Sunday, December 18, 2005

Europe worried about the US, a post war thing?

In a fascinating excerpt from L’Apocalpse de Notre Temps, by Henri Rollin (no relation I am sure), the Transatlantic Intelligencer brings us this. The setting is a boat of Norway, the date is July 1901, and the speaker is Kaiser Wilhelm II, Kaiser Bill himself,
"The Americans: a vital question for the future of Europe and the world…. It takes precedence over all other questions and leaves all merely European disagreements in the shadows. Their [“the Americans”] meddling in European affairs is closer than one generally thinks. The idea of a European Zollverein [customs union] will become indispensable. The sooner the better. Every question or problem of a European power vis-à-vis the United States becomes a European question, a European problem, a European matter of interest. Thus, it will be necessary that the attitude of England becomes clear and explicit. England will have to choose sides…"

Another at the table confirmed this,
"The need to form in the future a European Zollverein, a “customs league” against the United States…, in order to safeguard the interests and guarantee the liberty of the commerce of the continent to the detriment of the development of America…. In such a case, England would be required without delay to choose between two clearly opposed policies: either adhere to the bloc and place itself on the side of Europe against the United States or come to an understanding with the latter against the continental powers".

No I know it seems a bit redundent to point this out, but I think that it bears repeating that the answer to that question is pretty clear, twice in the last hundred years. But of course just like the Constinentals and their response to referenda answers, we are being asked the question again. I hope and pray that we stick to our previous answer, for our good, and the good of the world.

I think William Pitt said it,
"Let us hope that England, having saved herself by her energy, may save Europe by her example".


John Barnes said...

I have just finished reading Jon Meacham's book "Franklin and Winston." OK, but hardly revelatory to anyone with more than a passing interest in the most crucial friendship of the 20th century.

What stood out to me was Churchill's constant invocation of an Anglo-American union of some sort as the ultimate goal of both countries' politics. This was not simply wartime nostalgia, but something he appears to have held to until the end of his life.

Such a union, it seems to me, makes far more sense than the artificial and doomed-to-fail experiment in which Britain is no engaged with the EU. A few years ago, you might recall, Conrad Black proposed Britain's joining the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as an alternative to ongoing EU strife.

A flawed messenger does not mean a flawed message. The idea has merit, and is likely there for the asking if only Britain would grasp it. If David Cameron is seeking a true alternative policy, this would be one worth exploring that - in this Yank' opinion - would find favor with the bulk of the British people.

Anonymous said...

The bigger problem is that Britain, as it once was, and all its institutions, its history, and its way of life is being disassembled.

Without wishing to seem to be horrible in language, or nature, You'd need enough Britons, Tories, English people, and people with some kind of Pro American view, to begin to consider joining the US in some formation.

The bigger issue now is that to do so, given the level of opposition you'd see from Socialists, immigrants, and the no little armada of Guardian readers, Independant readers, Liberals, Pro euros and others, would seem to me to be unlikely.

One can only look on in a fairly unpleasant focus at what is left.

There is no 'England'. There is no nation state or people now to look for answers, that has been shattered by our enemies.

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Aunty Marianne said...

I've heard this argument rehearsed many times and I still have the same reaction. I want Britain to look west, and at the same time, be fully participative in Europe. And I don't see why it can't be the case. I even think it's in Britain, the USA and Europe's interests to have some member states close to the USA, just as it has been profitable and enlightening to welcome Eastern European countries that understand Russia, and just as it will be profitable and enlightening to welcome Turkey. We act as hinges holding the global world together.

I hate having to choose and I don't see why the Brits should just because the Kaiser, who was barking mad and pathologically scared of the Slav, thought we would have to. Churchill certainly didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

Britain must (and wants to) choose the world. If the Eurowreck makes us choose between them and the rest of the world.

49erDweet said...

I tend to agree more with aunty marianne's POV. From my readings and minor travels in the UK I suspect little support exists amongst what's left of Great Britain to joining something with an exlusive western, or American, tilt. Five or so decades of slanted "news reporting" from the 'beeb' have pretty well insured that ship has sailed.

But it does make economic and political sense to "keep their options open" by maintaining close ties with the whole world, as much as is possible.

The Euro-phycos will always ask Brits to "make a choice". They have to believe eventually that will happen, otherwise they have no hope for what they hope is to be their future.

The Euros are basically ultra-liberals. By their very nature they are endued with a fatal flaw causing them to harbor and nurture the belief "reasonable men" will somehow prevail. The problem with that particular fallacy is the constantly changing downward spiral of what to them is truly "reasonable".

49erDweet said...

Sorry. 2nd last para shud end: "...they have no hope for what they believe will be their future".

Aunty Marianne said...

Hmmm. I'm an avowed "Europsycho" and yet 49erdweet agrees with my fence-sitting.

Where does that leave us?