Demonstrations shocked politicians

Paul Flewers hatchet.job at virgin.net
Wed Feb 19 15:54:41 MST 2003


The business of Chirac's attack on the pro-US Eastern European leaders is
fascinating, and shows the tensions within the European Union.

I reckon that the East European states have been offered EU membership as a
means of countering the growing US influence in East Europe through the
recruitment of many of them to Nato. Nato membership costs the USA little,
and is therefore cheap influence. To counter this, the Western European EU
states can only increase their influence by inviting them into the EU, and
this is expensive, as these at best impoverished countries with obsolete
industry and agriculture will take a lot to bail out. Governments that are
iffy about Washington's war will obviously get annoyed that the new EU
recruits are showing their thanks by... siding with the USA. (The USA also
knows that this bailing out will slow down economic recovery in Western
Europe, and thereby delay the EU from becoming a real rival of the USA.) The
new EU recruits are also amongst the most staunch supporters of the USA over
Iraq; they have been effectively bought off. Many of these governments
signed a pro-US letter along with Blair and the premiers of Italy and
Spain -- other EU state heads did not know about this letter until it was
released. Whilst there is quite a bit of angry paternalism and big-nation
superiority in Chirac's outburst, there is also the feeling that candidate
members of a club should not start sticking their noses into the running of
the club until they are full members. It's possible that these ungrateful
probationary members may have to wait a few more years before they get full
EU membership.

I don't take sides in this dog-fight between a bunch of hopeful
neo-capitalist riff-raff in Eastern Europe and older established bourgeois
gangsters in Western Europe. But it is fun to see them slagging each other
off.

Paul F



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