Thursday, January 30, 2003
Nice contrast of headlines from today's Jerusalem Post:
Britain calls up reservists for possible Iraq war
France, Syria coordinate efforts to avert Iraq war
And that letter from Havel, Blair, and the rest of the European periphery was pretty compelling. The EU project is coming apart. The core - France, Germany, the BeNeLux - wants to balance the U.S. as a rival power. The periphery - Britain, Spain, Italy, the ex-Eastern Bloc countries - wants a strong relationship with the U.S., primarily in order to balance Franco-Germany!
The main question is: what happens to this pattern after the next German elections? France is the mirror image of Britain. In Britain, a leader from the Left is governing from the Center, and the Center supports a strong alliance with the U.S. If the Tories ever revived, you'd expect an even warmer alliance, and a cooler relationship between Britain and Europe. In France, meanwhile, a leader from the Right is governing from the Center, and the Center thinks that France is best served by balancing the U.S., not allying with it. A Socialist President would only be worse, not better. Now what about Germany? Schroeder had been something of a Centrist, someone the U.S. felt comfortable working with. Fischer, the Green Foreign Minister, was downright friendly, talking about the U.S. as a model for Europe and so forth. But he took a sharp turn to the anti-American Left, and it helped him win an election he emphatically deserved to lose. Does that tell us where the German "Center" is? Will the CDU, after they win the next elections, also choose the historic Franco-German alliance over the historic American-German alliance?