“U.S. can sit back and watch Europe implode”
is the title of Mark Steyn’s article,
The president, in other words, understands that for Europe, unlike America, the war on terror is an internal affair, a matter of defusing large unassimilated radicalized Muslim immigrant populations before they provoke the inevitable resurgence of opportunist political movements feeding off old hatreds. Difficult trick to pull off, especially on a continent where the ruling elite feels it’s in the people’s best interest not to pay any attention to them.
The new EU ”constitution,” for example, would be unrecognizable as such to any American. I had the opportunity to talk with former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing on a couple of occasions during his long labors as the self-declared and strictly single Founding Father. He called himself ”Europe’s Jefferson,” and I didn’t like to quibble that, constitution-wise, Jefferson was Europe’s Jefferson — that’s to say, at the time the U.S. Constitution was drawn up, Thomas Jefferson was living in France. Thus, for Giscard to be Europe’s Jefferson, he’d have to be in Des Moines, where he’d be doing far less damage.
But, quibbles aside, President Giscard professed to be looking in the right direction. When I met him, he had an amiable riff on how he’d been in Washington and bought one of those compact copies of the U.S. Constitution on sale for a buck or two. Many Americans wander round with the constitution in their pocket so they can whip it out and chastise over-reaching congressmen and senators at a moment’s notice. Try going round with the European Constitution in your pocket and you’ll be walking with a limp after two hours: It’s 511 pages, which is 500 longer than the U.S. version. It’s full of stuff about European space policy, Slovakian nuclear plants, water resources, free expression for children, the right to housing assistance, preventive action on the environment, etc.
Most of the so-called constitution isn’t in the least bit constitutional. That’s to say, it’s not content, as the U.S. Constitution is, to define the distribution and limitation of powers. Instead, it reads like a U.S. defense spending bill that’s got porked up with a ton of miscellaneous expenditures for the ”mohair subsidy” and other notorious Congressional boondoggles. President Ronald Reagan liked to say, ”We are a nation that has a government — not the other way around.” If you want to know what it looks like the other way round, read Monsieur Giscard’s constitution.
But the fact is it’s going to be ratified, and Washington is hardly in a position to prevent it. Plus there’s something to be said for the theory that, as the EU constitution is a disaster waiting to happen, you might as well cut down the waiting and let it happen. CIA analysts predict the collapse of the EU within 15 years. I’d say, as predictions of doom go, that’s a little on the cautious side.
and speaking of Oscar night, Steyn says,
The old Europe is dying, and Mr. Bush did the diplomatic equivalent of the Oscar night lifetime-achievement tribute at which the current stars salute a once glamorous old-timer whose fading aura is no threat to them. The 21st century is being built elsewhere.
Larry Kudlow was discussing in his blog and in his program Europe’s Flagging Economy
But virtually no one is discussing the widening gap between Europe’s economy and America’s. For Europe it is a serious problem. According to the free market editorial page of Investor’s Business Daily, since 1991, output has grown 27% faster in the U.S. than in the E.U. According to the U.S. Labor Department, real per capital GDP in the U.S. stands at nearly $35,000 in 2003, a full 24 percent higher than the near $27,000 average in Europe’s biggest economies. EU unemployment is now 9 percent. On a tax basis, it costs 11.5 percent more to bring on a new job in the EU than in the U.S., according to OECD data.
On TV, Kudlow pointed out how France, for instance, whose economy doesn’t generate revenue, has to resort to weapons sales to China in order to receive revenue. That’s only one instance where crippling domestic economic policy has enormous international repercussions.
Update Victor Davis Hanson:
The United States should ignore all this ankle-biting, praise the EU to the skies, but not take very seriously their views on the world until we learn exactly what is going on inside Europe during these years of its uncertainty. America is watching enormous historical forces being unleashed on the continent from its own depopulation, new anti-Semitism, and rising Islamicism to Turkish demands for EU membership and further expansion of the EU into the backwaters of Eastern Europe that will bring it to the doorstep of Russia. Whether its politics and economy will evolve to embrace more personal freedom, its popular culture will integrate its minorities, and its military will step up to protect Western values and visions is unclear. But what is certain is that the U.S. cannot remain a true ally of a militarily weak but shrill Europe should its politics grow even more resentful and neutralist, always nursing old wounds and new conspiracies, amoral in its inability to act, quite ready to preach to those who do.
We keep assuming that Europeans are like Britain and Japan when in fact long ago they devolved more into a Switzerland and Sweden–friendly neutrals but no longer real allies. In the meantime, let us Americans keep much more quiet, wait, and watch–even as we carry a far bigger stick.