20050116

Rumsfeld on Europe

US defence secretary Rumsfeld scorned old Europe for not tagging along obediently with the US in the campaign to overthrow the Iraqi regime of Saddam. He implied western Europe wasn't as much in touch with the world (or US ideas and interests) as the former Warsaw-pact states in central Europe. For a third generation US citizen he has a poor grasp of history. While most Europeans emigrated to the US because of poverty and lack of prospects a lot of others emigrated because they didn't like the way European society was changing and were afraid they couldn't preserve their way of life. Their conservatism has shaped the US to a large extend.
So when Rumsfeld mentions old Europe, is he referring to todays liberal western European societies or the present US society?

20041217

EU & Turkey

Last evening the European Union decided to commence accession negotiations with Turkey. Why is completely beyond my comprehension. It seems the EU prefers expansion to dealing with the critical lack of governmental structure. The recent ten new member states are most welcome as were the three before them but being twelve was already hard enough to govern. Surely all expansion should be halted until a clear and workable structure has been agreed upon. Negotiating with twelve members is a lot easier than with the present 25. I wonder if anyone has a clear idea of what they belong to and what future they have tied themselves to.
One glance at the map raises one obvious question: what is going to be the new name for the EU? After all, Turkey is part of Asia. In view of this, Cyprus' membership - at least the Greek half - is silly too. Especially since you don't invite guests who seem to be unable to live in peace with their neighbours. What sacrifice, or humiliation, must Turkey make towards the Greek Cypriote in order to qualify for EU-membership? What about one of the European pillars: free traffic of citizens? Will the Turks be excluded from this? And what next for the EU: Israel, Morocco, the entire rim of the Mediterranean?
The EU deserves to be a success, being confused about its identity isn't going to help and loosing sight of its borders, and size, is going to make it ungovernable. And thus a failure.