The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Friday, December 17, 2004


              Powerful Europe?
Timothy Garton Ash tries to show that Europe, by expanding and bringing in new members, is as powerful, and possibly in some ways more powerful than the United States and that therefore it needs to be taken seriously by the United States. Undoubtedly the EU needs to be taken seriously. But in the course of making this argument Ash puts forward a number of assertions that are simply wrong.

The first is that by admitting Turkey into the EU, Europe would be making a large contribution to the War on Terror.
The most immediate challenge, of course, is terrorism. And one could make a strong case that the European Union's agreement to open membership negotiations with Turkey will be a bigger contribution to winning the war on terrorism than the American-led occupation of Iraq.

Ash concludes by saying
"The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom," President Bush has said. Yet by overlooking the true dimensions of European power, America is failing to recognize the potential of what could be its greatest ally in the most hopeful project of our time: the advancement of liberty around the world.


Iraq is now a bloody playground for existing groups of Islamist terrorists - and probably a breeding ground for new ones. The European Union's offer to Turkey, by contrast, sends a clear signal that Europe is not an exclusive "Christian club," that the West is engaged in no crusade, and that a largely Islamic society can be reconciled not only with a secular state but also with the rules and customs of modern liberal democracy.
I highly doubt that Osama and his supporters would care whether Turkey is admitted into the EU or not. To them, Turkey, whether in the EU or not, is even more evil than the US. Their goal is the establishment of the Caliphate on all lands that once belonged to Islam - parts of Europe included.

He goes on to make a statement regarding European power that is simply wrong.
Robert Kagan describes the difference between America and Europe as the difference between power and weakness - American power, that is, and European weakness. This description is sustainable only if power is measured in terms of military strength. In the way that some American conservatives talk about the European Union, I hear an echo of Stalin's famous question about the Vatican's power: how many divisions does the pope have? But the pope defeated Stalin in the end. This attitude overlooks the dimensions of European power that are not to be found on the battlefield.
The pope defeated Stalin?? If he means by this analogy that soft power defeated the Soviet Union, he is completely wrong. It was not the soft power of engagement and negotiation that defeated the Soviet Union, but the hard power of a military build-up. More importantly, soft power is powerless without the threat of hard power behind it.

He goes on to say that the power of the EU,

is a fourth dimension - one that the United States wholly lacks. It is the power of induction. Put very simply: the European Union is getting bigger, and the United States is not. Haiti cannot hope to follow Hawaii into the American union, and even an American territory like Puerto Rico faces resistance in becoming the 51st state. But Ukraine can hope to follow Poland into the European Union.
But the ability to attract new members and new immigrants is not necessarily a positive; More important is who you are attracting. And it is in this that Ash leaves out the main problems of Europe - a large and growing unassimilated mass of uneducated and unemployed immigrants. Unlike the US, which attracts people who want to work, Europe attracts those who want to live on the public dole. In taking in so many immigrants from North Africa and the Arab world, the EU is facing a crisis, one that it is only now opening its eyes to. (The most popular name for newborn boys in the Netherlands is Mohammed). Europe is also facing an economic crisis tied not just to immigration, but to the aging population and the welfare state that has been built up. These will undoubtedly detract form Europe's power going forward.

Ash concludes by saying
"The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom," President Bush has said. Yet by overlooking the true dimensions of European power, America is failing to recognize the potential of what could be its greatest ally in the most hopeful project of our time: the advancement of liberty around the world.
Yet in its refusal to support the US in Iraq, in its support for Arafat and his cronies, and in its utter impotence in Bosnia and now Darfur, the EU has shown that it is not interested in the "advancement of liberty around the world", only in its own narrow interests.
|| Nudnik 3:14 PM
                            |
Listed on BlogShares