Monday, December 05, 2005

The Hell

Europe bites the hand that freed them:

As the American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, arrives in Europe, it is instructive to look at the areas where her country's interests clash with those of the EU. They fall into six broad categories: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Israel, China and what one might loosely call "supra-nationalism" - that is, the power of the UN, the Kyoto process, the International Criminal Court and so on. These disputes are not unrelated; they are linked by a common ideological thread.

In each case, the United States is pro-democracy, the EU pro-stability.

In Cuba, Brussels has withdrawn its support for anti-Castro dissidents. In Iran, the EU has pursued a decade-long policy of "constructive engagement" with the ayatollahs. In Iraq, with a few exceptions, Europeans were horrified at the notion of toppling a tyrant by force. In European capitals, unlike in Washington, Israel's status as the region's only democracy is not seen as meritorious.

In China, the EU has not only announced its intention to lift the arms embargo on Beijing, but is also actively collaborating with the Communists on a satellite system called Galileo, designed to challenge what Jacques Chirac calls the "technological imperialism" of America's GPS.

And, when it comes to international bodies, the US is almost alone in taking the view that elected politicians are more legitimate than global technocrats and human-rights lawyers.

This difference in approach was, as it were, encoded in the DNA of the two organisations. The US was born out of a revolt against autocratic government.

The EU, by contrast, was a reaction against the pre-war plebiscitary democracy which, in its patriarchs' eyes, had led to fascism and conflict. Its leaders believe to this day that states are better run by experts than by populist politicians and, just as they apply that belief to their own institutions, so they extend it to other continents.

Indeed, the distinction between the two unions can be inferred from the opening words of their founding charters:

the American Constitution begins "We, the people";

the Treaty of Rome begins "His Majesty the King of the Belgians".

Wow, what a beautiful tradition they've got going there. It really is time for a revolution in Europe.