View Full Version : Could the European Union, become a continental European nation?
07-05-01, 05:59 PM
It seems that since the EU's inception that countries in Europe, especially after the collapse of communism have been bound closer together now since in the time of Rome. With the Euro dollar moving towards a reality, and talks of a EU military force is it possible that the EU could be come a super country? I'd like to know opinions, especially of Europeans in sciforums.
Massive cultural and language difficulties. Even in the USA different states have varying cultures and laws, but at least in the US there is a common language and similar ideologies.
Most European countries very strongly want to maintain their separate identities. The only reason there is an EU is for economic and financial benefits. Apart from that - a single country - it will never happen.
I wrote an essay on this topic in 1970 and the comments from the lecturer were that not only were my facts ill-informed but my opinions were ill-informed as well.
07-06-01, 10:45 PM
Knowing you are from Europe, I was especially interested in a European's view of this situation. I pretty much agree that for the most part the EU will remain a economic, and financial group. But with one currency, and a united military doesn't this almost unofficially make it a macro nation, with other countries as "states". I hope this isn't the case, its better to have a lot of small countries versus a few colossal ones.
NEVER SAY NEVER, EVERY TIME HUMANITY DOES, OUR NEARSIGHTEDNESS HAS BIT US BACK.
The EU is a genuine union of disparate identities. They do not want to merge those identities, and there is no good reason to do so. Some will fight very hard, very hard, to defend their individuality. And there is enormous value in safeguarding those differences.
This alliance does share some common interests: International standards, some laws, defense, and economics. These are primarily because they all want to trade with each other, but also want the power to bargain as a block with other world influences, e.g. the USA, Japan, China, etc. But this is not an indication that they want to become married and share their innermost thoughts.
Think of this union like a group of individual people who all live in separate houses but in the same street. They have common interests in terms of say - street cleaning, protection against burglaries, refuge collection, street lighting, maintenance, etc., but they don’t want to be forced to all live in a single large house and lose their individual freedoms. Do you see the comparison?
I have said in other posts that there is a worldwide trend away from large groups and a move towards greater individuality (oh yes, the patriotism thread). In the past we used to have large dominant empires; Roman, Spanish, Dutch, British, USSR, etc., all these have both declined and disappeared and we are now in the situation where none exist.
The trend now is towards geographically located trading blocks. The rise and increasing power of multi-national companies will likely set the trend for the new world economy. Some of these companies like IBM and Microsoft already have annual turnovers in excess of the GNP of some countries. It will be these powerful companies that will determine how the future economy proceeds, and national governments will do their best to seek the help and encourage such companies to invest in their countries.
At the present time the USA is seen as the richest and most powerful country but that will not last too much longer. The US manufacturing industry is becoming sluggish, less efficient and less profitable; consider the rise in market share of Japanese carmakers instead of US. The American psyche is also becoming complacent and slightly arrogant in its attitudes towards other countries. This will be a near fatal mistake.
Russia has a long way to go before its fledgling economic aspirations become truly effective. China on the other hand represents a real economic threat to the USA. As China continues to loosen its grip on personal freedoms and further allows free enterprise, we will see a rapid increase in productivity with a corresponding massive increase in economic trading and industrial power. The Chinese do not currently have the arrogance and apathy of the Americans, and are prepared to work very hard for lower wages. The changes in China will likely reflect the massive change we saw in Japan following WWII.
India has a different problem. They already have one of the largest democracies in the world, but its government has for too long adopted a patriarchal approach to its citizens. In short it doesn’t trust them to look after themselves. Indians are swamped, or more accurately, are drowning in massive bureaucracy. These are forceful disincentives for budding entrepreneurs. In India it can take a year to complete and have the forms processed that are needed to start a new business. In Hong Kong it can be completed in a day. Now compare the affluence of Hong Kong with India. Once India modernizes then it too will become a powerful trading block and it too will challenge the power of the USA. The power of the large multi-nationals will help significantly with these transitions.
So back to your original question: The EU will combine its powers to offer a more powerful trading block but its members will continue to stay independent, and for the reasons I gave earlier. The common currency will help significantly.
Eventually when all the major trading blocks have reached similar trading power and influence then there will be a call for a worldwide currency. By that time I suspect paper money and coins will have disappeared and all financial transactions will be purely electronic. A move at that time to a world wide common currency will be much easier, but it does depend on significantly greater equality between the trading blocks.
Does that help.
PS. As for NEVER – I changed my statements to say Never since for the EU to become a single nation would require changes beyond reason and scope that would effectively nullify the entire European paradigm. So I meant Never. Interestingly I have taught many to never say never, but age and wisdom finds exceptions.
So as a new rule: Never assume that never can never be used.
07-07-01, 01:57 PM
You have a few good points, but as the constant antagonist I have to disagree. The USA will remain powerful, and rich
because of our corporations. This country has produce the richest people and companies of the past hundred years, and I think the trend will continue. With the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), between the US, Canada, and Mexico. In the future, this agreement will fully encompass the ENTIRE western hemisphere. I think the name is CAS, but I don't remember what it stands for. To have an entire hemisphere to trade with, without tariffs, this could potentially make the '90s economic boom look small when the borders fully open.
Weather the world economy is undergoing a long slow down or a short correction is debatable. The economy by 2020 will be three major trading unions sparing between each other. The EU, CAS, and a sort of Pacific Rim alliance. Quality, and substance will matter more to the consumer than mass production and large material usage. Quality, not quantity will become the new rally cry of the consumer against companies.
Living outside of Detroit, I follow the automotive industry pretty closely. Soon Ford Motor Co. will become the #1 automaker, GM will soon be #2. DaimlerCrysler's future remains uncertain, but they haven't hit bottom yet. Many still feel betrayed by the Mercedes take over. The only thing keeping them alive is the Mercedes-Benz profits.
By 2003 or 2004 Ford will buy all of BMW, which includes Bentley and Rolls Royce. Then Ford will own Land Rover, Bentley, Rolls Royce, BMW, Aston Martin. That's almost every European car, excluding Mercedes-Benz. Ford has enough money and connections to push Mercedes to number two. I think this is very likely. Mercedes, didn't admit to merging with Chrysler back in '97, but they did anyway. Ford hasn't admitted to it yet, but they have their eyes on BMW.
Ford has already gone on with setting up contracts and preparing to build new Ford and Mazda factories in China. With millions of potential customers this will increase profits more than can be imagined. Just as Ford put America on the move, they will be putting the Chinese in cars soon.
I have faith in might America. But the future is malleable, it isn't written in stone so either of us could be right or wrong. Only time will tell. I do agree that there will be something close to an electronic world currency, though it won't be completely global. The currency would be used among the richer first world countries. I also agree that there will be more independent countries in the future, I was just wondering if the EU becoming a superstate was possible. I sure hope not.
That predicting the future is a fool's game - but it's so much fun.
But, I can't agree that the US will remain powerful and rich because of its corporations. The corporations are in business for themselve, at times even for their shareholders, but not for the US.
As far as NAFTA, forget it! Again, only the corporations benefit, not the American workers. Remember, it was supposed to create countless new jobs ... but for who? Canada hasn't benefited near as much as Mexico, but then Canade isn't where the low wage, non-unionized labor force is.
Hold on to your faith in America, and I hope it proves out. But as Cris recently pointed out: I'm a cynic and honestly believe that if CAS comes into being, things will be even worse for the American workforce and farmers.
07-07-01, 04:13 PM
We, the United States was in a recession in 1992 and the economy was really quite slow until the boom which happened in 1994-1995. Those from then to 2000 were the most prosperous years in American history. The NAFTA agreement begain was rattified on January 1, 1994. Shorty thereafter, as tarrifs begain to be reduced the economy took off. This made it easier for Mexicans, and Candans to buy more American products, and vice versa. I don't really believe the gripe about NAFTA reducing jobs. If corporations wanted to build jobs in other countries they would have done it with or without tarrifs. Multi-billion dollar corporations aren't that negitivly effected upon by tarrifs to hault job losses. The NAFTA agreement helped for the unprecidented economic boom. The CAS when it becomes a reality, hopefully, will be ratified, and then the entire hemisphere will undergo a rapid economic boom.
I have another problem, I too hope my faith in American industry is correct, and here's why I think it will hold up. We've had a damn good track record about being number one, there are bumps in the road, but these happen every decade. Even during the huge recession of the seventies we still were the richest country. America is the "economic barometer of the world", whats happening here is a general indecator of the world economy. In the eighties when there was an onslaught of Japaneese cars, everyone thought by the mid-nineties for sure Japan would be much more powerful than America. Japan had a recession at the start of the decade and stayed fairly dormant for a few years. They are doing better now, but the world at large is slowing down, because people don't need new computers, or TVs. We bought all that stuff three and four years ago, and it isn't time to be replaced.
Ok good stuff. But you’ve made one critical mistake and have failed to recognize that Ford is one of those key multi-national companies of which I have mentioned several times already. Even though Ford has its origins in the USA the benefits of manufacture do not all go to make the USA wealthy, in fact quite the reverse. Ford have manufacturing plants throughout the world and as it grows its empire by absorbing other companies it will be increasingly seen as a world power in its own right.
The people who benefit the most from a manufacturing plant are the workers who depend on the plant for their income. The USA would only benefit from the expansion of Ford if all the plants were built in the USA and staffed by American workers. But the increasing costs of a workforce that demands higher wages and higher standards of living will cause a move away from those costs to cheaper resources, and typically that means building plants in other countries.
Most of the wealth generated by Ford will go to other countries. Ford and other multi-nationals are not patriotic towards any particular country; their loyalty is to their shareholders, and people in every country of the world own Ford shares.
So do you see the three main components of the encroaching economic world structure: (1) Independent countries, (2) alliances of member countries forming geographical trading blocks, (3) multi-national companies, who have no specific allegiance to any particular trading block or country.
While I am sure you hope the USA will remain wealthy and powerful don’t assume that will continue. History is littered with powerful countries and empires that have risen and fallen, and some have lasted longer than the USA to date. Once complacency and apathy sets in and the assumption that ‘we have made it, we are wealthy’, then that becomes the beginning of the end. Note your own unquestioning assumption about the greatness of the USA. China currently has the largest air force in the world, and there are more Chinese in the world than any other single race. Once their conversion to a free-market economy is complete then every indication is, just based on the sheer weight of numbers, that they are destined to become the next dominant world super-power. The USA will have no option other than to wake-up and compete harder than it has ever done before, or recede into another fallen super power.
07-07-01, 09:09 PM
True Ford doesn't just make the US richer but it makes other countries richer too. But the same is true of Toyota, because there are Toyota plants in the US, and some suppliers of Toyota parts are based in the US. My former reply wasn't designed to say that America will remain number one just because the country is named the United States of America. My intention is to show that I believe that America can compete with any other country, because we are very diverse and have a fairly good track record. Aspiring entrepreneurs still come to America, because this country is pretty good at making people rich, and having ideas come into the light. Plus the freedom bit.
China doesn't worry me as becoming the next superpower. I have a few problems with the PRC. Population is a problem more than a gift. A few reasons why, first, being a primarily socialist system of government the government has to provide schooling, basic necessities, medical care and social security to its one billion people. The US is having problems to find enough cash to let baby boomers retire in ten years. The Chinese government isn't that rich, there are too many people more dependant on the government than we are. This is bogging them down more than I think the heavily secretive Politburo is letting the world know.
Military is a concern but they still have problems. China has been buying hardware from the Russians who are happy to sell. Their air force is pretty outdated, but more importantly they have only a few nuclear powered submarines. We have dozens in the pacific, we also have over a dozen nuclear powered aircraft carriers, as well as Aegis cruisers, frigates, and destroyers. Our navy would kill the PLAN (People's Liberation Army Navy) in a fight, hands down. Army isn't that threatening because the only way we'd be fighting them is if they invaded another country i.e. Taiwan. Just like the Soviets before them, I think they could be burning way too much cash on updating their military, for all we know they are in debt. The CIA thought the USSR wasn't bankrupt in 1981, but we knew they were heading down the road to bankruptcy then.
Having a communist government and a free-market economy won't work well. A free-market economy produces a lot of money, but a commie government eats more money up than it should. I don't think China will be able to curtail rapid spending in the near future.
My last problem with China now, is that I think there is a likelihood of them becoming democratic. This may not occur in the quick way that it did with the Soviet Union, but as generation x and y in China take power, they will have been heavily influenced by Western culture, (specifically American), which has a lot of freedoms. Most young Chinese don't like the government and would prefer to see it become democratic. Communism has been on the down since 1989, it will be completely dead by the time I have children.
Marx and Lenin's idea of a new perfect government didn't work in the almighty USSR, and the Eastern Bloc. Communism destroyed itself, democracy didn't. All democracy did was fill the void left by communism in the free loving hearts of those Russians. Soon this will happen in China.
I have no major problems with your last post. I suspect I am making you think though. I’ll leave you with one important thought. In 1945 Germany was devastated and their people demoralized. Within 20 years they had rebuilt their lives and infrastructure and became the wealthiest and most stable country in Europe, and with the strongest currency. A lot can happen in 20 years.
We are trying to predict the future here, but I suspect we are both hopelessly wrong.
07-09-01, 02:05 PM
This thread has tired me out. Your right, we're probably both wrong in some aspects. The future will throw us a curve ball and make us say, "why didn't I see that earlier?"
Take care too,
I came to this thread late, but it too tired me out just by reading....
I agree with Cris. For the next twenty years, Germany will try to lead in Europe - in the name of common Europe but the Britons will fight it. French will take advantage of this hoping to ride with the German move but have their own agenda. Rest of Europe are mostly followers...
Between 2015 and 2050, China will emerge as the no.1 economic power followed by US, Germany and Japan in that order. Because of brain drain to US is easier than anywhere else on the planet, we will maintain the leadership for a longtime. Once that fresh brain stops coming due to legislation, our decline is sure to follow - which is unlikely. The real threat to US economic supremacy is , believe it or not, Australia. They can quickly emulate US with an open immigration and social policy.
If India's present ambition continues and social changes occur that respects entrepreneur spirit rather than bias towards caste, region and bureaucracy, then they have a chance to come up the ladder close to Korea or Britain.
07-10-01, 05:31 PM
They can't be as rich as the United States or any other Western European country because the government will be oblilgated to give too much to the one billion plus people in China. Being a still very communist state they are probably gonna blow it by spending too much on the military or by getting in a war with Russia or someone else and screwing themselves.
The United States alone will not remain number one, but with all the other countries in the Western Hemisphere will be able to curb any significant economic threat from China. At the height of communism, the USSR and its communist allies controled something comprable to 15 percent of the world's population. With those relitivily large numbers communism crumbled, even where there was a softer socialist government. The communist/socialist state tends to mess up economic developement.
In the early 1960s many thought that the Soviet Union would become the dominate econimic force in the world, and subsequently the pre-eminate world leading superpower. In twenty years their impressive track on the way up was ruined. If they'd continued their sucess they had in the sixties the Cold War would have gone on.
Communism/socialism will fail. The West will remain the leader.
Unless China becomes a democracy soon, it is my firm believe that they will ruin their economy. The PRC has accumulated much more debt than we were ever in and that they'll admit to.
These predicts past and present hold some intresting thoughts but most hearld the truth as being the end of US supremecy. This gets a hell of a lot more attention than saying that the US had more money in its coffers, before our recession than anyother country since the British Empire.
Having spent time in China on business and mingled with their educated middle class in the corporations (...Corporations... - that is what you said...), I totally disagree with your notion that China is going to blow away like Russia.
My first visit was 15 years ago. My first impression still is good today. They have not changed from their path. Wishing their demise will be counterproductive. And Democracy? their argument is, look at what happened to Russia.
But I agree with you...in the long run, they need to go in the path of democracy...to them, it is a necessary evil in the world's oldest sustaining civilization.
07-10-01, 07:27 PM
But I do have a grave fear that if they become even stronger than they are now and remain communist, then the free world will have HUGE problems. A rich nation can pursue its own directions in foreign affairs as it sees fit without too much hassel from other countries (US), which is fine when it is ultimatly in the best intrests for the stability of the region, and the well being of the countries' people. Imagine if the US was communist right now, all of those countries we have built since the end of the cold war would be communist.
If China becomes a even more potent economic country than they could begin to prop up pro communist governments in the former Soviet republics, Pakistan, or India, the Phillipeans, Indonesia, and try to re-take Taiwan. There is too much evil China would commit with adequate cash, that could buy them a damn good military. I am afraid of a rich Communist China, not a richer Democratic China. I would think that by the time I have children (at my present rate we may land on Pluto :) ) democracy's seeds will have blossimed in China. Freedom is what most young Chinese want, and I think they may eventually get it
P.S. Sry for any bad spelling, too lazy to check.
07-10-01, 07:29 PM
A good book about our current debate is "The Bear and the Dragon," by Tom Clancy. If you haven't read it, it has a lot to do with American involvment with a more hardline future China, and a war between the PRC and Russia. I don't want to give any more away, plus the All Star Game starts in a half hour.
When one forces ones ideology on others, be that communist, Democracy, Christianity or Talliban - it always invites trouble.
For those of us who believe in Christianity, it is our hope that everybody become one - who can deny LOVE of God and so on. But to force the issue and say that these non-christians do not have freedom, will go to hell and therefore we must withold our support any shape or form will put us back to the dark ages...
Your concerns are not justified with respect to China. Yes, they will learn gradually that our way is a better way for their citizens. But forcing the issue will only drive them to be proud. Japan is not really a democracy, how come no body complains that? And soon they will change their flag color to blue and change the political party name to Republic party (Peoples Republic). Then will have a token opposition to satisfy pressure from US.
You get the point....
I have the book. Everybody in my family read it except me - because I read a lot of non-fiction business and technical books. I will start it tonight. - THANKS
07-11-01, 04:28 PM
I've never heard that the Chinese were gonna change the flag to blue, and rename themselves the Republic Party of China. Name changes aside, communism is the most evil form of government, equal with facism. Communism has always abused its citizens, and infringed upon their basic human rights. Democracy has problems, but communism and socialsim have much worse problems than democracy, when the democracy is lead by decent leaders.
Japan has a democratic styled government, I think you were refering to their existing monarchy, with the future Emperess. The UK and other countries have monarchie's but they don't govern the country. Technically a full on democracy is where the citizens directly vote and choose what actions the state as a whole should make. The US isn't a full blown democracy. We are actually a representive republic, in which the people elect leaders to make decisions for them.
I'm happy that you'll be starting that book soon.
So many replies, so little time...
07-22-01, 12:42 PM
No. The union of european countries is a fallacy. I am an Englishman, I was born in England. I consider myself English. Traditionally, we and the French have hated each other for eons. The fact that we had to liberate their country in WW2, with our American Allies, still galls them. We, as a nation, are actually closer to the Germans. Hitler never wanted to fight us, he always hoped we would side with him against Communism. The Italians, I believe, are nobodys friends, as are the Spanish and the Greeks. The Austrians and Swiss I would say, are predominantly neutral. I do not consider myself European, never will. I refuse to have to EU flag on my registration plate on my car. I would prefer it if my passport was English, but it appears that all are now "european" in design. YUK! Economically nowadays, we are probably closer to the Americans than to Europe but we have a "wimpish" parliament who are too scared to tell Europe to "go to hell".
Hello Red Devil:
Thanks for the background info. If you read my first posting (Page 1), we will see that I predict Germany will dominate the EU. Not at first, but sooner than you think. Now, you have two choices: Either join the Germans and control the Union or separate yourself and join the US to be part of USA like Hawaii. The third option like going your own way will not work.
So, What it is going to be?
07-23-01, 02:14 PM
I don't think Britian will become part of the US in any form, unless the EU becomes very agressive and violtile to the UK. In the near future this seems to be unlikely. In the future there will be more independent countries, but I believe large regions, even hemispheres of the world will be allied under the same ideology, religion and prodominatly free trade zones.
P.S. Welcome Red Devil, you'll enjoy Scifourms a lot. Its nice to see a European perspective to things. Britian is the US's boy, we like you guys. :D I hope you enjoy your membership, thanks for replying to my post.
07-23-01, 06:49 PM
Curly: On a lighter note, I once wrote a limerick regarding the German's economic strength in Europe and their wish to "run" things:
The Germans in both the world wars
Tried to give us British what for
We put paid to their folly
The Germans said "Golly!"
Lets try it through the back door
Which brings to mind a trueism: "Many a true word spoken in jest":rolleyes: :rolleyes:
07-23-01, 06:54 PM
Kmguru (welcome!) Britains 3 Choices?
Hmmm, Interesting hypothesis! Given the choice of the 3 I personally would plumb for the Americans; our natural closest allies. However, the choice of going it alone is not quite true in our case, we could realign ourselves with the Commonwealth (which is where we should have stayed anyway). Our trade, in my own opinion, would probably have been better and our seafaring traditions (not to mention our delapidated docks) would have been preserved. Most of our dockland has now vanished into maritime museums, luxury homes/flats, and useless domes!:rolleyes:
07-23-01, 07:01 PM
Can someone better explain to me the Commonwealth of Nations, and give me a bit of a personal perspective, which is lacking in an Enclopedia. Thanks a lot, I'm anxious to see Red Devil's response.
Hey if the UK wanted to join the US, that would be a welcomed alliance. None of the US citizens would mind. The Brits are the Yank's boys. We stick together in most cases.
07-23-01, 07:06 PM
Cris - if you go back to 1970 you would also find that not only your teacher was blind but so were governments. I agree with you 100%, as with the USA having miriads of different cultures so to does Europe. But the essential difference between the USA and Europe is that we actually "fight" each other every so often!! Two World Wars; Kosovo; Bosnia; Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia; East Germany (1953) need I go on? Living together, as one - not a chance! Even this economic union is a myth - each wants what is best for their own country irrespective of what is written down in this or that treaty. Stronger governments getting their way. Our current "socialist" government, in the election prior to this years, promised a referendum of the people regarding the joining of the Euro Monetary System. Since elected, public opinion being above 80% against; they are now saying, "Never mind - we will do it anyway" - whatever the people say. Some democracy? For the same reason, we will never get a referendum of Capital Punishment - the result would NOT go the way "reformists" wish.
07-23-01, 07:23 PM
Phew! Now you got me Curly! What is the "Commonwealth of Nations". I may have to do some referring here. The old British Empire, which was the biggest Empire ever, spanning 25% of the populated planet, eventually dissolved into the Commonwealth. Whereby all the old empire countries, gaining self rule, stayed tied to the Motherland economically, with the Queen still a "sort of ruler". But in name only; she attends and opens the Commonwealth Conferences which are held on a regular basis. Now to go look for something in writing! Do you recall the recent failed attempt by Australia to declare itself a Republic? The populace voted against. Narrowly, but nevertheless against. OK- my source is MacMillans Encyclopedia published in 1981. Quote: "A loose association of 41 independent states once subject to the imperial government of the UK; established in 1931 promoting autonomy, equality, common allegiance to the Crown. I wont run through the member states - too long - Commonwealth Heads of State meet every 2 years. HQ is at Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London. Head of this (in 1981) was a Guyanese gent called Shridath Ramphal. A Commonwealth Institute exists in Holland Park, London, which promotes Commonwealth interests. Does that help in your question?:)
07-23-01, 07:46 PM
Intersting, yeah that helped. As for Cris, a native Brit, he's on vactation for the next two weeks, so good luck getting a reply.
Do most Europeans, Brits in particular, want capital punishment, i.e. the death penalty. It seems that when McVeigh was killed that the cable news networks reported that all europeans were against the death penality. Are we barbarians, or administers of a proper sentence?
07-24-01, 10:21 AM
I rather think that this should be the subject of a new topic completely. But, in answer to your question: I think that here in the UK, the majority of people would like to see the return of the Death Penalty (probably, at a guess about 70%) but, the politicians know best!!! (oh yeah?) and the "pressure groups" get the publicity not Joe Public. These pressure groups think they speak for majorities, but in fact they do not; as is usual with most pressure groups. As for Europe in general - I would suspect that about 55% - 65% of the general european population(s) would be in favour. We are not barbarians, the perpetrator is the barbarian; we are the "cleaner-uppers"; to put a butcher/murderer into prison for life, feeding him, clothing him, giving him lifes lil comforts and of course the expense to the public - that is barbaric!
PS: How long do I remain a "junior" member in here?
You have to post more than 100 posts to get a promotion.
07-24-01, 12:35 PM
Well, contrary to the Red Devil's opinion, I would say that attitudes to capital punishment in Europe, and the UK specifically, are more considered than in the US. While it may be true that snap polls suggest a majority in this country is in favour, there is little public clamour for the re-introduction of the death penalty - it's simply a non-issue in election campaigns. Difficult to say what opinion in Europe as a whole is, I would be reluctant to put a figure on it given the lack of any evidence, but believe that the 55% - 65% quoted in favour is rather high. Not wanting to drag a World Affairs post into the rights and wrongs of state execution, I also think that opinion in the UK is shaped to a large extent by the understanding that an imperfect legal system means that innocent citizens will, at some point, be executed - and that is inexcusable.
To get back to the broader political issues, I am surprised at the fear and reactionary attitudes expressed in the thread. Fear of China, fear of German domination, dislike of the French. There is a difference between appropriate vigilance and irrational fear.
There is a difference between appropriate vigilance and irrational fear.
True, but isn't it often the case that irrational fears are the sole basis for political decisions? Ex. The U.S. position with regard to Cuba.
Welcome aboard. Pleasant to see a literate post.
07-25-01, 05:39 AM
Thanks for the welcome.
I agree that a number of political decisions are based on irrational fears, but would argue that the US position on Cuba is different. I don't think that the US policy of isolating Cuba is based on fear any longer - irrational or not. Initially, when Castro rose to power then, yes, you could say that the US was responding to the threat of communism spreading into their own backyard (an irrational fear in my view). But I think now the continued US isolation of Cuba is more complex. Habit, punishment for perceived defeats at the hands of the Cubans (Bay of Pigs etc.) and, perhaps most importantly, domestic issues are now in the ascendant. Pressure groups and the important Cuban vote in south Florida have a big impact on US foreign policy on Cuba.
Where irrational fears are most prominent (and closest to home) are in the debate surrounding the UK signing up to the European currency. There are economic arguments for why this shouldn't happen, but the anti-Euro argument is most prominently expressed in emotive, nationalistic terms that have little basis in fact. French domination. German domination. Splitting with the US. Loss of the queen's head on the pound.
This dream of a UK Singapore is simply not going to happen. And while the polls (never trust them myself) show an anti-Euro sentiment, importantly a large majority (70% in a recent ICM poll) view it as inevitable. I believe the growing feeling of inevitability means the arguments, when fully articulated, should off-set the knee-jerk fear response. I hope so anyway. But I'm sure you could take a look at country after country and find a foreign policy based on fear (and, consequently, ignorance). Iran, Libya, China - all qualify to one degree or other I would say. Any thoughts?
Red Devil asked when his Junior Member status would change. Unless things have altered it will change to member at around 30 posts.
I would also like to take this oppurtunity to welcome Captain Canada to the forums. I wish you many fine posts.
Was enjoying your post and the clear enunciation of your position ... until I got to:
But I'm sure you could take a look at country after country and find a foreign policy based on fear (and, consequently, ignorance). Would it not be the other way around? Ignorance resulting in fear?
Although I can understand the monied class trembling at the thought of Communism, or even Socialism, what bothers me most is that the 'public', the workers, equally fear them even though there may be nothing to fear. The saddest example, after Cuba, that comes to mind is Vietnam. A country that hoped to shed it's colonial status after having fought against the Japanese (when France had capitulated) only to find France attempting to re-establish it's colonial hold ... and with the support of the United States!
Ah, yes! The 'domino effect' - that ugly beast. Except that after the Japanese had surrendered, Vietnam formed a democratic government, elected Ho as it's President, and even modeled it's Constitution on the Constitution of the United States ... A county supposedly dedicated to freedom.
Vietnam, a country to 'fear'? The madness of it all.
07-25-01, 01:11 PM
Thanks Red Devil, its a 100 posts to become a senior member. That'll take you a month or two to get if your on here pretty regularly.
07-25-01, 01:35 PM
Apologies for the sloppiness of the fear/ignorance statement. I did mean that a policy based on fear is in essence one based on ignorance. That old cliche that we fear that which we don't understand is, I think, quite true.
We are in agreement over Vietnam - a tragic and rather wasteful example of where the US' fear of communism can lead. Of course, the complexities of Cold War politics have many strands. What drives Eisenhower to support the same policy as Nixon, Kissenger or McNamara will not always be the same - Gore Vidal puts the blame on a (semi) organised attempt to maintain the US on a constant war footing for the benefit of the (hate to use the phrase) military-industrial complex. But at base I think fear of communism is at the root of it all.
Cuba could so easily have been another Vietnam. Again, a government was initially formed under Castro that looked towards the US for aid and support in building a new country in the wake of Batista. The US turns its back on Castro, the USSR steps in...and it's bomb shelters in the afternoon in 1962.
And now, to a far lesser extent, we have Iran. The mere name raises cries of 'terrorism' and 'fanaticism' in the US, as I understand it. Yet Iran is probably the most democratic country in the middle east with a reformist government attempting to battle a conservative religious leadership and judiciary in a fight for the future of the country. The US could help Khatemi, but chooses not to. Why? Fear of Islam. Is Iran really to be feared? Could hostility towards the US be reduced by a concilliatory gesture? I understand that memories of the US Embassy hostage crisis are still strong, but I think the country has been unfairly castigated more recently.
I could go on, but I think I'm in danger of losing the thread, and probably boring the readers. A couple of interesting thoughts (that could be new threads):
Does the US have anything to fear from Islam?
Is Kyoto the first serious challenge by the EU to US moral leadership?
The Kyoto issue is being discussed in another thread, you are welcome to comment:
07-25-01, 02:02 PM
Call me a pesimest if you want, we're gonna be in deep sh** the next decade. The seeds of war and hatred are being sewen now because of our super right wing President, his administration, and the lack of giving in this country.
I wrote a similiar post in World Affairs & Politics, entitled "Bush Pisses Me Off", you can guess what thats about. This next decade is going to be the equivlent of foreign policy in the 1930s. We all know what happened September 1, 1939. Six years, 50 million lives because we didn't step for nearlyTHREE years.
I HATE THIS PRESIDENT. I'm running for office next time. Screw the age limitation!
07-29-01, 09:04 AM
Dislike of the French is nothing new - they dislike the English just as much. German "domination" is also nothing new - the Germanic person ("Teutonic") always wants to be top dog! Oh by the way - and a welcome from me too! Personally I have one or two French Friends and some German friends - I am speaking about these people as a nation.....
07-29-01, 09:11 AM
I, for one, have never understood the US intransigence over Cuba. It is about time that the USA recognised the Government in Havana, after all, it has been there 50 years! But, on the other hand, some poor Congressman/Senator in Florida would vehemently argue the toss on that, he would lose so many votes amongst Cuban exiles!!:rolleyes: Politics!!
The intransigence of the United States was there long before there was a large, monied and vocal, Cuban population in Florida.
Out of curiousity: Can you name a single socialist/communist attempt to overthrow a repressive government that was supported by the United States in the past century?
07-29-01, 03:45 PM
eeek! Is that a Catch 22 question, I would, off the top of my head, say none........:rolleyes:
07-29-01, 05:35 PM
Castro will be dead in ten years, then they'll be democratic more than likely. Communism has ruined Cuba.
The United States embargo and pressure on European countries not to trade with Cuba did that. We're the big kahoona and can do it, no matter how irrational.
07-29-01, 07:17 PM
I'm unscribing to all my threads. I've got a problem and need to take some more time to myself. I'll participate in scifourms sometime next week.
Don't worry I'll be fine, and as ready to argue.
I just need some time to think things over.
Just in case you haven't read today's London Times:
Kind of in keeping with my feeling on the subject we were discussing.
07-30-01, 08:49 AM
Chagur - ouch! I bet that article embarrassed the State Dept in the US no end:eek:
As would many other "state secrets". And the US has no monopoly on this. Most governments have that to hide and would rather you did not know just how involved they have been in shifting things more to their liking.
Congrads, abit late, on your 300th post Chagur.
What can I say except ...
Better late than never.
Hey Red Devil: How about the CIA?
04-23-13, 04:22 PM
some kind of stronger federation will take place in the next decade,for if it does not then europe esp western europe will sink to what we now think of as third world status,yes we trade national status for at least some kind of protection,
social unrest is a real threat,to be poor is bad, but to be poor after being rich is worse,fall of living standards. in conjuntion with reduced opportunity, leads to social dislocation. unless sport and entertainment can keep a population docile. also interesting that companies are across borders, but unions are restricted from doing so ??