British intelligence that knew full well what France gave Saddam.
This reassuring assumption [that Mitterand had limited nuclear fuel shipments to Iraq], however, is massively belied by the contents of a 1987 letter from none other than current French President Jacques Chirac to Saddam Hussein. By 1987, Chirac was again French Prime Minister. His letter was leaked to the French press and widely interpreted at the time as a thinly veiled offer to rebuild Osirak. Waxing nearly rhapsodic in his praise of French-Iraqi relations, Chirac refers in the letter to "the cooperation begun over 12 years ago on our joint personal initiative in a domain that is essential for the sovereignty, independence and security of your country" (my emphasis - JR). (The full letter from Chirac to Saddam Hussein, dated June 24, 1987, is reproduced in Claude Angeli and Stéphanie Mesnier, "Notre Allié Saddam" [Oliver Orban, 1992], annexe VII.) The allusion to Iraqi security concerns is especially notable, since it suggests that Chirac was fully aware of the military significance of the Osirak project.People don’t discuss “sovereignty” when it comes to electricity generation or worst still in the present date, the euphemism “right to technology". The goal was to give Saddam nukes. Nothing more.
It’s got all the usual ingredients: fighting over nothing, a “declaration” named after a city, and a bunch of characters with no depth. The end product is a non-news story worthy of the gossip page.
A grand statement - the Berlin declaration - is planned next month to commemorate the founding in 1957 of what is now the EU, but the 27 member states are increasingly divided about what to celebrate.It sounds like the start of a bad joke: “A German and a Frenchman are stuck in a rowboat...” Nonetheless, the usual subtext is always there:
Luxembourg is pushing for a prominent mention of the euro as one of Europe's greatest achievements.
Former Iron Curtain countries are growing increasingly concerned that their experience under communism will be airbrushed out.
In Sunday’s Telegraph, Niall Ferguson continues to flog his notion that present day America can be compared to the British Empire, on that he’s admitted is different because it is not an empire. One of the fantastic differences between the Telegraph and pathological nature of the BBC’s editorial ideology is that the Telegraph invites comments far more directly and without making a show of “letting you” Have Your Say, albeit with heavy editing by beeboids.
“The usual” view is always present. It has this vision of the world being a playground where all the children need to be equal for their own good despite the fact that some have given the world a reason to be on the “time out bench.” For the likes of these folks, even the Darfur genocide doesn’t get you an off-side whistle while “the good” in the world spend years on end trying to define the meaning of genocide anew.
Maybe it's because they are ignorant, arrogant, parochial and jingoistic.As ever, the implied self-as-high-culture tries to form comparisons to American low culture. Low-culture to low-culture are quite typically strenuously avoided for the reason that they might produce some actual empathy. However, the matter of low-brow behavior cant be entirely hidden:
Maybe it's because they have either invaded or forced regime change in more than 200 countries, many with democratically elected goverments.
Maybe it's because they would rather spend their time watching non-stop 'news' of such luminaries as Britney Spears and Anna Nicole Smith, than to bother to discover what their own government is doing to them and to other populations of the world.
I am an American living in Britain and I have been abused many times by British people trying to get their jabs in at Americans. Mostly from teachers, believe it or not!Believe me, I know. The inability to dislodge the prejudice for a person and a nation is a telling and ubiquitous feature of American dealing with Europeans’ lectures on a daily basis.
The difference is refreshing and enormous, and show a great breadth missing at the BBC. Between the highly predictable notes left by readers are those like the following:
As I see it, having visited the United States, the great advantage it's citizens possess is the ability to succeed, should they so wish. There is no class culture, consequently those who are successful are admired and indeed encouraged to achieve more. Envy and jealousy simply do not exist. It is something the rest of the world cannot understand and this is manifested by the so called "hatred" expressed against a country which is totally different to the class system which dominates all other nations.Well, there’s always a “root cause” argument to be made too.
People hate America because they want the romance of the hammer and sickle, or the romance of a martyr.
The truth is it's not the US that's arrogant, it's the romantics that want a cause that exaults humanity into some kind of superman, when what is actually being offered is the chance to be ordinary.
"Our servicemen were not politically motivated. We were fighting for our country. There is no comparison between terrorists and the RAF."At least he’s honest. Euros wetting their beds over “Germania” is nothing new.
Although renowned for his extreme views, Mr Le Pen remains one of the most influential politicians in France.
Maybe it’s the divine illumination they give us that makes them completely unremarkable
...in Britain, where 76 per cent of respondents ticked off the response "I don't know any of these candidates," though the country is just across the Channel from France.All of which is a sign of tremendous wisdom rather than apathy since all trends point to their leadership not mattering a great deal anyway:
In Germany, 62 per cent said they were not familiar with any of the four candidates, while the figure was 47 per cent in Spain and 43 per cent for Italy.
...of la vie française (such as myself) need to stand back. In 1979, the British were 20 per cent poorer than the French, as measured by GDP per head. We are now 5 per cent richer, and the outlook is for that gap to widen further. The general economic background is a major part of this - the French economy has crawled along at a growth rate that has averaged half that of the UK's in recent years. Unemployment is stubbornly high, and even after a recent recovery, remains nearly twice the UK's.The term “sick man of Europe” used to be used for places like Albania, now it’s used to point out those who used to point the “sick man” out. The common thread is obvious: socialism is necrotizing. It sounds like someone needs some peristroyka for the global public to pay attention to them.
-With gratitude to Hervé.