Saturday, February 23, 2008

Speaking Truth to Impotence

A recent Wall Street Journal Europe’s editorial reflects on the wet noodle of European non-nationhood when anything, and I mean ANYTHING comes up.

The European Union got a chance to redeem itself for a big sin of the previous decade and show its vaunted "common foreign policy" in action. We'd like to report it didn't blow it. Alas, we can't.

The occasion was Kosovo's declaration of independence on Sunday. A unified EU stance might have started to make good, at last, on Jacques Poos's infamous 1991 declaration that "the hour of Europe has dawned." Soon after, the EU broke up over Yugoslavia, which collapsed in a series of wars that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. The U.S. had to step in to save the EU and the Balkans.

This week seemed like déjà vu all over again, fortunately without the blood. Spain opened the EU meeting on Kosovo by proclaiming that the U.N. protectorate's declaration did "not respect international law." The ruling Socialists were apparently enraged that the Kosovars didn't have the decency to wait to claim their sovereignty until Spain held national elections next month.
Kosovo is precisely that sort of ‘anything’ that, being in their front yard might just require some sort of attention, which the über-mega-sooper-dooper-nation of superior everything-ness managed to treat like it barely deserved a press release written by a flunky who’s expertise isn’t even in waste management.
In the meantime, the Greeks again threaten to torpedo the EU's grand designs for the Balkans all over a name for its northern neighbor, which Athens insists must be called Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or the Orwellian FYROM. Unless the Macedonians stand down, Athens will veto its EU and NATO membership. The U.S. and most EU countries recognize Macedonia by its chosen name. A U.N. mediator yesterday put forward new proposals to settle this absurd and costly 17-year-old dispute.

So let there be no illusions. About the only thing that's "common" about the EU's foreign policy is its sheer pettiness, absence of strategic vision and unwillingness to back up grand claims to global leadership with resources or political will.
Say what you will about the Greeks... after all, other Europeans will when they try to waive this embarrassment off in a way that seems socially acceptable, even as they tch-tch the rest of the world’s terrible addiction to nationality and such.

Meanwhile back in Manhattan, Kissinger, the left’s original hate-puppet and singin’-n’-dancin’ prince of darkness, sums up the risk to humanity that Europe is encouraging if not then becoming:
Kissinger: The major events in European history were conducted by nation-states which developed over several hundred years. There was never a question in the mind of European populations that the state was authorized to ask for sacrifices and that the citizens had a duty to carry it out. Now the structure of the nation-state has been given up to some considerable extent in Europe. And the capacity of governments to ask for sacrifices has diminished correspondingly.

SPIEGEL: Thirty years ago, you asked for one phone number that could be used to call Europe.

Kissinger: ... and it happened. The problem now is: Nation-states have not just given up part of their sovereignty to the European Union but also part of their vision for their own future. Their future is now tied to the European Union, and the EU has not yet achieved a vision and loyalty comparable to the nation-state. So, there is a vacuum between Europe's past and Europe's future.
I would just call them emotionally needy bozos aspiring to globally be the Pookie Adams character in ‘The Sterile Cuckoo’, but I’m not selling books like Dr. K. is, and frankly, I though Pookie was talented and kind of cute in a psychotic kind of way.
Kissinger: I think Angela Merkel, like any leader, has to think of her re-election. I have high regard for her. But I do not know many Europeans who would deny that the victory of radical Islam in Baghdad, Beirut or Saudi Arabia would have huge consequences for the West. However, they are not willing to fight to prevent it.

SPIEGEL: For example in Afghanistan. Does NATO need more German troops in the southern part of the country?

Kissinger: I think it is obvious that the United States cannot permanently do all the fighting for Western interests by itself. So, two conclusions are possible: Either there are no Western interests in the region and we don't fight. Or there are vital Western interests in the region and we have to fight. That means we need more German and NATO troops in Afghanistan. What I am not comfortable with is that some NATO members send troops primarily for non-combat missions. That cannot be a healthy situation in the long term.
Meanwhile the old goat of latter-day ‘realpolitik’ speaks. Too bad he doesn’t make any sense.
Dear Americans... What can the world expect from you? Twelve questions for the candidates – By Helmut Schmidt
Where he lost me was in the ‘nuanced’ part of his spoken disposition – the one where he believes that Europe both needs to be taken seriously, if not outright obeyed, and the Europe that is still somehow a ward of U.S.
Europe’s faith in the United States may be shaken, yet we wish to maintain the transatlantic partnership. We want to be able to love America again but we have become skeptical, because for the past 10 years, Washington has turned to us only when it has needed troops or money.
Which the US did after the bellowing calls from across the Atlantic that the US shouldn’t leave them out or go it alone. As for the troops and money, the loudest boors in Europe never managed to actually provide either in any manner that wasn’t a symbolic pittance played to their ignorant audiences at home.
All the same, we Europeans are well aware of our own weaknesses. Although we work together in regulating our funicular railways and the depth of water pools in our zoos, a “common foreign policy” in the European Union still exists in theory only. That is why we hope the new president will lead rationally and multilaterally – not least because we are convinced of America’s vitality.
Yet another “Daddy drinks because you cry” sort of sales pitch, and you can hardly hear the violins.

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