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02 April 2015

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Eric Dönges

The "European Law-and-Order Union" (love that name !) is irrelevant in global politics. The EU has no common foreign policy, and won't have one for the forseeable future. None of its members can challenge the U.S. individually, not even symbolically. The U.S. opinion on Iran is the only one that matters.

Valissa

Babak, you know the main reasons why... that's like asking why do vassals stay vassals? Because they believe the benefits of this status outweigh the negatives. What would happen to Spain or Germany or any EU country if it decided it wanted to opt out of NATO? Is that even a conceivable thought for them? What would happen to the budgets of EU countries if they had to be responsible for supporting the type of military needed by an "independent" nation? What would happen to all the social benefits programs these countries have if they had to compete against a greater need for money to be spent on upgrading their military capability? How would any European politician sell that to their electorate?

On the other hand I totally take your point, which you make often in the midst of the silence of the Europeans commenting here on their government and elite complicity in US actions via NATO, the IMF, etc. It takes little thought or energy to complain about US behaviors, so many are blatantly "wrong" in terms of the types of ethics and morality most people espouse. I would enjoy hearing our non-American commenters thoughtfully criticize their own government's pro-war behaviors and explain to us Americans how their politics plays into and supports ours, and why their countries are sucking up to the US. I would find that interesting and useful to know.

Please note, that I am not at all anti-European, my mom is still a Danish citizen. I love many things about the various European cultures! I'm attempting to take a neutral objective stance on evaluating power dynamics. I'm interested in HOW the world works and why, not how it SHOULD work.

confusedponderer

True, Bosnia and Kosovo are FUBAR and would wither quickly absent EU/NATO tutelage and financing.

Whatever else the US got out of Kosovo, they certainly got the base that they wanted - Camp Bondsteel. Probably for the US the Kosovo war was to a good extent about controlling energy flows from Central Asia into Europe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Bondsteel
http://www.army-technology.com/projects/campbondsteel/

What Germany did in Kosovo was to allow itself be deputised by the US for a war the US wanted. I have a hunch that Schröder, though he'd never admit that, eventually noticed that, and that is why he and Fischer opposed the Iraq war. Bush 43 was much easier man to reject than Clinton - after all a fellow new-lefty.

Eric Dönges

Matthew,

I would argue the real problem is that being American apparently means never having to say you are sorry or taking any responsibility for your actions. Why not bomb whoever you want if you're never going to have to pay for it ?

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

You ask what would EU states do without US?

They can stand on their own two feet; like Cuba, or Vietnam, or Iran, or India or South Africa.

They can create a Pan-European Force, something that Giscard was advocating....

Babak Makkinejad

There is no agreement that I can see.

Eric Dönges

Valissa,

in the case of Germany, it is very simple. Germany relies on the U.S. for its security. This would not change even if the German army was not the sad joke it is today, because Germany has no nuclear weapons. A more unified (politically) EU could take the U.S.'s place, but I don't see that happening any time soon.

And to be fair, the U.S. was a dependable ally during the Cold War. In fact, without U.S. support German reunification probably wouldn't have happened against the opposition of our supposed allies France and the UK.

And finally, for a lot of (West)Germans being pro-US is an article of faith they grew up with. It's going to take a lot more than bombing some country nobody cares about to shake that faith.

Al Spafford

Bush, the Lesser, donned the Navy flight suit when claiming "victory" on the aircraft carrier!! lol

Cee

CP,

Great news. Sadly I don't trust our allies to allow a successful resolution.

Babak Makkinejad

"... a lot more than bombing some country nobody cares about to shake that faith...."

Precisely.

So let us then agree that we are all attached emotionally to this or that cause or set of ideas with no empirical basis in Reality and try to minimize our frictions as well as our interactions.

Iranians cover themselves in mud to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein and Germans can go to Yad wa Shim and express eternal remorse.

Lufthansa does not need to fly to Tehran and Iran Air does not need to maintain flights to London.

turcopolier

CP
"Probably for the US the Kosovo war was to a good extent about controlling energy flows from Central Asia into Europe." So, the US has Bondsteel there so that we can cut of energy supplies from the East to those in Europe who do not do our bidding? CP, you are beginning to sound like a cheap movie plot. pl

turcopolier

Babak

No. It is a successful Zionist IO. pl

confusedponderer

Probably I just read too much Zbigniev Brezinski.

kao_hsien_chih

BM,

Some years ago, there was a book that looked at the patterns of translation industry, and the observation the author made was that hardly any book is translated directly from one language to another, unless one of the two is English. If a book was originally written in, say, Arabic, it would only be translated to, say, Chinese only if it were translated first into English. The reason is that while many Chinese know English well enough to translate effectively, very few Chinese know Arabic well enough to translate--and good translation requires far more than just linguistic expertise, as many of us here can probably attest. (Yes, there are significant exceptions, but on the whole, the dominant intermediary role of English holds true over vast majority of written material beyond its native language.) This means that whatever that does not draw the interest of Anglophone audiences will not even reach the eyes of the Japanese readers.

I imagine that this goes much more than just translation. Many European elites (as well as, presumably, many Latin American and East Asian elites) are essentially Anglocentric in the worldview: they get their sense about how the rest of the world works and what other "important people around the world" think about them from CNN, BBC, or NYT. To the degree that these Anglophone elites, intentionally or not, control what information flows to the monolingual masses (and even if they are multilingual, how many of them know, say, Arabic and who's who in the ME well enough that they can follow what's going on directly?), the significant anglophone bias in much of the world that is not directly connected to the events seems inevitable.

confusedponderer

And you are probably right, the decision to build Camp Bondsteel may just have been opportunistic and does not neccessarily suggest initial motives to that end.

I reckon that one of the key problems with the US is that people tend to tread plans into what just may be uncoordinated or opportunistic actions - because there HAS to be a plan somwehere.

Matthew

ED: I was basically describing why our politicians like to fixate on foreign policy. The diffusion of responsibility is a real problem.

"Why not bomb whoever you want if you're never going to have to pay for it?"

The sad fact is that only defeated powers apologize.

Babak Makkinejad

Thanks you for your comments.

You might very well be right.

I know that there is a vast amount of scholarship on Chinese history in Japanese; none of it translated to any other language.

And I think India, Pakistan, Bangladesh - as examples - are hopelessly Anglophone as well as Anglophile (and not Americophile).

Arabs, when they do translate something, it is almost always from either of two languages - English and to a lesser extent French.

Babak Makkinejad

Did Japan?

turcopolier

CP

"... because there HAS to be a plan somewhere." No, US actions are usually based on no overall plan at all. pl

LeaNder

Babak, admitting nothing, not fond of any "nuclear security blankets" either. Hard core pessimist, maybe, concerning the larger interest and power brokers.

But pleased about events in Lausanne.

Eric Dönges

"So let us then agree that we are all attached emotionally to this or that cause or set of ideas with no empirical basis in Reality and try to minimize our frictions as well as our interactions."

I don't think that is a good idea. Less interactions just makes it easier for the warmongers to whip up fear of the other. And considering the ease of travel and communication today, I don't think it's a feasible idea anyway even if it where a good one. I'm afraid we're all going to have to learn to be less insecure about other people not believing the same nonsense we do.

LeaNder

dg, give me one that was targeted for his possession post WWII so far?

BabelFish

To the shores of Tripoli. American frigates did well in that dust up.

Eric Dönges

"I was basically describing why our politicians like to fixate on foreign policy. The diffusion of responsibility is a real problem. "

But they don't. Your politicians are completely fixated on domestic policy, viewing any foreign policy question only in how it can be exploited for their own domestic gain (or used against them by their political enemies). As Colonel Lang has repeatedly pointed out over the years, the result is that the U.S. doesn't have a coherent foreign policy.

"The sad fact is that only defeated powers apologize."

True.

confusedponderer

Can you imagine what a disappointment it was when - after the gulf war - when it turned out that the US had no plan to take over all that oil?

After Cheney's super secret Oil Task Force escapade I was persuaded that the US had an inkling that peak oil was coming, and was going to seize as much as it could get as long as the getting eas good and then?

These clowns invaded Iraq only to wait for spontaneous order to re-emerge from then ashes of their bombing, and Cheney only kept the task force agenda secret on principle. Ther was nothing to hide, he just didn't want to disclose it!

Highly dissapointing, to say the least.

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