Daniel arap Moi will probably find history less kind to his achievements than the hagiographies that he so graciously funded for the delight of post-colonial generations in Kenya. His record on corruption and tribal infighting stands for itself and multi-party elections were only introduced at the behest of western donors.
Poverty, crime and corruption: the three scourges of all African nations have increased their grip over the last twenty years. Yet, Kenya remains intact and acts as a key western ally in the Horn of Africa.
Was the development of a kleptocratic elite inevitable after independence? Were 'big men' like Moi only stopped from outright plunder by the lessons of anarchic failed states like Uganda under Idi Amin or Zaire under Mobutu? Or did Moi save Kenya by institutionalising favours for tribal groupings through the political system and the state, saving the country from outright civil war and anarchy? Is Kenya now the best one could have hoped for at independence?
Only historians will be able to fully assess the role of Moi. However, these elections are hopeful in one sense. Even if the familiar coterie of the corrupt and the sycophantic inhabit both KANU and the Rainbow Coalition, they are divided not by tribe or ethnicity, but by generation, and that may be Moi's greatest legacy.
Brian Micklethwait writes a thoughtful piece on Churchill in Samizdata in which he points out that Churchill was not, against common belief, a British nationalist but an Anglospherist (although our own Philip Chaston disagrees). That is he was prepared to sacrifice the nation he led for a higher ideal in the same way that Hitler did sacrifice Germany in persuit of the dream of Aryan unity. Although both are accepted as nationalists, neither in any sense were.
All very well, and true, and then it comes to the point at which he goes off on a tangent. You see Britain saved herself by being willing to sacrifice herself, or at least having a leader who was willing to do so. It's something to do with game theory, and the idea that fearlessness saves you. Why this did not work for Hitler is hardly explained. Why France, who made a similarly selfless decision in 1939, was occupied is also not explained. I tend to prefer the explanation that it was the English Channel and the fortuitous pre war decision to divert some of the money from building the offensive technology of bombers to the defensive technology of fighters. If geographical good fortune and good defensive weapons did not favour us then the fighting spirit would probably not have worked.
So what about the objection that Hitler could not be trusted? Of course he couldn't, but then if we ever had leaders who thought that other nations could ever be trusted then we would be in dire straights indeed. There I go blasting Churchill trusting his mother's nation again. The point was not to trust other powers, but to prepare the defences against them. After all we certainly could not trust the Soviet Union, but they were kept in check for almost half a century not by warm words but by threat of arms.
A defensive build up saved Britain when the foolish decision was made to go to war rather than rash adventures such as the failed Norweigan invasion (Churchill avoiding the rap for this rerun of Galipoli is one of the greatest feats of political spin). A defensive build up would have similarly put off Hitler from going North and West when it diverted him from his favoured pickings East and South.
This is not to excuse Halifax and Chamberlain (in case you were wondering). They may have been genuinely patriotic, but they got us into the mess that Churchill perpetuated. The stance, under French prodding, that the balance of power in Mittle-europe was any of our concern can be listed as one of the most stupid strategic conceits in British history, although admittedly it would join a long list. The case against Munich was not that they trusted Hitler (they did not, no matter what they said to newsreel cameras) but that they thought that the survival of the post-Habsburg states were of any concern. No sea route to the Empire was threatened, the Channel coastline would have been as diverse as before and the sea lanes would still have been secure.
However a deal in 1940 after France fell would have meant that we would have survived as an independent state secure behind the sea, solvent, independent of America and with our Empire in tact (well you can't have it all). Instead we paid for our finest hour by bankrupting the country and depending for forty five years on American troops and bombs.
Chris Patten has not seen his name in the liberal press for some time. Ah, he'd better say something about the Tories breaking apart under the pressure of the Euro. Mix with some amusing anecdotes of how the opposition parties are having a good time at their expense. Stir!
Ruud Lubbers, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, stated that the UK had an 'unfair refugee burden' compared to the rest of Europe and called for greater co-operation at a European level. The Refugee Council disagreed citing the examples of Iran and Pakistan taking in more than four million Afghan refugees.
Just two points: if European cooperation does not work now, why should it work with greater integration? What do the Iran and Pakistani states have to do with us?
Zimbabweans have been pauperised by their government. The fuel shortage left thousands unable to travel to their families over the holidays, as commodity shortages prevented the satisfaction of the barter agreement with Libya.
However, only forty-two people died on the roads, half the number that died in 2001. A silver lining.
Feel like a campaign?
This letter has just come along from an organisation dedicated to fighting the European Arrest Warrant. It is bemoaning the fact that the press is not publicising a recent Parliamentary debate or the rather strange alliance of the Conservative Party and Liberty. So if you feel like writing to your newspaper of choice, please go ahead.
Wider still and wider
Expansion is a delicate subject at this time of year, with all that Christmas Turkey and such, however the European Union's hair brained scheme should also be examined. The Holy Blog makes the point that this is going to cost an awful lot of money that will in the medium term mean that the bill for them to store away our sovereignty will rise further. An old point but one that bears more repitition.
Another interesting point that needs to be driven home is that it will make Euro convergence all but impossible if they don't get the vote soon. We will not be converging with the twelve countries in the Euro zone but also with the likes of Poland and Hungary which will be expected to adopt the Euro almost when they joint the EU (no opt outs for the new boys). Now even the very mention of convergence with Poland should scare away the more moderate Federasts. However the idea of lasting convergence is unlikely to say the least.
If a referendum is called in the next year of course the Treasury will not be obliged to carry out the five tests with the new members in the equation, however it would be useful leaflet material to remind the waverers that they will be entrusting the Euro to such economic
paradises as Latvia and Slovenia. As we are talking about the future we could even bang on about Bulgaria and Turkey (with no offence intended to our Bulgar and Turkish readership). The idea of the Euro will suddenly look less and less respectable.
Blair never ceases to amaze in his futile attempts to demonstrate his lack of influence in intractable regional conflicts. He feels the heavy hand of history is now on his shoulder and the dream of Greatest British Prime Minister is slipping from his grasp as Northern Ireland, public service reform and the Euro remain problems.
Blair's latest wheeze is a conference on a 'Palestinian state' during Israel's election campaign, with representatives, from Russia, the United States, the European Union, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. However, as Palestinian elections were postponed on the 22nd December 2002, and Israel or Syria are not represented, there does not appear to be the possibility of gaining moves towards peace or dipomatic kudos from this conference.
Moreover, as long as Israel is threatened by such destructive levels of terrorism, the situation within the former territories of the Palestinian Authority remains their security concern. The fundamentalist terrorists of Hamas and Islamic Jihad wish to destroy Israel as an entity and the Palestinian Authority was implicated in the financing and organisation of terrorism.
Britain has no interest in this conflict and should stay out.
An article in The Western Mail reports that Peter Hain agreed a deal with the Spanish for co-sovereignty over the Rock of Gibraltar last April. However, the deal was vetoed by the Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar (probably on the grounds that it allowed the Gibraltar limited self-determination).
After the recent referendum, any new negotiations will fail over the issue of allowing the people of Gibraltar a vote over their future.
Believers of all religions, together with men and women of good will, by outlawing all forms of intolerance and discrimination, are called to build peace:
Christmas is a mystery of peace!
From the cave of Bethlehem there rises today an urgent appeal to the world not to yield to mistrust, suspicion and discouragement, even though the tragic reality of terrorism feeds uncertainties and fears. in the Holy Land, above all, to put an end once and for all to the senseless spiral of blind violence, Believers of all religions, together with men and women of good will, by outlawing all forms of intolerance and discrimination, are called to build peace:
in the Holy Land, above all, to put an end once and for all to the senseless spiral of blind violence,
and in the Middle East, to extinguish the ominous smouldering of a conflict which, with the joint efforts of all, can be avoided;
in Africa too, where devastating famines and tragic internal conflicts are aggravating the already precarious conditions of entire peoples, although here and there signs of hope are present;
in Latin America, in Asia, in other parts of the world, where political, economic and social crises disturb the serenity of many families and nations.
So not quite the BBC's description of the statement (but you never trust them anyway), but still a call for peace. Now Pope John Paul II does not have a beard, which is always a tremendously good sign in any type of priest - but should this message be ignored as just the wittering of some Pacifist cleric while the real men worry about the real world.
Well the Catholic church is not like the liberal main stream Protestant sects, pacifism is not really popular with the leadership. The catholic concept of the Just War is taken seriously. This is a recognition that in this imperfect world that war is necesary, but dangerous on many levels. Essentially war should be waged, and commenced, with a just cause, a view to its end - and should be proportionate to both the cause and the end. Common sense, perhaps, but by no means common practice.
This approach actually fits in very easily into the realist viewpoint. Wars will happen, like human greed or natural disasters you may not like them but you can't legislate against them. However if you are going to go to war do it for an extremely good reason and don't have some airy-fairy open ended goal. On Iraq they've missed two out of two.
This is a sensible and time tested response to the reality of human nature. I just hope that our government, possibly the most Catholic influenced government since the Dutch Invasion of 1688, will listen.
Instead of moaning about how bad and rundown Britain is, was and always has been, here's a list from the Spectator on 26 things we should be grateful for.
Top of my own list are Radio 3 and the Proms.
Now, people may say that this has nothing to do with a weblog concentrating on British foreign policy. Agreed, but it appears that Finland may not have a foreign policy any longer. Helsingen Sanomat is publishing a series of articles on Finnish foreign policy in light of the Convention and adopts the 'small country' line of supporting the Commission.
After examining the current stance of Finland towards non-alignment, credible defence and good relationships with its neighbours, the article draws out a few startling facts.
Finland does not have the resources to defend herself.
But on the other hand: "It is not possible in Finland or in Sweden, for that matter, to speak about independent defence, as we are so dependent on international cooperation in materiel", said Defence Chief Juhani Kaskeala in late October.
Finnish ministers are no longer able to articulate Finnish national interests unless the European Union has not agreed a common policy in this area.
Bringing the policy lines of the EU and Finland together has involved more problems in domestic policy than in foreign policy.
A fresh example of this was the statement made by President Tarja Halonen during her visit to China. According to Halonen, China has developed in human rights questions, even though some human rights organisations feel that the country continues to trample the rights of its citizens as much as it likes.
As the president of a member state of the EU, Halonen gave a statement on Chinese human rights that followed the EU's official policy. She actually could not have done anything else, unless Finland would have been able to change the common statements of the EU countries before the trip.
Halonen's remarks did not cause any foreign policy problems for Finland, but they did give domestic critics a good reason to bash Finland's line on EU issues. The statement raised questions about Finnish independence - and the credibility of Halonen, who has put a special emphasis on human rights questions.
In the future it is likely that there will be more of these kinds of situations - if and when the EU becomes more active in foreign and security policy. Then statements may pop out of the mouths of the foreign policy leaders that Finns might not like to hear. In addition to questions related to Russia, these kinds of statements might include strange pronouncements on foreign military operations of the great powers.
Deutsche Welle reports that the Germans are dissatisfied with the EU plan to cut fishing catches by 45% instead of 80%, and support a total ban.
The Common Fisheries Policy has destroyed our fishing industry and not one politician stood up to state this obvious point. Indeed, not one politician stood up to even save our industry, unlike Spain, Greece or Ireland. The Scottish fishermen are threatening to ignore the ruling and that gets the attention of their Fisheries Minister, Ross Finnie. Where was he when the fishermen needed him to defend their livelihoods?
After imperial measures and fish and chips, warm beer must be next on the agenda.
What to do about the East Indies?
Serge Trifkovic has another of his Frontpage articles on Islam's pernicious influence, this time on East Timor.
And so I wondered, what will happen if (when) Indonesia collapses? Indonesia is a conglomoration of nationalities, all of whom resent their Javenese overlords - the Muslim provincials say that the Javanese are not Islamic enough and the non-Muslims quite reasonably don't like any sort of Islamic masters. All of them also hate the fact that their "underpopulated" lands are constantly under threat from Javanese settlers.
What will happen if the low level civil wars start to get worse? Will Indonesia invade the even less populated Northern Australia? How should Britain react to this? Will the shipping routes to China be cut off? Is it our place to secure world trade routes.
On the evocative website, marx2mao.org, Lenin's article, "On the Slogan for a United States of Europe" has been republished, from the journal, Sotsial-Demokrat No. 44, August 23rd 1915. This little oddity is a piece of its time, railing against the imperialists and their "leeches" who have enslaved half the world. Yet, within Lenin's theoretical insults for the highest form of capitalism, certain passages acquire a distant and contemporary echo.
Of course, temporary agreements are possible between capitalists and between states. In this sense a United States of Europe is possible as an agreement between the European capitalists . . . but to what end? Only for the purpose of jointly suppressing socialism in Europe, of jointly protecting colonial booty against Japan and America, who have been badly done out of their share by the present partition of colonies, and the increase of whose might during the last fifty years has been immeasurably more rapid than that of backward and monarchist Europe, now turning senile. Compared with the United States of Ameriea, Europe as a whole denotes economic stagnation. On the present economic basis, i.e., under capitalism, a United States of Europe would signify an organisation of reaction to retard America's more rapid development. The times when the cause of democracy and socialism was associated only with Europe alone have gone for ever.
Lenin and his party concluded that the United States of Europe was an "erroneous slogan". Of course, it is the right solution for all of the wrong reasons.
Given its provenance and knack for reappearing in the media, there is a need to question the assertion that:
The convention's secret weapon is the proposal by EU Commission President Romano Prodi to require all current member states to sign up for the new Constitution or face expulsion -- a ploy that seems aimed against Britain and other Euroskeptics like Denmark.
Romano Prodi released the Commission's contribution to the 'future of Europe' debate without consulting his fellow Commissioners and lost support within the Convention for his cackhanded tactics. Nevertheless, this assertion has acquired legs and continues to be repeated more and more frequently in various articles on Europe, including the latest contribution from Martin Walker at UPI.
Who would benefit from such a strategic move in the European political scene? The federalists at the Convention could support such a proposal as it increases the political price the UK has to pay to an unacceptable level (for the Blair administration) if it begins to negotiate aggressively and, if their bluff was called, they would lose an opponent of their medium-term plans for European sovereignty. The Eurosceptics within the UK would market such a possibility since this gives an 'out' without any effort on their part proving once and for all that the UK was incompatible with the Continent.
Who would lose from such a proposal? The smaller countries, Italy and Spain who would all be unwilling to see a major power forced out to reaffirm the dominance of the Franco-German alliance. Sweden and Finland could fall on their swords if Denmark were also expelled. Such ructions would bring the fissures in the European Union to the fore and could spell its total demise.
Walker lists the defeat of British interests in the EU by Chirac-Schroeder:
The fruits of the new Chirac-Schroeder alliance have so far been unpleasant for Britain. First, they cooked up a scheme to continue the EU's indefensible Common Agricultural Policy for another decade, despite previous pious promises to reform it.
Then they proposed a new EU defense procurement system, an attempt to undermine the advantages British defense industries enjoy in the key American market. (The British get their privileged access because a) the Pentagon trusts them and b) they produce kit the Americans actually want to buy, like jump-jet fighters.)
Finally they are pushing yet again to "harmonize" EU tax rates, by which they mean forcing the British and Irish and other healthy economies to tax themselves into the same stagnation the French and German economies now suffer. Along the way, they hope to chip away at the City of London's financial dominance, to the benefit of Frankfurt and Paris.
He points out that the balancing act between the Atlantic and the Continent, maintained for sixty years, may be coming to an end.
The stakes for the future of the trans-Atlantic alliance in these three meetings are very high, and even higher for the British, who may be heading for that unwelcome moment of choice between Europe and its traditional links to America and the open sea.
Public opinion in the United Kingdom is still undecided on the advantages and disadvantages of going to war with Iraq. Many distrust Blair's insistence on allying himself with the United States and are unpersuaded by the pronouncements of this administration on the necessity of sending troops to the Gulf. Neither do they view the anti-war campaign of CND with warmth, given their past record of appeasement to the Soviets and ideological defilement of the over-used term, 'peace'.
David Aaronovitch of the Independent articulated some of these doubts in his recent article. For warbloggers who damn any commentator by their source, they should note that Aaronovitch defended the bombings in Afghanistan on a debate on Channel 4 as a valid response to the atrocities committed on the 11th September 2001.
Aaronovitch describes three camps: those who think Saddam Hussein has no weapons of mass destruction; those who think Saddam has weapons of mass destruction; and the don't knows (Aaronovitch, plus a significant proportion of the British public). As yet, he has been unable to conclude which approach is more valid.
An interesting part of the article focuses upon the manner of intervention that could take place. This is the lynchpin which either encourages the Middle East to democratise or reinforces the current power of the prevailing dictatorships, monarchies and theocracies. The 'domino theory' of democracy has little evidence in its favour since the 'Arab street' tends to support Islamists as an alternative. Perhaps Iran with its pseudo forms of representation is the closest that these states can approximate western democracy.
Another contribution from anti-state.com on the issue of defending an anarcho-capitalist or anarcho-socialist nation. Keith Preston's article, entitled "Anarchist National Defense and Foreign Policy" has some pointers for the minarchist polity although its greatest weakness is providing a 'cultural' answer to the free-rider problem. These are based upon the experiences of Sweden and Switzerland during the Second World War:
It seems that both nations saved themselves largely by following a simple libertarian foreign policy of free trade, free migration, cordial diplomacy, armed neutrality and non-intervention combined with a collective will to defend themselves at all costs.
The historical foundations of this passage are shaky but a non-interventionist policy of armed neutrality backed by an armed populace is worth aiming for - and such a nation would need to revere the right to bear arms.
This slipped out on the 16th December with little fanfare and went unnoticed apart from the Daily Telegraph.The paper gives a succinct overview of the EU's security policy. The EU favours multinational action, international law, conflict prevention and disarmament through multinational bodies, thus falling into the moral trap of confusing their interests with the ideal of international law.
The EU has already established a Political and Security Committee, a Military Committee and a Military Staff to provide the structure and expertise necessary to deploy force. The working paper (pdf format) also stated that these structures had to complement NATO for those EU members who belonged to the organisation and noted the limitations on European defence. It is not subject to qualified majority voting and it is not paid for out of the Commission's budget.
The paper also highlights the military co-operation that the UK undertakes with other EU states through the European Air Group, the Multinational Division Centre, the General Staff of the German-Netherlands First Corps and the British-Netherlands Amphibious Force. I must ask why we are in the second to last. Are we Dutch?
The working party concluded that there was a strong public opinion in favour of European defence (no figures cited). The High Representative would have the power to initiate a proposal for 'defence outreach' (including the ability to combat terrorism in a non-EU country at their request). This would be agreed or rejected by the European Council and then overseen by the Political and Security Committee. Such operations would be financed from a common defence budget outside of the budget of the Commission.
Since these operations could not always be subjected to QMV (this was suggested!), the working party suggested that countries could abstain from the proposals (though not financially) and that a "defence Euro-Zone" may be established for those states that favoured deeper military integration. This closer co-operation was linked to the arguments over inclusion of clauses for Solidarity and collective defence in the Constitution. The non-aligned nations were opposed to collective defence but solidarity towards threats, especially from non-state terrorism proved more persuasive, including the capapbility of civil defence units (internal security) to intervene in any country at their request.
The working party proposed the establishment of a common defence procurement body. If defence co-operation were to be enhanced, the progress in integrating defence capabilities could be passed to a Capabilities Agency, who would report to a Council of Defence Ministers and the High Representative.
The working party laid out various proposals for integrating defence at the EU level, extending its capabilities and allowing particular countries to deepen their security relationships. It is also clear that EU defence policy would only function in tandem with NATO or the UN and that there was no capacity for pre-emptive action. A state has to invite you in before you can combat terrorism.
The MOD made no comment.
The current government has attempted to portray the European Convention as a 'consolidation' of existing treaties that does not require popular consent and does not represent a further move towards integration. As the Convention has been seized upon by integrationists for their objective of deepening the Union, this stance looks increasingly unreal.
Many view the Convention as a body whose objectives will prove incompatible with British parliamentary sovereignty and that it will lead to a parting of the ways. Considering the EU's long history of muddle and compromise, plus this government's readiness to accept a far greater level of European interference in British affairs (as Blair's speech in Cardiff indicated), this outcome seems very optimistic.
Lord Howells, nevertheless, argues that John Bull's tankard is half-full.
So the British offering is a "thus far and no further" document, an attempt to halt the slide toward the centralization of powers in Europe and defend nation-states against further encroachments. Somehow a skeptical British public has to be persuaded that this sort of compromise is the best that can be done.
There are two snags to this approach. The first is that most of it will be rejected anyway by other European leaders, especially the attempt to keep defense and foreign policy out of central hands. The overwhelming continental wish is to make the EU a military power in its own right with a single foreign policy and a single foreign-policy spokesman who can project Europe's power on the world stage, thus checking -- although this is unspoken -- the perceived American impulse toward hegemony.
The second snag is that most British people will hate the whole idea of a written constitution. They will accept that the EU must have clearer club rules about who does what, but that is as far as they will go. If given the chance to vote on a new European constitutional treaty in a referendum -- and the Conservative opposition is already pressing for one when the new proposals come next year -- the majority would probably oppose it.
At that point, the union would be in turmoil. With one of its largest members, Britain, in effect vetoing the constitutional project and the rest determined to go ahead, the threat of a real parting of the ways would be greater than it has ever been since the original European Community was founded 45 years ago.
The consequences of the anti-American stance in the election and Germany's refusal to send troops to Iraq has consequences. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports that the United States refused to endorse Germany for the chair of the Iraqi UN sanctions committee. Germany's position was endorsed by France and Germany.
Don't tell Samizdata
Even the Telegraph admits Kim is much more menacing than Saddam. Of course this must mean we must have two crusades.
Of course until they have the means to deliver these bombs we don't have to worry.
Blame it on the Germans
It's not often that two of your bugbears, European defence and the Euro, can be mocked, however this story on German defence spending is far less dull than the subject would suggest.
Get the Euro, Lose your Job
The first line of this story says it all:
The leaders of some of Germany's biggest companies believe their country faces its worst crisis since the war amid deep scepticism about the ability of the government to solve Germany's problems.
Oh dear, oh dear.
Clearly, there is a horrible fascination in watching the Left review and criticise the Left. Will Hutton wrote The World We're In as an extension of his thesis that stakeholding capitalism was far superior to the alternative model, Anglo-American capitalism. It is no surprise to learn that Hutton values the great successes achieved by the Rhenish model.
Robin Blackburn in the New Left Review points out some of the 'tricks of the trade' that any journalist spouting off will use to make their case. There is one bizarre passage discounting American homicides for road deaths, cited as evidence of Hutton's anti-Americanism and another demonstrating how the author ignores economic statistics that undermine his poorly conceived thesis.
The familiar statistics for the tens of thousands of victims of US gun violence are not matched by similar figures for those suffering racial attacks in Germany, Italy, France and Britain. Bad as US homicide figures undoubtedly are—around 15,000 fatalities a year—they are far outstripped by the 40,000 annual road deaths. European road-death figures are the same—considerably higher, if new member states are included.
For about three paragraphs, Blackburn does make sense, citing the usual symptoms of European decline: high social security costs, high unemployment and wide swathes of exclusion from the 'world of work'.
However, lunacy soon returns in his answer:
Instead of nearly doubling the payroll taxes, which already absorb a fifth of wages, the Commission could establish a Euro-pension funded by a continent-wide share levy, assessed at 10 per cent of annual profits. The resulting shares could be held for future income and their voting power used to buttress stakeholder institutions in every region.
Redistribution from rich to poor districts, wealth taxes and a levy on shares to impoverish us all. Madness.
William Walker discusses parallels between Germany's difficulties subsidising the former East Germany and the burden awaiting the European Union in allowing new entrants from the former Soviet bloc. Such a challenge would force Europe to focus upon its internal problems for at least a decade at the expense of global diversions and punctures the current grandiose plans of challenging America's hegemony.
However, as Newsweek points out these new entrants are more liberal and pro-American than their counterparts in the West.
In contrast to most of their neighbors to the West, they are almost unreservedly pro-American. As of May 2004, when the new members formally take their seats, Britain will no longer be isolated in its ties to Washington. Instead, it will be at the center of the single largest voting bloc in Europe.
The renewed German-French alliance is a strong attempt to solidify their influence within Europe at the expense of other powers and the new candidates.
American articles reporting the Copenhagen Summit have tended to be rather anodyne, concentrating upon the question of Turkey or giving a quick descriptive of an Anglo-continental divide.
Hans Morgenthau's Six Principles of Political Realism is online. It would be appreciated if I could be pointed towards any other realist works out there would.
With France and Germany appointing their foreign ministers to this body, Britain stands as the odd man out with a part-time Peter Hain, who has to divide his responsibilities between Cardiff, London and Brussels. Is it because Britain's former 'man in Europe', Sir John Kerr, acts as the Head of the Secretariat for the Convention and is may safeguard the objectives of the Blair government?
Sir John Kerr was formerly Permanent Under Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a post which he had held since 1997. From 1990-95 he was UK Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the European Community in Brussels.
For his past history, one need look no further than the 'Arms to Africa' scandal of 1998. He was threatened with contempt of Parliament by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee for providing evasive non-answers to questions on the allegations at the time.
It appears that Andrew Stuttaford of the National Review was perplexed by Angus Roxburgh's article as well. He also referred to the Zimwatch posting.
More from the EU's 'constitutional convention', this time from the BBC. I have read and re-read this report in an attempt to decide whether it is ironic. Despite its humorous tone, I have a nasty feeling that it might not be, but judge for yourself.
My thanks to Mary Madigan for picking this up and for posting on Zimbabwe.
If any country wished to intervene in Zimbabwe, it could not do so without the co-operation and the support of the Republic of South Africa. Yet this year has shown that Thabo Mbeki pays lip service to the multicultural diversity of the Left whilst his actions provide succour and relief to an odious regime. As Zimbabwe continues to spiral down, the economic costs continue to rise as petrol itself runs out due to a lack of hard currency.
South Africa provides economic subsidies that mitigate the worst of the economic fallout from the collapsing Zimbabwean economy. The ANC have provided a platform for Mugabe during the Earth Life Summit on Sustainable Development, assessed his election in March as 'free and fair', and have preferred to support this regime and watch the donors of NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development) withdraw their aid until such time as the South African Development Community can get its act together.
Now, the ANC have invited a delegation from ZANU-PF to attend their conference next week and there is a possibility that Mugabe himself may attend. In part, Mbeki is attempting to outflank the growing links between the far-left Pan-Africanist Congress, the Landless People's Movement of South Africa and SWAPO of Namibia.
Despite the poor choices of their leaders, the Republic of South Africa remains a democracy that commands the loyalty of many of its citizens of all races. South Africa remains an unknown quantity with its ties to North Korea, Libya and China and is unwilling to take action against ZANU-PF without external pressure.
Life in Cape Town, the most charming city of the Republic, remains perched between hope and despair but it is unclear how long this state of affairs can remain in place as the ANC begins to make the same mistakes that have so dogged the post-colonial failures 'up country'.
The European Union has entertained ambitions of "superpower status" and the developments of the next few years were planned to cement the arrival of Europe as a power in its own right. However, the discussion of competing models for this new power has demonstrated that there is no clear voice, no overwhelming vision for the future of Europe. The French and the Germans are trying to revive their old partnership in order to shape the final stages of integration. Romano Prodi attempted to revive the central role that the Commission enjoyed under Jacques Delors and found that he had aimed too high with a weak hand. The UK is distrusted as an American proxy and the other members are too small to to construct an agenda of their own.
Adrian Hamilton of the Independent lists these developments clearly and succinctly, linking them to the wider disillusionment that electorates in continental countries feel towards this imposition.
In order to assure that enlargement would be accepted, the European Union made 1 billion euros available to Poland and 300 million euros available to the other candidates. The EU concluded that further subsidies were required to guarantee entry for these countries and followed the same path that it had trod in the path with all other problems: state subsidies to allay grievances. Without further integration and greater financial resources, the EU will probably not be able to bear the ten additional member states.
On the issue of Turkey, the European leaders also met firm demands for accession talks with an attempt to defer the whole issue until December 2004 and another review. This indecision was greeted with anger by Turkey and may well lead them to consider other options. It was also a reaction by some states to perceived interference by the United States in the EU decision making process.
This summit provides further proof that the current structures of the European Union have no answer to the structural problems faced on the continent apart from the redistribution of taxes through subsidy and the siren call of further union. As the patience of German taxpayers has run out and as economic problems are now increasing, the project appears to have reached its endpoint: a static decline with an alliance of political classes unable to muster the moral resource necessary to democratise and relegitimise its goals.
This conservative, bureaucratic behemoth has years of life left and the drive for new membership will not die down whilst continental candidates can join but the EU's capacity for reinvention has been found wanting: and in this age of crisis, reinvention is necessary to survive.
Do they mean us?
In the Nikolas Gvosdev of "In the National Interest" starts off one of his articles:
In the National Interest describes itself as America's only realist weekly (although, in the interests of full disclosure, I must reveal that a British foreign policy website disputes our realist credentials, because of our willingness to entertain alternative points of view).
He may be refering to this article when I complained:
this is not the real thing - after all the top item is an interview with the terribly unrealistic Richard Perle while the editor Adam Garfinkle (who merely risks a "tilt toward the realist side") argues that Realists and Neo-conservatives are really just Republicans who have different temperaments towards foreign policy.
I should be rather chuffed (although surely "full disclosure" would entail naming the website, if not linking to it). In fact I am rather chuffed.
Let's see. In the first issue Adam Garfinkle says of Neo-Conservatives and Realists, "Ultimately, our differences come down mostly to temperament." Now Nikolas Gvosdev says that all they were guilty of was a "willingness to entertain alternative points of view".
So now Neo-Conservatism is an alternative to realism rather than realism with a headache. Progress my purist friends, progress.
Oh and the actual article is quite good too.
Reading through the transcript of Jack Straw's press conference is one of the less stimulating tasks that I set myself today. His replies clarify that the basis of this government's policy is very thin and that they are not very good at thinking on their feet. When questioned about the relaxation of immigration controls for the enlargement candidates, Straw made the surprising assertion that more British would move to West Central Europe than Central Europeans would move to these islands.
And as I say, the difference between now and May 2004, if that is the date, is that by May 2004 people from all 10 accession countries will be able to travel to the United Kingdom without a visa, no conditions on their travel or their stay. The only issue is will they be able to work lawfully here. We think this is sensible and I have already said that we continue to hold in reserve controls which we can use at any time up to 7 years if our predictions don't arise, and that I think it will be a two-way street with more Brits going abroad than [immigrants from Central Europe] coming here.
But an aside on a weak issue is not the central point of this post. On the eve of the Copenhagen conference, Straw did not mention one European country by name when discussing diplomatic developments. Questions concerning Cyprus, Iraq and the Middle East focused on the roles of regional powers and the negotiations. Straw made repeated references to meetings with other European foreign ministers but not in the same breath as any diplomatic decisions that Britain was actually making or supporting (supporting India and Israel on a terrorist convention).
There are two complementary judgements that can be made here: the European Union is less important in current foreign policy as issues such as Iraq and the 'war on terror' have come to the fore; and the 'enlargement' hype on the Copenhagen summit is puffing up its significance above and beyond the sole news of manoevrings over Turkey in order to raise the profile of Blair.
It also displays the poverty of thought in our current foreign policy, although, to be fair to Straw, a role as camp follower is not designed to spark synapses.
It appears that Romano Prodi published his constitutional draft without consulting his colleagues or checking that his Pandora's box matched the official submission to the Convention. His model of a centralised Commission governing a state is not even supported by his fellow Commissioners. It is now less likely to provide a competitive model to the intergovernmental model favoured by the 'Big Five' - France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain.
It's all the Saudis' fault
One of my stock responses to those who claim that the Iraqis need to be bombed to pieces because they may have fewer links to Al Qaeda than MI6 (sorry I meant to write more) I always say "but what about the Saudis and their support for Al Qaeda". Eric Margolis tries to put us Saudi bashers right. Not convinced, but an interesting piece nonetheless.
Armies that work
Was bankrupting the country, losing the Empire, and inviting the Soviet Union to the banks of the Elbe the only way of detering Hitler? Not according to the Swiss.
Nothing to do with us, guv
Christopher Montgomery writes on Israel, and is his usual trenchant self. Guess what he thinks about the idea that Israel is somehow our concern.
It must be demeaning for a minister like Jack Straw to stand up in Parliament and announce that citizens from the countries who enter the European Union in 2004 will have full accession rights. After all, we have an immigration mess. The UK joins Greece, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands in this approach to the enlargement candidates and all are assimilating huge numbers of new immigrants, more than they have ever seen in the case of Greece.
This paper by Andre Gsponer in Disarmament Diplomacy ( a journal published online by The Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy) examines recent developments in nanotechnology and microelectromechanical systems and how they can improve the accuracy and deployment of controlled low-yield nuclear explosives. He argues that these developments herald the entry of nuclear weapons to active conflict within the next few years providing greater destructive potential in a targeted area.
It is therefore important to realise that the technological hurdles that have to be overcome in order for laboratory scale thermonuclear explosions to be turned into weapons may be the only remaining significant barrier against the introduction and proliferation of fourth-generation nuclear weapons.
Of course, the answer of Acronym is to develop a new treaty banning the military deployment of such technologies and setting back the potential civilian uses by a number of years.
The answer of course is surely not and Ha'aretz provides very sound reasons that would not be out of place in any Eurorealist's train of thought. This article stems from the comments made by Binyamin Netanyahu during his leadership campaign with Sharon late in November.
It is a sad indictment of the EU when it is unable to provide an opening for Israel as the Law of Return privileges Jews above other peoples. This contradicts the corrosive transnationalism pervading Europe that demands a nation must surrender the qualities that render itself unique.
Moreover, the article demonstrates the wide gap in perception between an embattled state suffering terrorism of unprecedented ferocity and continental states that deny any country the right to defend itself.
The gaps between Israel and Europe are also reflected in the perception of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The EU does not believe that the policies of the Israeli government - according to which, in the absence of any diplomatic horizon or credible Palestinian leadership, the conflict with the Palestinians will only be decided by a prolonged struggle that is based on military strength, determination and steadfastness - will ever bring peace and stability to the region.
Israel is viewed by widespread population groups in Europe as a racist colonial brute, light years distant from the enlightened "New Europe." The attitude is based on an unofficial assessment of the situation according to which Israel is waiting for the propitious moment to carry out a transfer of the Palestinian population - for example, under the cover of the war in Iraq - and that the EU must take strong action to foil this intention.
Senior EU officials believe that beneath the conciliatory and pragmatic exterior, Ariel Sharon is not interested in the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan, and that he is seeking - with the quiet support of the Americans and the energetic encouragement of the Israeli army - to make the Palestinians' lives loathsome, by means of intentional destruction of property and infrastructure that were built with funds donated by the European taxpayer.
The Europeans are afraid that Israel is waiting for a major stumble by the Palestinians - for instance, an expression of support for the Iraqi regime in the instance of a war with the U.S. - in order to pave the way for a sweeping action that would go unnoticed by the West. Even if this assessment is unfounded, the fact that it exists is itself evidence that Israel's moral status is at an all-time nadir.
In European eyes, under the leadership of Sharon, Netanyahu and their colleagues, Israel is capable of carrying out ethnic cleansing, meaning that it is not worthy of inclusion in the European Union. So long as this perception is rooted in the institutions of the EU - which openly yearns for the Labor Party's recapture of the government - the dream of joining the European club will remain in the realm of fantasy.
This widening gap in perceptions stems from a sense of betrayal that Israel feels towards a Europe - a Europe that appears incapable of recognising Arafat as a terrorist and Israel's dreadful siege. Even if the US and Europe still partially sing from the same hymnsheet, large portions of Israeli society are now antagonistic towards Europe and this drive the EU's foreign policy further towards support for the Arabic status quo.
The remarkably good World Socialist Web Site (no, I have not gone over to the dark side) has an interesting analysis on the European Union. Basically it's claiming that the Americans are now scared that Europe is becoming independent of them. How will this leave the transmission belt between American wishes and European action, Britain?
There have been a few entries on The Edge of Englands Sword and Conservative Commentary arguing that the move towards a European Constitution may also force Britain towards associate membership. The mechanism may be mandatory membership of the Euro, forcing a referendum in this country on both the currency and the constitution. It is hard to give credence to this argument at the moment as negotiations are still not firmed up but this, or a modification of the proposed "constructive abstentionist", may be adopted for the development of a two-speed Europe. UPI hears...
Former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing was always known as a ladies' man (once colliding with a milk cart when returning to the Elysee Palace at dawn from a tryst), but at age 76 was assumed to be concerned mainly with running the constitutional convention on the future of the European Union. So what lay behind the mocking declaration "I love Penelope" after Friday's plenary session? Apparently "Penelope" (named after the faithful wife in Homer's Odyssey who remained true to Ulysses through his 20 years of wanderings) is the code-name EU Commission President Romano Prodi has given to his own secret draft of a new European constitution. "It's a very nice story but Penelope did not hide herself. She declared: 'I'm waiting for Ulysses'," Giscard went on. And then Giscard revealed that he knew that some of Prodi's commissioners were far from happy with the "Penelope" draft, adding: "This document has been repudiated, something which Ulysses never did." The most controversial clause in Prodi's secret draft is one designed to force the skeptical Brits to put up or shut up. It says any country that does not sign up for his highly federalist "Penelope" constitution should be deemed to have left the EU.
William Walker at UPI argues that the NATO summit at Prague heralds a revival for the alliance, as the US tries to use the organisation as a foundation for 'coalitions of the willing'.
Some questions that won't be asked about Cherie Blair
Apologies for the domestic politics intrusion. If you think that the present furore about Cherie Blair's property buying habits is the sign of a new robustness from the media, think again. Here's a couple of questions that won't be asked in the media:
1) When Cherie Blair was a struggling, and by many accounts mediocre, barrister why did the majority of legal work from Hackney Borough Council flow her way after her sister, Lauren, was employed in the legal department? And how did Lauren, who has no legal qualifications, get the job in the first place. Was it connected to Tony and Cherie's active membership in the Hackney Labour party?
2) Is there any truth to the rumours that a black list is maintained of judges who have given what Mrs Blair regards as a rough ride, and that promotion is impeded for these judges? Have there been any judges with whom she has clashed recently and have any of them been promoted?
3) Was young Leo Blair conceived using IVF and was this electorally helpful "surprise" done privately or on the NHS? Were they hypocrites or was this just an early example of state funding of political parties?
4) When Mrs Blair had Leo "on the NHS", did she pay the going rate to use the private rooms within the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, or at least compensate the Hospital for the income foregone. Did she also pay anything towards the two to three months in which the rooms were held in reserve?
Now if these questions were being asked about Betsy Duncan Smith we'd soon see the BBC reporting on them.
According to one Italian Parliamentarian, Antonio Loche, it's obvious: the US is afraid of Europe and how competitive the EU is becoming.
An armed intervention in Iraq would, in a single blow, relegate Europe, Russia and China to the level of mediocre supporting actors.
And I thought Europe was already there.
For as long as the political memory casts its thoughts back, defence procurement has proved to be one of the finer examples of waste by the British state. There are currently 30 projects that are showing "improvement" according to the NAO.
However, in balancing the equation of capability versus cost, the Armed Forces have cut the number of Nimrod MRA4 military reconnaissance aircraft entering service in 2005 from 21 to 18; and extended the lease on Boeing C-17 transport aircraft due to a further delay in obtaining the Airbus A400M (of which, only nine will be fitted with anti-missile defence systems).
(First spotted on Random Notes)
One of the criticisms of an anticipated European superstate is that it will founder under the centrifugal forces of nationalism. Yet it is rare to hear the same argument used to criticise the expansion of NATO. Constantine Peshakov, a Russian commentator, writes
The new NATO may find itself disabled by its own gluttony. If history has taught us a lesson about alliances, it is that they should be homogenous. Disparities in an alliance are permissible only to a certain limit.
The author points out that the new members have only recently emerged from communism and that there are still territorial disputes unresolved in this "territorial and ethnic mess".
In the next 10 years we may see the Balkanization of NATO, an efficient alliance turning into something chaotic, confused and basically useless, like the United Nations.
Socialism is about the control and transmission of information, whether economic, political, or social. Yet, when it is implemented, the leakage and increasingly independent flow of information leads to ever greater attempts at control until the society breaks under the strain and information flows free again.
Zimbabwe's attempts at control are becoming tighter and their consequences ever more serious. A freeze on prices and exchange control measures has led to the industrial sector shutting down for the first quarter. Whether it will open again is a moot point but the consequences for the service sectors that depend on industry are dire.
It is a moot point if starving an entire political minority is genocide, just evil or one of those things that occur in the nastier parts of the world. The MDC is trying bravely to save its voters but despite petitioning the courts to lift the Grain Marketing Board's monopoly, they are unable to get a response or import food. When they did so through the Feed Zimbabwe Trust, 132 tonnes of grain were impounded at Beitbridge by Mugabe's monsters, whilst starvation continues.
The US has sent forth a strong, if unreported, response:
Fears that opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) areas will be starved into submission have forced the US government to consider "interventionist and intrusive" action to feed Zimbabwe's estimated seven million starving people.
The Dutch response, probably representative of the Continentals, was disgraceful:
In response, the sources said, Dr Heinsbroek said it was important that Zimbabwe and Netherlands engaged in talks to restore good relations. He pledged to work towards improving relations between the two countries. "Zimbabwe has genuine concerns and Europe also has her own concerns and we just have to talk. It is important that we have to talk. "We must prevent an exchange of monologues. We can start with preparatory talks so we can restore our relations," the sources quoted Dr Heinsbroek saying.
Intervention is the responsibility of the South Africans but that does not mean we have to treat with Mugabe.
After listening to Any Questions today I understood that Frederick Forsyth would bang on about how bad Europe was. It was a surprise to hear Damien Green list the advantages of the European Union and Patricia Hodge sound ever so slightly more Eurosceptic but neither received an enthusiastic round of applause. As always, Patricia Hodge proved that New Labour is indecent, nasty and arrogant through its willingness to descend to personal slurs: by stating that Frederick Forsyth should stick to reading novels and leave politics to the professional politicians. With such contempt for commentators outside their magic circle, is it a wonder the BNP is enjoying greater success.
But this digression illuminates how the real debate on Europe is not reported over here with the collusion of all political parties. Further to an earlier posting on the European Commission, an article in the Financial Times with Antonio Vitorino, casts more light on their motives. The Commission took an 'all or nothing' approach by setting out their bid to become the executive of a new continental state. Otherwise, they would watch their status diminish to that of an economic civil service.
Democracy was not viewed as part of their agenda, as their proposal for pan-European political lists in elections proved, reducing local representation to nothing.
Documentary sources can be found at Euractiv, along with a cursory summary of how this strong proposal has proved divisive.
A pallid column on European enlargement by Boris Kagarlitsky invited a forceful response from Paul Cheale, President of the Fresh Meat Wholesalers, 1993-1995, and an abattoir owner battling the Meat Hygiene Scheme. Here it is in full:
I find it interesting that your columnist should see the bureaucracy in Brussels as being "irreproachably democratic" when the majority of us in the U.K. see it as anything but. Huge numbers of regulations being forced upon us and our businesses are created by unelected officials and were certainly never subject to due process in the European Parliament. Not that it would have made much difference if they had been. Thousands of laws and regulations are passed year in year out by European MPs block-voting because they could not possibly comprehend or understand them due to their sheer bulk and complexity.
I grant that generally EU dissidents are not beaten down with shovels but they certainly are beaten down. They don't use shovels, they use regulations, red tape and bureaucracy to reduce us to impotency. Legitimate complaints and objections to these regulations that threaten our very livelihood are lost in the political process or just ignored. We are being slowly but surely disenfranchised. Talk of democracy has an increasingly hollow ring.
Lenin, if you could but see us now.
As a businessman in the EU, I can assure you that there is no "Union." The common market does not exist. Take the illegal French ban on British beef as an example of flagrant protectionism or Vodafone's experience of trying to buy into the German market. Our farming industry has been ruined; our fishing industry is vanishing; our manufacturing industry is in decline; and we rely more and more on a service industry base that is being attacked by more red tape and regulation. European politicians talk grandly about enlargement and the European dream while, at the grass-roots level, we see the reality of this protectionism and the biased interpretation of regulations by our European "colleagues" whilst they greedily feed at the Brussels trough. Come the time when those who have been receiving are expected to give -- then we shall see the members' real colors.
Could it be that the milestone of enlargement becomes a millstone around the neck of Europe that will sink it?
Cheale Meats Ltd.
Little Warley, Essex
The cultural bulimics at the BBC have irrigated colonic depths as yet unreached by brown nosers in this particularly atrocious article, "Big Brains ponder EU architecture". To quote:
Half-way through this week's plenary session of the Convention on the Future of Europe, I noticed that two men appeared to be employed to sit, in turns, on the stage just behind the Convention President, Valery Giscard d'Estaing. His sole purpose, it seems, is to push the president's chair in and out when he decides to get up and stretch his legs. He does that quite often, and comes back each time with his huge ET-like dome of a head bulging with even bigger thoughts. The convention is a place for profound thinking.
Nine months into its work, it is deep into the minutiae of constitution-writing. And make no mistake - the European Union's future is in the hands of some very clever men and women. Rarely a session goes by without a tribute to these "founding fathers". Perhaps some day the cliffs of the Rhine will be carved with Mount Rushmore-like statues of the three key figures - the beefy former Belgian Prime Minister, Jean-Luc Dehaene, the silver-haired, arm-waving Italian, Giuliano Amato, and "ET". This week, they have been discussing "simplification of instruments and procedures".
Convention Vice-President Amato pointed out that EU law-making was so complex that people did not understand it. He proposed simplifying things, having only laws and framework laws rather than regulations and directives, as at present, because "what in Brussels is a regulation would be a law anywhere else". The discussion, it should be said - although it is aimed at making the EU more understandable to the common man - itself hovers in a legalistic stratosphere, which would make the common man gawp with admiration, or incomprehension.
"Atypical acts should not be used if typical acts exist," someone was saying, and I noticed that some of the convention grandees - many of the members are past or serving foreign ministers, MPs or PMs - were starting to get up and walk about for a while, apparently to ward off deep-vein thrombosis, or perhaps some even more catastrophic affliction to the brain.
I know how they feel after reading Angus Roxburgh's crap.
Such Europhilia has also been noticed by BBC Bias as well as the blog, biased bbc.
So Winston Churchill has won the B.B.C.'s "Great Britons" contest, ahead of Shakespeare, Newton, Darwin, Elizabeth I, Nelson, Cromwell, Brunel, &, er, John Lennon & Princess Diana.
Winston Churchill was a great man. Had it not been for the War, he would be the most magnificent failure in British politics; as it is, his career was a triumph, his wartime leadership inspirational, strategically superb (whatever his mistakes, however much he delegated, we still beat the Germans), probably indispensable.
BUT... does that make him the greatest Briton? I had a heated argument with some Tories (as in members of that thing in Smith Square) at a party the other night, & I think they used most of the arguments on which Churchill's supporters have relied, namely:
1. He saved Britain.
True, up to a point - but why does that make him greater than Drake, who saved Britain in 1588 (it was Drake, wasn't it?), & Nelson, who saved Britain in 1797, both of whom played a far more direct role in our deliverance, & both of whom saved Britain for growth & glory, rather than, as Churchill did, for relative decline? Why, for that matter, does it make him greater than Alexander Fleming, who has saved millions of British lives?
2. He saved the world.
False. Even if we lay aside our doubts that it would have been literally the end of the world if Hitler had won (presumably the "world" would have continued in the U.S.A.?), it is surely obvious that, if Britain's role was necessary to Hitler's defeat, the roles of Russia & the U.S.A. were more necessary still - yet I can't imagine many Russians voting for Stalin in "100 Greatest Russians", & I hope to God F.D.R. would not win "100 Great Americans". Victory was a combined effort.
3. It was right to fight the war.
Probably - although there is an argument for saying that Nazi Germany & the U.S.S.R. would have destroyed each other if we had kept out, thus "saving the world" from the Cold War & the threat of nuclear annihilation, & Eastern Europe from decades of Communist tyranny. Even if we reject that argument, however - say on the grounds that sooner or later the Japanese would have drawn us in willy-nilly by attacking our colonies in the East -, it is hardly credible that standing up to the Nazis was the only right thing that any Briton has ever done.
4. Well, I think that's about it, actually.
Of COURSE it should have been Shakespeare. Shelley knew why: "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings - look on my works, ye mighty, & despair..."
Matthew Parris, who can be so wrong about domestic and European issues, turns his eye to assylum seekers. Forget fraudulent assylum seekers and worry about the whole mad system of assylum. The Geneva convention was agreed in an age before mass air travel. And it shows.
What is worse is that control of our borders, surely the very definition of existence as a nation-state, is deemed to be superseded by adherance to an outdated doctrine.
This one is an older article but provides a brief synopsis on the visit of the director of the Missile Defence Agency, Lieutenant General Ronald Kadish's visit to Fylingdales in mid-November. The US is continuing to test the technology and negotiate with favoured allies for the bases required to establish the system. Kadish stated that the technology would be available within five years.
Russia had already proposed a European missile defence system in 2001, partially as an attempt to forestall co-operation with the United States.
European countries had already invested considerable resources in theatre missile defence systems during the 1990s although Britain's contribution was rather poor in this regard. However, they had not explored the option of national missile defence because of its potential in undermining accepted treaties on arms control.
However, as this paper by Mark Bromley concluded in May 2001,
With the serious endeavours of several European states, and the Bush administration’s own strong efforts, missile defence programmes remain a top talking point among the allies. Of serious concern is the possibility that European countries will be unable to maintain a strong opposition to US NMD plans if they continue to invest heavily in TMD capabilities of their own. Also of concern is the possibility that Europe’s nascent TMD systems will be drawn into an overarching ‘global’ missile defence system being considered by the Bush administration. In the absence of in-depth public debate, the possibility exists of a gradual slide towards increased European acceptance of missile defence systems as a legitimate means of resolving real or supposed security threats. This slide would undoubtedly be supported by an ambitious European defence industry and a US administration eager to fend off the opposition to its own NMD plans.
This process appears to be currently at work within Great Britain.
The latest from our well-prepared armed forces. Don't join the army if you are size 8,9 or 10 as they might not be able to find any boots for you.
Romano Prodi's speech has been no secret and contained few surprises in its submission to the European Convention. Prodi knows that he has little chance of seeing his proposals come into force without the support of the smaller states. His proposals were for qualified majority voting in all areas; the removal of national vetoes; the European parliament to control the budget; and a "foreign secretary" answerable to the Commission. This was wrapped up in the soundbite and oxymoron - "the first true supranational democracy in the world" and directly opposes some of Blair's own proposals.
The Commission is allying with the smaller countries to regain the initiative in European affairs and overturn the intergovernmental dominance of the large powers during the last decade. Its agenda is a throwback to the nineteen-eighties and the culmination of the federalist vision of that time where Commission and Parliament would be the tools to unify Europe.
Don't say Cakewalk
Another old article, this time from In The National Interest about prospects in Iraq.
Pat Buchanan has a rather good article on "A Dangerous Form of Altruism". His explanation for the American Revolution is also rather good.
Foreign policy is becoming rather divisive for the Blair administration and a triumph for their vaunted ethical foreign policy might rally the backbenches after the camp follower act we've seen for the past six months. Are they looking at Zimbabwe with its homophobic leader and its black-on-black genocide as a moral playground? Now that most of the white farmers have been taken out, there can be no insinuations of Anglo-Saxon racial preference or 21st century imperialism, if a police action were to take place.
British troops are now training in South Africa because it's cheap and effective. These are good reasons but the locale provides good training for a quick invasion.
Still, we have plenty of Fijian recruits after a cut in their armed forces, despite their peculiar proclivities. The Commonwealth is good for something.
The major countries within the EU view NATO increasingly as a tool of the US and are striving to provide alternative security structures for their continent. However, this article, whilst quite clear on the shortcomings of NATO, is clearly erroneous on the desire of Europeans to rearm.
But sooner or later an open conflict between Europe and the US is unavoidable. European governments are preparing for such a contingency with moves to accelerate rearmament. The summit had only just concluded when the German and French foreign ministers, Joschka Fischer and Dominique de Villepin, spoke out in favour of a joint paper calling for the extension of the European Union into a “European Security and Defence Union”. The paper is directed towards the EU constitutional convention as the basis for the elaboration of a European constitution.
The French and the Germans are constructing an elaborate castle for themselves woven out of treaties and promises. They have clarified their proposals with a call for collective security within the EU, designed as an alternative to NATO.
But with Germany slashing its defence spending, Europe may well abandon the Atlantic Alliance without having anything to put in its place apart from fine words.
The trouble with Don Pacifico
A bit old this, but the article by Matthew Parris deserves to be read in which he argues that sometimes outlying colonies need to be cut off despite the wishes of the local population. After all what are colonies for?
Here is an article from the Independent that publicises the latest human rights report on Afghanistan and examines British foreign policy in selected dictatorships: Israel (?!), North Korea, Uzbekistan, Turkey (?!), Iran (which it treats as a democracy) etc.
The usual suspects of the Left are juxtaposed with their trading statistics to show that Britain trades with these regimes. It even has a trade surplus with some of these countries. The mantras of the Left: profit before morality; and uncaring capitalism.
What a wheeze!
For many, the European Convention has not acquired significance because its role is perceived as a consolidation of existing treaties rather than as an arena for institutional reform. The latter was diaried for negotiation at the 2004 intergovernmental conference after the constitutional convention had finished its work. That model has been overtaken by events.
The convention is really becoming the actual negotiation that was supposed to await the "inter-governmental conference" planned for 2004. Germany and France have made this plain by making their foreign ministers delegates to the convention.
In the early phases of negotiation, issues of controversy are chosen to define positions even though there are common themes uniting all parties. The FT has adopted this argument for defence in the current spat between Great Britain and the renewed Franco-German relationship, by focussing upon the complementarity between the rapid reaction forces proposed for the European Union and NATO. However, the article does downplay the most important component of the continentals' view: that defence should be communitised.
The other issue coming to the fore is the role of taxation where most of the EU hope to communitise corporation taxes and value added taxes for the purpose of smoothing the single market (where the European state is the single purchaser and the single provider).
Finally, some of the Labour backbenchers have joined with the Conservatives in calling for a referendum on the European Constitution, arguing that such an important change "was too important to be simply rubber-stamped by ministers".
Michael Ancram actually opposed the constitutional process and called for a far more decentralised entity.
It's not really surprising that Britain is odds on favourite as the next terror target, considering our government's insistence on backing the Americans for no benefit besides "prestige", however what is surprising is the weakness AFI research fingers lax immigration controls as the real reason why Britain is so tempting a target.
Britain in Europe appears to have been given the go-ahead by No. 10 to start drawing up their campaign and promoting the Euro, in preparation for a referendum to be held next year. The deadline for assessing the tests on the Euro is June 7th.
Simon Buckby, Campaign Director of Britain in Europe, was quoted as saying,
“Moving to Frampton Street reflects our confidence that a referendum will be called, but it is part of the process of building the campaign, not the launch of it. For a few months yet, people should expect to hear the sound of saws and hammers from Britain in Europe, not soundbites and slogans.”
However, the lease is for only one year, according to the Independent, and the building is designed to hold a Millbank style operation.
Buckby is confident, despite public hostility, forecasting in an internal memo, "that sterling will pass the five economic tests before June, and that the subsequent referendum will be won by the "yes" campaign despite polls showing public opinion is hostile to a single currency."
Why do these groups never state that joining the Euro is the choice of the British people, not of the campaign lobbies or the government? They show no respect for this and view the electorate as a fool to be poked and prodded in the right direction. I hope that the fool spits in their eye.
Socialism and genocide were handmaidens of the state in the last century and their union has not yet ended. Didymus Mutasa, administrative secretary of ZANU-PF, is the latest in along line of monsters to spell out why death is necessary for the enemies of the state.
Mutasa declared to the press during the weekend that “We would be better off with only six million people, with our own (Shona) people who support the liberation struggle. We don’t want all these extra people”. By “extra people” Zimbabwe’s leading civil servant means the people who live in non-Shona-speaking areas, who in their majority supported the opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change.
And as any socialist state requires, it begins by indoctrinating the young. But as Paul Taylor writes in his column on these lunatics, "We will remember and we will judge."
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- Undecided - 22nd December 2002, 17.48 Public op...
- Anarchist Defence - 22nd December 2002, 17.27 A...
- The Report of the European Convention Working Part...
- Is this a defining moment? - 19th December 2002, 2...
- German-US mistrust - 19th December 2002, 22.34 ...
- Don't tell Samizdata Even the Telegraph admits ...
- Blame it on the Germans It's not often that two...
- Get the Euro, Lose your Job The first line of t...
- One Step Beyond - 16th December 2002, 23.16 Cle...
- Views on the Future of Europe - 16th December 2002...
- Online Classic Hans Morgenthau's Six Principles...
- Why does Jack Straw not attend the 'Convention'? -...
- Was it real or was it satire? - 14th December 2002...
- Zimwatch: Intervention is the responsibility of So...
- Failure at Copenhagen - 13th December 2002, 22.51 ...
- Do they mean us? In the Nikolas Gvosdev of "In ...
- Jack Straw's Press Conference - 12th December 2002...
- Decommissioning Brussels - 12th December 2002, 22....
- It's all the Saudis' fault One of my stock resp...
- Armies that work Was bankrupting the country, l...
- Nothing to do with us, guv Christopher Montgome...
- Meaningless Babble - 10th December 2002, 22.22 ...
- Fourth-Generation Nuclear Weapons - 10th December ...
- Should Israel join the EU? - 10th December 2002, 2...
- Mere Pawns The remarkably good World Socialist ...
- 'Currency and Constitution': Britain's Exit Poll? ...
- Redressing the balance - 9th December 2002, 22.51 ...
- Some questions that won't be asked about Cherie Bl...
- Why is America invading Iraq? - 8th December 2002,...
- Defence Procurement - 8th December 2002, 21.43 ...
- The Balkanisation of NATO - 8th December 2002, 21....
- Zimwatch: The Nation that ate itself - 7th Decembe...
- Montesquieu's Revenge - 7th December 2002, 20.17 ...
- Taking the message to Russia - 7th December 2002, ...
- It makes you sick - 6th December 2002, 21.30 Th...
- Please Help I am trying to bring the archives o...
- Why Winston? 6th December 2002. So Winston Chur...
- Lunatic Assylum Matthew Parris, who can be so w...
- European Missile Agency - 5th December 2002, 23.19...
- He died with his Nikes on - 5th December 2002, 23....
- The Commission's Contribution - 5th December 2002,...
- Don't say Cakewalk Another old article, this ti...
- Ungrateful Allies Pat Buchanan has a rather goo...
- Is Britain preparing to intervene in Zimbabwe? - 4...
- Defenceless - 4th December 2002, The major coun...
- The trouble with Don Pacifico A bit old this, b...
- Sixth Form Media - 3rd December 2002, 22.02 Her...
- Why the European Convention is becoming more impor...
- At Last - 3rd December 2002, 21.23 Finally, som...
- Target Britain? It's not really surprising that...
- The Battlelines are being drawn - 1st December 200...
- Zimwatch: Common Bedfellows - 1st December 2002, 2...
- ▼ December (69)