Author Topic: Why Europe Keeps Failing........ merged with "EU Seizes Cypriot Bank Accounts"  (Read 543595 times)

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Offline Chris Pook

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Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the chairman of euro zone finance ministers, said that the U.S. Department of Justice's demand that Deutsche Bank pay $14 billion for its role in the sub-prime mortgage crisis is too big and will undermine financial stability.

"Let's hope it is an opening bid," Dijsselbloem said on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Washington. "These kinds of fines are completely oversized, and they are damaging to financial stability."

http://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/718862/Eurozone-financial-EU-economic-stability-US-fine-Deutsche-Bank

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Why Apple's $14.5 Billion Tax Fine Is Worse for Shareholders Than it Looks

http://fortune.com/2016/08/31/apple-eu-tax-fine/

So the EU thinks that 14.5 BUSD is an excessive fine for Deutsche Bank but is proportionate for Apple.

Apparently a private company can come up with that kind of money but the Bank on which the economy of Germany rests, and in consequence the economy of Europe, can't afford that kind of charge.

Apparently Europe is in worse state than I thought.
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Offline Chris Pook

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http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/721061/CETA-eu-canada-trade-deal-justin-trudeau-european-union-commission-brexit

CETA held up by Wallonia.

The article suggests the Brits should take this as a warning about being able to do a deal with the EU.

Others might suggest that the EU should take this a a warning about the EU being able to do a deal with anybody.
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Offline Chris Pook

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An interesting article on what Europe needs to do to come together in the absence of the US and the UK (and France?) and in the face of Russia.

Quote
Europeans Will Now Decide What Europe Will Be
By Josef Janning
November 17, 2016

This article was created in collaboration with the European Council on Foreign Relations. Josef Janning is the head of ECFR's Berlin office. The views expressed here are the author's own.

Despite his celebration this weekend with British politician Nigel Farage -- in a Trump Tower golden elevator, no less -- the president-elect of the United States is not an anti-European in the sense we in Europe are most familiar with.


And despite his “Brexit plus, plus, plus” predictions, Donald Trump’s presidency does not necessarily presage an attempt to disrupt or to destroy European integration. Trump is no Farage or Marine Le Pen. In fact, President Trump will care little about Europe and whether it rises or falls. What Trump wants is to right the imbalance between the commitments and returns he sees in the United States’ foreign relations. Like the now-wealthy nations in East Asia, EU countries fit Trump’s dictum about self-defense and American support: The United States should not provide to them what they could afford themselves.

What this means is that what Europe is to become will be for the Europeans to decide.

This could hardly be news to European policymakers. No president has ever spelled out the link between burden-sharing and the U.S. security assurance in such drastic terms as has Donald Trump, but several have looked at the issue in similar ways, particularly since the demise of the Soviet Union. Other presidents have muted their criticism because of the value of U.S.-led alliance systems to America’s global role. Now, the precondition for partnership with the United States will be Europe's ability to defend itself, and no longer its inability to do so.

In the 1990s precious years were wasted during which Europeans could have developed, debated, and implemented a defense structure of scale. Instead of using the momentum of change to devise an efficient European scheme of territorial defense -- the contingency they had spent so much money on when Europe was divided -- they set about spending the peace dividend internally. Now, building a collective European defense seems next to impossible -- it runs counter to the intergovernmental trend that has shaped European security over the past two decades. To be sure, much more is done in terms of cooperation, joint development, and procurement than was 20 years ago, and some remarkable projects of integration of forces exist. But it still looks like a set of warm-up exercises to a marathon, rather than the real run.

Policymakers in European capitals for the most part know that committing to spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense will not by itself solve the puzzle, even if the target is reached by 2020. Roughly two-thirds of Europe’s defense spending comes from just Britain, France, and Germany, the first two of which evince little interest in helping other European countries achieve more bang for their euro in defense spending. Another part of the problem is that at least one-third of that spending would mostly go to subcritical or redundant structures. It would be spent on an inefficient deployment scheme and on paying, equipping, and commanding too many soldiers in uniform while underspending on research and development. Such a vast asymmetry cannot be addressed through voluntary intergovernmental cooperation with very little in the way of common assets. Such is the lesson of the past decades of defense cooperation within NATO and the European Union.

The answer for European countries in the age of Trump lies in genuine integration of territorial defense. Europeans may differ over the strategy and operations of projecting military force beyond Europe, but they are all bound by clear-cut solidarity articles on territorial defense in NATO and the European Union. After changes to Russia’s foreign and and military policy, to many Europeans the threat to integrity coming from Moscow is no longer merely a residual challenge.

Yet the political conditions in Europe put such integration far out of reach. A coalition of willing nations could, and should, make it their goal -- a goal pursued in the name of Europe, but one that would require its own formal agreement if the permanent structured cooperation clause of the EU treaties is too cumbersome for the cause. In normal times, British opposition, French frustration with Germany’s unwillingness to adopt Paris’s strategic parameters, and German historical trauma around building a big territorial army in the center of Europe would kill any such initiative at inception.

Genuine defense integration thus seems improbable right now. But as we have recently learned, the improbable can quickly become the inevitable. With 28 or 27 members there is no agreement on how to proceed, so the new world of European defense will be built from the bottom up. Instead of launching a European Defence Community as was tried in the 1950s, this time integration should begin with two or three countries taking the initiative of pooling their defense, with the option of bringing in neighbors later on. Essentially, such an approach involves Germany and … which other European country? France, the nuclear power focused on force projection beyond Europe? The Netherlands, whose army is mostly organized in joint structures with the German army already? What about Denmark, Austria, or the Czech Republic? There is a lot of history to overcome. What about Poland, equally driven by fear of Russia and distrust of Germany? Berlin and Warsaw launching such an initiative would constitute another “Schuman moment” in European politics. Neither Warsaw nor Berlin, however, seem right now to feel the spirit that drove Robert Schuman to propose the foundation of the European Coal and Steel Community, the predecessor to what is now the European Union.

The second real challenge of an American retreat from the European theater runs even deeper: Rather than spurring closer cooperation, such a dynamic could lay bare the underlying weakness of Europe. To the fore may come the many differences and rivalries among the nation-states of Europe, the mistrust and the animosities between them, the cleavages between north and south, east and west, between the rich and poor, the large and the small, and between the large as well as between the small.

Since the end of World War II, the overwhelming presence of the United States and the forward march of European integration have together worked to relax intra-European tensions. Alas, the moment in which a Jacksonian is elected to the White House finds the European Union already struggling with forces that threaten to tear it apart. It is now likely that neither U.S. presence nor EU integration will be there to halt the diverging trajectories of EU member states. European countries will need to undertake clear-eyed assessments of security threats and respond accordingly. How they respond could define their collective future for decades to come.


http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2016/11/17/trump_eu_nato_europeans_will_now_decide_what_europe_will_be_112125.html
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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So, the Italians voted "No," in their referendum, effectively ending the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Italy, which has a long history of unstable governments has just entered a new era of instability.

See: https://beinglibertarian.com/italians-vote-no-referendum-european-union-dealt-new-blow/  and  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/italian-prime-minister-matteo-renzi-faces-big-referendum-defeat/article33202003/  and https://www.ft.com/content/9b9d9ad0-ba6d-11e6-8b45-b8b81dd5d080

This might do more long term damage to European unity and the Brexit does.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline daftandbarmy

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So, the Italians voted "No," in their referendum, effectively ending the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Italy, which has a long history of unstable governments has just entered a new era of instability.

See: https://beinglibertarian.com/italians-vote-no-referendum-european-union-dealt-new-blow/  and  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/italian-prime-minister-matteo-renzi-faces-big-referendum-defeat/article33202003/  and https://www.ft.com/content/9b9d9ad0-ba6d-11e6-8b45-b8b81dd5d080

This might do more long term damage to European unity and the Brexit does.

The only thing consistent about Italy is how inconsistent its politics are. Yet another change of government will probably not even be noticed.

How Italy became this century's 'sick man of Europe'

https://www.theguardian.com/business/blog/2016/dec/05/italy-euro-economy-competitiveness
« Last Edit: December 06, 2016, 00:30:50 by daftandbarmy »
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Offline Chris Pook

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The only thing consistent about Italy is how inconsistent its politics are. Yet another change of government will probably not even be noticed.

How Italy became this century's 'sick man of Europe'

https://www.theguardian.com/business/blog/2016/dec/05/italy-euro-economy-competitiveness

But they have this electoral reform thing down to a science

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_electoral_law_of_2015
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Offline Chris Pook

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Here I noted the link between Merkel and Trudeau pushing back against Trump's call for the 2% commitment.

http://navy.ca/forums/index.php/topic,82898.msg1476774.html#msg1476774

Merkel now noising about the possibility of relaunching the Deutsche Mark ( a good thing, in my opinion)  because the Euro "isn't working for Germany".

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...During a press conference Mrs Merkel said: "We have at the moment in the euro zone of course a problem with the value of the euro.

"The ECB has a monetary policy that is not geared to Germany, rather it is tailored (to countries) from Portugal to Slovenia or Slovakia.

"If we still had the (German) D-Mark it would surely have a different value than the euro does at the moment.

"But this is an independent monetary policy over which I have no influence as German chancellor."

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/769045/Angela-Merkel-Euro-Deutsche-Mark-Mike-Pence-Munich-Germany-ECB

At the same time we have Sigmar Gabriel, Social Democrat and German Foreign Minister, calling for a good Brexit:

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"We should resist the temptation to treat Britain overly harshly - not out of pity but in our own interest,"said Gabriel at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, as reported by The Daily Mail.

"We need Britain, for example, as a partner in security policy and I am also convinced that Britain needs us."

http://www.businessinsider.com/germanys-foreign-minister-and-vice-chancellor-sigmar-gabriel-at-munich-on-brexit-2017-2

And we have Wolfgang Schaeuble, Christian Democrat and German Minister of Finance, suggesting a Greek exit from the Euro

"Schäuble told ARD television on Wednesday that the EU’s Lisbon treaty ruled out a debt reduction for Greece. “For that, Greece would have to leave the monetary union,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/09/greece-hopes-deal-eu-debt-german-warning-single-currency

The real battle for the EU is going to be between Martin Schulz and Angela Merkel. 

The French election is a mess - and the politicians there are going to have to listen to the locals one way or another.  And despite the fact that Geert Wilders is a decidedly unsavoury candidate, a whole lot of people seem to be buying what he is selling.

I wonder if 2018 will look like 1918 or 1968.   For the Europeans, 1918 and 1919 were not good years.  1968 was a fun year for many of the current politicians.  They got to riot in the streets.



« Last Edit: February 18, 2017, 19:11:11 by Chris Pook »
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Offline Thucydides

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An interesting and nuanced look at the results of the elections in the Netherlands. We tend to look at things on a very macro level (or at east may of our information sources do, unless we read specialist press), so deconstructing the wave of populism and its causes will allow us to understand the changes sweeping Europe much better than we do today:

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-dutch-delusion/19575

Quote
THE DUTCH DELUSION
Europe
For Europe, Against the EU

No, Dutch voters have not tamed 'the Brexit spirit'.
 
f you want to know how detached, even otherworldly, Europe’s political and media classes have become, look no further than their response to the Dutch elections. That Geert Wilders, the stiff-haired leader of the Islam-panic outfit the Party for Freedom, didn’t do as well as expected is being celebrated as a ‘blow to [Europe’s] populist surge’. The Dutch people have stood up for decency, the anti-populist set claims, and said ‘Halt!’ to the post-Brexit era of weirdness. This is delusional. Let’s call it the Dutch delusion: the idea that politics as it once was has been defended in Holland, and might be brought back to life across Europe.



No sooner had the exit polls for the Dutch election been published than the Twitterati and opinion-formers were hailing the resuscitation of pre-Brexit ‘normalcy’. ‘Global populist surge halted’, claimed one report. This ‘Dutch snub’ could be the beginning of the end for the ‘far right’, said another. Dutch PM Mark Rutte, leader of the centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) that won most seats, says Dutch people have said ‘whoa’ to Brexit and Trump, to ‘the wrong kind of populism’. Watch out, you tens of millions of American and British voters: your allegedly nasty politics is heading for defeat by the Dutch and other people nicer than you.



There are two delusions here. The first is that Wilders is the same as Brexit. That there’s a continuum of populism, starting with Brexit and running through Trump, Le Pen and Wilders: an indistinguishable blob of ‘far right’ sentiment that clings like a tumour to Europe. This continuum of populism is pure invention, a construct of increasingly tetchy anti-populists in the media. These people either lack the nuance to understand that the growing opposition to the old politics takes different forms around the world, or are keen to tar every new political sentiment with the same brush of ‘FASCISM!’ in order to make their task of demonising it, and avoiding looking at what’s behind it, that bit easier.



The truth is that the Wilders worldview is a million miles away from Brexit. That both the Moroccan-bashing, Koran-banning Wilders and millions of working-class people in formerly industrial parts of England and Wales oppose the EU is neither here nor there. It’s like saying the Olympian who waves the Union flag after winning a race is the same as the BNP skinhead who waves it as he stomps menacingly through an Asian suburb. Where Brexit was a clean, positive rebellion against the EU – not for UKIP, not for clampdowns on immigration, and certainly not for the persecution of Muslim immigrants – the Wilders outlook comes with all kinds of backward ideas. His party wants to ban the Koran, a deeply reactionary idea. It wants to shut down mosques: an intolerable assault on freedom of religion. He wants to ban Muslim immigration. There was no such reaction or illiberalism or shrillness to the broad Brexit vote.



Indeed, as made clear by the post-referendum Ashcroft polls, a majority of Brexiteers voted Leave from a belief that laws should be made in the nation that must live by them. They voted on democratic principle. The second most common reason given for the Leave vote was concern over immigration levels, but even this is nothing like the Wilders outlook. A large majority of Brexit voters want EU migrants to stay in Britain and want immigration to continue, albeit in a thought-out fashion. It’s wrong even to compare Trump with Wilders, for the simple fact that Trump is utterly unable to enact Wilders-like policies, even if he wanted to. The US, being a constitutionally liberal republic, in which the state is expressly forbidden from interfering with freedom of religion and speech, could never ban the Koran or close mosques. Trump is not Wilders.



The invention of a continuum of populism shows how disconnected is the political class. The idea that there’s a far-right movement in Europe, connecting one-time Welsh miners who don’t like the EU with elderly French people planning to vote Le Pen with the genuinely reactionary people who run something like Pegida, is a fantasy. It makes moral connections where none exist. If there’s a ‘theme’ in Europe today, it’s a feeling of exhaustion with the old, technocratic elite, and a desire for a different politics. How this theme works itself out differs from nation to nation, and takes different forms even within nations. It is the political class’s abject unwillingness to grapple with this growing sense of public agitation that makes it cry ‘FAR RIGHT’ at anyone who dares question the old status quo. How easier that is.

Then there’s the second delusion: the idea that the result in Holland was good for ‘normal’, supposedly progressive politics. Rutte talks up the election result as a victory for goodness against hate, for him against Wilders, and Trump, and Brexit. Is he serious? His VVD lost eight seats, down from 41 to 33. His coalition partner, the Labour Party, was all but wiped out: it lost 29 seats, reducing it to just nine. If the election confirms anything, it isn’t that populist politics is waning: it’s that social democracy in Europe remains in a state of terminal decline; that the rupture between the left and voters is now vast. The surprise beneficiary was GroenLinks (GreenLeft), which won 10 new seats, taking it to 14. This looks like a variant form of the rejection of the old politics, only instead of expressing it by voting for an anti-EU party, many did it by switching from social democracy to environmentalism. Also, Wilders hardly did terribly: his party gained five seats and is now the second largest.



Far from scuppering the new populism, the Dutch elections seemed to include its key ingredient: that public feeling of fatigue and anger with the old, zombie-like, bureaucratic politics, with a left-right divide that seems to mean little. That the main centre-right party lost seats and the social democrats got thrashed suggests the Brexit spirit, as we might call it, exists as much in parts of Holland as it does in Norfolk or Stoke or ‘the Brexit states’ in the US, as some referred to those parts of America that most keenly rejected Hillary. It’s just that this spirit takes different shapes in different places; it’s moulded by local and historical factors; it’s positively expressed in some places, less positively in others. For leftists to celebrate the Dutch election result is bizarre. Many left voters have shifted from social democracy to green politics, from ideas based on class to concerns about nature. The old left should worry about this. But those of us who want a new politics should not.



Indeed, to my mind, this is one of the positive things about the Dutch election. Because the more that social democracy and technocracy and other modern political outlooks that are utterly incapable of meeting people’s basic desire for greater autonomy and comfort are swept aside, the more space we will have for discussing and forging a new, better, more genuinely liberal politics. Brexit, nothing like Wilders, pushed us closer to that new politics; let’s keep pushing.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Chris Pook

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Charlemagne WOULD be pleased.  Of course his empire didn't outlast him. 

Quote
New European Order: Angela Merkel pledges to shape EU future in GERMANY'S image

ANGELA Merkel has refused to give up on her ambitious plans for the European Union and has pledged to push forward her relaunch plans.

By OLI SMITH

PUBLISHED: 10:04, Mon, May 15, 2017 | UPDATED: 15:30, Mon, May 15, 2017
   
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she will use close cooperation with Emmanuel Macron to restart the European Union and shape the continent's future.

Mrs Merkel doubled down in her commitment to the European project in remarks to voters on the campaign trail.

She told an audience of cheering supporters over the weekend that Germany and France will drive through close integration and transform the EU bloc.

The Chancellor was speaking in Aachen, where she finished her party's campaign ahead of the last state election on Sunday before the nationwide vote in September.

The CDU saw a strong surge of support in Germany's most populous state of North-Rhine Westphalia on Sunday, which is home to one in five German voters and has often been a national trend-setter in elections.

The day after the result, the German leader will meet with Mr Macron, a fellow europhile.

Merkel faces a tough electoral contest tomorrow

The French president will holds talks with her in Berlin a day after his own inauguration, with the aim of the talks to relaunch the European project.
 
Mrs Merkel told the audience: "We will do everything not only to help France but also to shape the future European path with France.

"We are happy that Mark Rutte and Emmanuel Macron, people who make efforts for Europe, won their elections.

"We will lead the new European project together and shape its future through our cooperation."

The pledge to restart and relaunch the European project comes as experts believe the wave of anti-EU populism has peaked.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/804182/Angela-Merkel-European-project-Macron



And in other news:

Quote
EMMANUEL Macron’s victory in the French presidential election as been welcomed by European Union neighbours such as Belgium, Germany and Holland but Eastern European member states fear his vision could push them to the political and economic sidelines.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/804647/French-President-Emmanuel-Macron-European-Union-vision-Eastern-Europe-Poland-Hungary



Quote
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras aims to send Greeks to the polls to vote on whether the electoral system should be changed.

With his approval ratings plummeting, critics argue the vote is a cynical attempt to secure a victory over the rival New Democracy party.

The referendum would also include questions regarding energy spending, water resources and the organisation of the Greek presidential election.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/804629/greece-referendum-alexis-tsipras-constitution-new-democracy-eu


Quote
“We must find another balance with the British, I think we will arrive at it.”

However, he then warned: “But we can never, never create a state for the British or any other country outside the EU which is more favourable than being inside the EU.

“Otherwise there’s no point to the EU. There must be an advantage to being a member of the EU and that’s the foundation of the mandate for the negotiations for the commission and the EU Parliament.”

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/804800/Brexit-news-Guy-Verhofstadt-Britain-must-end-up-worse-off-outside-EU

Quote
He added: “So we very much need an agreement between France and Germany about which direction we can go in. We, the Benelux, have the habit of rallying around the project inspired by Paris and Berlin.

“That gives us an impetus because if the Benelux is in agreement, the countries of the north and the countries of the east become more interested because it’s not just a diktat from Paris or Berlin.

"It’s like that we can advance the European machine and reform it. And Don’t forget that the southern countries will have a more important role after Brexit than before.

“They are ready to take that responsibility - Spain, Portugal, Italy - they are ready to give an impetus to the European project which is very good news.” 

Belgium and Luxembourg are the heart of the old Carolingian house and, before it, the Merovingians.

Culture matters.



I can't get over the mindset of Verhofstaedt that readily admits that the institution of the EU has no point unless it confers advantage and in the same breath he says active measures must be taken to  ensure that Brexit is not a success.  He seems to fail to grasp that he defeats his own argument by making the point that Brexit could be a success unless the EU drags it down.  That doesn't demonstrate much confidence in the EU.  It seems to indicate that, left to its own devices, there is no advantage to being in the EU.  It is not an organic attraction, a co-operative venture, that has people clamouring to belong but rather a herd that must be whipped and corralled. 
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The Germans appear to be going to give Merkle another mandate.  Wow.  I wouldn't let her take out my garbage.  I can't believe they're that stunned.  But then l think Wynn might get another term here too come next election.

Quote
Merkel favoured to win historic 4th term as Germans head to polls

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/world/germany-election-2017-1.4304659

Offline Chris Pook

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More of the same .... but perhaps a more appropriate thread.   :pirate:

Quote
FEATURES
Michel Barnier’s arrogant inflexibility over Brexit comes from a long Gallic tradition
When it comes to negotiation, the French and the British are worlds apart
Robert Tombs
 
21 October 2017
9:00 AM

If Michel Barnier and David Davis, in their regular dialogue of the deaf, seem to be inhabiting different mental universes, that is because they are. The British and French have often found each other particularly difficult to negotiate with. Of course, Barnier represents not France but the EU, and he has a negotiating position, the notorious European Council Guidelines, on which the veteran British diplomat Sir Peter Marshall has recently commented that ‘I have never seen, nor heard tell of, a text as antipathetic to the principle of give and take which is generally assumed to be at the heart of negotiation among like-minded democracies’. But, as a senior German politician recently commented off the record, its most important clause is the one that says it can be ‘adjusted’. This is the sort of language the British understand, the language of bargaining. But that is not how the French understand negotiation or texts, and alas for Davis, he has to deal with a Frenchman.

We have been meeting this problem for at least two centuries. The most damaging occasion was when the British encountered a far more formidable duo than Barnier and Jean-Claude Juncker: Napoleon Bonaparte and his foreign minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, atheist bishop turned tricky politician. In 1802, to end a long and indecisive war, the two sides had signed the Treaty of Amiens, best remembered for Gillray’s cartoon showing William Pitt and Bonaparte cutting themselves slices of the globe.

This compromise could have given Europe a generation of peace. But after a few months of wrangling and bad temper, relations broke down, and 13 years of bloody and devastating conflict ensued. Napoleon tried to destroy the British economy by stopping its trade with Europe. Britain retaliated, evaded the restrictions, and hugely increased its global trade. The saga ended at Waterloo, and the defeated Napoleon blamed ‘all my wars on England’.

The disaster came about because the two sides had very different conceptions of what signing a peace treaty meant. The British took it to be a first step towards acceptable coexistence, implying future concessions and confidence-building measures on both sides. George III aptly called it ‘an experimental peace’. But the French took it as a rigid text which the British must execute to the letter — the end, not the beginning of a process, with no other issues on the table.

The French moved troops into Holland, expanded their power in Switzerland and Italy, took measures to damage British trade and began unconcealed preparations to invade the Ottoman empire. When the British objected, Talleyrand insisted that these matters were not covered by the Treaty of Amiens, and persistently delayed discussion of them. The final break came over Malta, which the British had liberated but were due to evacuate under the Treaty. They delayed both for practical reasons and as a precaution against the French threat to Turkey. This caused the French angrily to insist, with Napoleon shouting publicly at the British ambassador, that Britain must fulfil its treaty obligations in full and at once. The British, deciding that no deal was better than a bad deal, gave France an ultimatum and then declared war.

Misunderstandings continued over the generations, even when the two countries were on good terms. The British wanted a broad but undefined relationship based on practical cooperation. The French wanted binding written agreements based on defined principles. The great Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston stated that ‘it is not usual for England to enter into engagements with reference to cases which have not wholly arisen’, and his successor Lord Granville a generation later echoed that British practice was to ‘avoid prospective understandings to meet contingencies, which seldom occur in the way which has been anticipated’.

Lord Curzon was less stoical: after a long and fruitless meeting with the obdurate French prime minister Raymond Poincaré, he staggered out of the room in tears saying, ‘I can’t stand that horrible little man. I can’t stand him!’ The French, for their part, repeatedly complained that the British could not think logically. In the 1920s, André Tardieu, a future prime minister, deplored the ‘repugnance of the Anglo-Saxon to the systematic constructions of the Latin mind’. Nothing had changed by 2003, when a British diplomat commented that ‘the French are most comfortable when they can define a set of principles… the British shy away from principles’.

This difference has deep roots. Roman Law, going back to Emperor Justinian and in its modern form to the Code Napoleon, works by applying unchanging general principles. Common Law seeks practical outcomes; indeed, judges may begin by finding a solution and then seek legal justification on which to base it. As the celebrated American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes expressed it, ‘the life of the Common Law has not been logic; it has been experience’.

British ways of thinking are also shaped by the empiricism propagated by Sir Francis Bacon, a pioneer of modern scientific method. He was suspicious of ‘men of theory’ or ‘reasoners’ who put metaphysical ideas before practical experience: ‘the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance’, whereas ‘men of experiment are like the ant; they only collect and use’. A contrasting influence in France was the rationalism of René Descartes. For Cartesians (which educated French people proverbially regard themselves as being), understanding begins with ideas in the mind. Hence theory comes first, applications follow.

These basic differences are deeply inculcated by the British and French education systems from primary school to university. The British are encouraged to try to find things out for themselves, to come up with practical answers, and to be original even if they make mistakes. The French, from tiny tots copying teacher’s handwriting to the erudite authors of magisterial theses, are required to accept and apply the correct models and ideas. Moreover, arguments have to be expressed in a set form: if the ideas are good but the form is bad, you fail. Every leading French official and most politicians have gone through the most intense form of this disciplined training, which at every stage eliminates those who fail to meet its standards. Those who win through are what the French call bêtes à concours — ‘examination animals’ to whom this system has become second nature. Few are more brilliant than Michel Barnier, graduate of a leading Parisian grande école.

All this makes the British and French approach any negotiations in a very different spirit. The British are reluctant to define a priori aims, because for them negotiation is an experimental process to discover a mutually acceptable deal. As a senior British official has described it: ‘The British put themselves in the position of the person they are negotiating with… the French are not interested in getting inside the thought of others.’ Rather, the French adopt what seem to them a logically coherent set of principles and then defend them rigidly. In the words of one French diplomat: ‘When one is right, one does not compromise.’

As poor Harold Macmillan found with General de Gaulle, ‘he does not apparently listen to argument. He merely repeats over and over again what he has said before.’ The British find this inflexible and arrogant, if not deliberately obstructive. But the French consider the British reluctance to define principles proof of lack of preparation or, worse still, an attempt by la perfide Albion to pull the wool over their eyes. The situation is not helped by further cultural differences. The British try to be relaxed and friendly, and to lighten the atmosphere with humour — David Davis’s natural style. The French are much more formal and hierarchical, and often take backslapping and jokes as a sign of disrespect and superficiality. Moreover, they are willing to show anger, be confrontational and exaggerate — none of this being intended personally, but seen as a display both of authority and conviction. As de Gaulle told his subordinates, in dealing with the British ‘you have to bang the table, and they back down’.

These frictions extend into business relations too, and having learned about them the hard way, the French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain published in 2014 an admirably concise handbook to oil the wheels of Franco-British trade, optimistically entitled ‘Light at the End of the Tunnel’. It notes that the British ‘prefer a faster pace’, while the French ‘dislike being hurried’. The British ‘emphasise solutions’, the French ‘emphasis problems’. For the British, ‘compromise is viewed positively and is linked to pragmatism’; for the French, ‘compromise can be viewed negatively, as it implies that a position was not well reasoned’. To crown it all, while the British are ‘proponents of “win-win”, and will compromise in an effort to build long-term relationships that benefit both parties’, the French are ‘proponents of “I win-you lose”, appearing not to care if it risks the breakdown of the relationship’.

However, if they find that their interlocutors refuse to accept their impeccable logic, the French, in a different application of logic, will often cut a last-minute deal. But if Michel Barnier’s Cartesian cobweb–spinning exhausts the patience of our Baconian ants, perhaps we should give up fruitless bargaining over the ‘divorce bill’ and propose a Cartesian solution: to accept binding international arbitration, perhaps using the permanent mechanisms that exist at The Hague. With that obstructive issue out of the way, we might then get on with seeking a mutually acceptable deal over future trade.

The Spectator
https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/10/michel-barniers-arrogant-inflexibility-over-brexit-comes-from-a-long-gallic-tradition/
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Offline Chris Pook

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The above commentary reminded me of this extract -

Trudeau on Adam Smith per Max and Monique Nemni (William Johnson) - Young Trudeau.

"Smith initiates us in how to analyze the problems of society, he shows us how to grasp the interdependence of phenomena, he fashions a framework for sorting out the complexity of institutions and grasping the central issue ..... True, this is English-style thinking and perhaps not the compressed appearance of French thinking, where the principles are hard diamonds.  But I have learnt that there is not only the French way of being condensed.....(For Smith) The system came after the study of the facts, and did not drive it. Moreover, Smith himself never claims to have attained the Absolute,...."

The Nemnis' comment:

"Implicitly, and perhaps without fully realizing it, Trudeau was contrasting Smith's empiricism, which took as its starting point concrete facts to end with a theoretical system, with the scholastic method of the Jesuits (who had trained Trudeau - Edit), which took as its starting point a pre-established system postulated as True and Good because created by God, and with the facts made to fit accordingly. At the age of twenty-five, he was delighted to discover the scientific method."

Or in other words, one might say that Trudeau was enlightened in 1944 when he was given dispensation by the Church to read the works of Adam Smith, on the list of prohibited books, so that he could pursue his studies at Harvard - a school whose first graduates were Congregationalist and Unitarian preachers - a decidedly non-Jesuitical seminary.

Criticism is not implied and should not be inferred.  Difference is noted.
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Offline Thucydides

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Change is coming in Austria, as a new government which is certainly leaning in the Nationalist/populist mode is elected to office. It will be interesting to see the effects of this on the EU:

https://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/10/19/new-start-austria/

Quote
A New Start for Austria?
FRANZ CEDE & CHRISTIAN PROSL
Austria’s next Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz has managed to do what Germany’s Angela Merkel couldn’t.

The October 15 parliamentary elections in Austria have produced a remarkable outcome. After 15 years the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) returned to number one with 31.6 percent of the vote (62 seats). The Social Democrats came in second, with some 27 percent (52 seats), just barely outpolling the right-wing populist Freedom Party (FPÖ), which won 26 percent (51 seats). Meanwhile, the Green Party electorate followed the advice of their socialist friends, voting for the Social Democrats instead in order to block an ÖVP-Freedom Party coalition. They failed in that goal and in the process committed political suicide: The Green Party will not be represented in the Austrian Parliament—only a tiny green splinter group that broke ranks with the party leadership just before the elections. And the business oriented “Neos” once again achieved more than the 4 percent minimum required for entering Parliament.

That, in a nutshell, is what happened according to the votes and the numbers. But what really happened beyond the numbers, and what will happen next?

After a very dirty campaign, for which the Social Democrats bear the main responsibility, the young and charismatic leader of the ÖVP, Sebastian Kurz, prevailed. He is the clear winner of the elections, in particular if one remembers that some two years ago his party polled less than 20 percent of the vote. According to Austrian tradition, Kurz will receive the mandate from the Federal President to form a new government, and it is fairly obvious what he will do with that mandate. After the rows during the election campaign, and in view of the stalemate within the previous government formed by the two parties, there will be no new “Great Coalition” with the Social Democrats, but instead most likely an ÖVP-FPÖ coalition.

That is no surprise. What is at least a bit surprising, however, is that Kurz managed to portray himself as a challenger against a government in which he himself served as Foreign Minister. In a sense, he pulled a Macron: a young party insider who transforms himself through smoke and spin into a virtual outsider. Kurz did not jump totally outside his party as Macron did, but he transformed the ÖVP into a movement accented heavily by his own personality. He concentrated the campaign on himself as a young and outspoken leader, and at 31 years of age he will soon be the youngest head of government in Europe. For that he secured the approval of the various old hands of his party who grudgingly accepted their loss of influence (at least so far), because they realized that without a dramatic change their party would soon be out of business—a fate that has befallen many other establishment conservative parties in Europe. He also appealed to the many non-voters of the previous election, and to those of his party who had voted for the Freedom Party last time around.

The Social Democrats, who had feared finishing third behind the Freedom Party, succeeded in a last-ditch mobilizing effort that prevented disaster. At the end of the day, they did not lose votes despite the scandals connected to their dirty campaigning and the serious infighting between the left and right wings of the party, leading to the resignation of their Secretary General just two weeks before the elections.

The Freedom Party improved their score (by 5.5 percent), although not as much as they hoped, and not quite enough to gain second place. And the reason is that Kurz coopted the Freedom Party’s plank, but without their xenophobic rhetoric, increasing its take by 7.6 percent over the time before. In short, Kurz was able to do what fellow conservative Angela Merkel failed to do in Germany some weeks earlier; the Chancellor lost some 7.5 percent of the CDU’s support, yet still managed to remain at the head of the leading party.

Like Merkel, Kurz realized that the main concern of his fellow citizens was immigration: Austria had accepted some 90,000 immigrants in 2015, more than 1 percent of its population. For the United States this would amount proportionally to some four million immigrants in a single year. In Germany the “socialdemocratization” of the CDU/CSU under Merkel, which could not be reversed enough or fast enough before the election, left space that the right-wing AfD eagerly filled. Kurz managed to position his middle-of-the-road party farther to the right (and did it more quickly), appealing to many of the voters that the party had lost to the FPÖ in the past. That difference in right-leaning flexibility explains the ÖVP’s success in Austria (as well as that of Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy [VVD] in the Netherlands back in mid-March) compared to the CDU’s poorer showing in Germany.

What will happen now?

The most probable outcome by far is a coalition of the Conservatives with the Freedom Party. However, a Social Democrat/Freedom Party coalition cannot be totally excluded. After all, Christian Kern, the current Social-Democratic leader, had broken the long-standing rule that his party would never form a coalition with the Freedom Party. On a regional level this had already been the case. If Kern actually enters a coalition with the FPÖ in order to stay in power, a split among the Social Democrats will be inevitable.

Another possibility that might dilute the impact of the Freedom Party in a possible coalition would be to include the pro-business Neos. This could apply to both options: a Social Democrat/Freedom Party coalition or the more likely Conservative/Freedom Party coalition. That would also reduce the dilemma that the Freedom Party faces: They lack enough qualified personnel capable of leading government agencies (already proven in 2000 in a similar coalition under Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel).

The new government, however it is composed, follows a coalition that has been unable to get much done. There is widespread support for action on long overdue reforms of Austria’s economic and social system, of its pension arrangements, its education system, and more. But there is no firm consensus on what the reforms should be. The new government therefore faces major tasks in its five-year tenure, and it will be judged by its results.

Whatever the outcome of the forthcoming coalition negotiations, no major change in Austria’s foreign policy or position with respect to the European Union is in store. Not even the Freedom Party wants to leave the Union; it only wishes to be free to scrutinize it, so it claims.

Austria will continue to abide by the moral and legal standards of the European Union. Kurz is also on record as showing zero tolerance for any form of anti-Semitism, and he appears to be utterly sincere in this. If the Freedom Party tests his meddle here too boldly, it could put an ÖVP-FPÖ coalition at risk. At the same time, Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen has committed himself to keeping a close eye on candidates for ministerial posts, and he has the constitutional power to refuse a candidate who does not espouse European values.

Sunday’s elections might well be a starting point for overdue reforms in Austria, and a higher Austrian profile within the European Union. If the government under Sebastian Kurz succeeds in calming communitarian concerns over immigration, he may set the high-water mark of Austria’s less benign political traditions. That would be all to the good.

Published on: October 19, 2017
Franz Cede served as Austrian Ambassador to NATO and Russia, among other places. Christian Prosl served as Austrian Ambassador to Germany and the United States, among other places.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Chris Pook

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The above commentary reminded me of this extract -

Trudeau on Adam Smith per Max and Monique Nemni (William Johnson) - Young Trudeau.

"Smith initiates us in how to analyze the problems of society, he shows us how to grasp the interdependence of phenomena, he fashions a framework for sorting out the complexity of institutions and grasping the central issue ..... True, this is English-style thinking and perhaps not the compressed appearance of French thinking, where the principles are hard diamonds.  But I have learnt that there is not only the French way of being condensed.....(For Smith) The system came after the study of the facts, and did not drive it. Moreover, Smith himself never claims to have attained the Absolute,...."

The Nemnis' comment:

"Implicitly, and perhaps without fully realizing it, Trudeau was contrasting Smith's empiricism, which took as its starting point concrete facts to end with a theoretical system, with the scholastic method of the Jesuits (who had trained Trudeau - Edit), which took as its starting point a pre-established system postulated as True and Good because created by God, and with the facts made to fit accordingly. At the age of twenty-five, he was delighted to discover the scientific method."

Or in other words, one might say that Trudeau was enlightened in 1944 when he was given dispensation by the Church to read the works of Adam Smith, on the list of prohibited books, so that he could pursue his studies at Harvard - a school whose first graduates were Congregationalist and Unitarian preachers - a decidedly non-Jesuitical seminary.

Criticism is not implied and should not be inferred.  Difference is noted.

From this week's Real Clear Politics

Quote
... when liberal critics of Trump use Merkel as a positive counter-example, something deeper is going on: alternative traditions and expectations regarding government in the two nations. The United States and Germany represent different political cultures, and these differences are reflected in contrasting constitutional statements. From a German point of view, Americans are deemed excessively individualistic; from an American point of view, Germans can appear to be excessively conformist, authoritarian, and obedient. Under-socialized loners on the one hand, pliable crowds on the other—Americans versus Germans: this is the stuff stereotypes are made of, but these images are also pertinent to constitutional structures and cultures—liberty versus fraternity....

...Few documents of the early American republic have received as much attention as George Washington’s “Farewell Address” (1796), ...“that the free Constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; [and]… that … the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete ….”

The Constitution, in other words, is a free constitution because it is a work of the people, i.e, “your hands,” and the people acts in a context of liberty. This is a Lockean vision, in which liberty precedes law, and law therefore takes shape to protect liberty and pursue prosperity. The freedom of the people pre-exists the formation of the State.

Quote
Washington was a man of his age, an Enlightenment thinker, whose address can be juxtaposed with elements of the philosopher Immanuel Kant’s essay, “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?” (1784), in order to contrast American and German constitutional cultures. Kant is a crucial source for German political thought and liberal democracy in general. Yet in this well-known text, which culminates in a call for the public use of reason, Kant approaches the public with a tone that can be described at best as scolding, at worst as arrogant. While Washington jabbed at the intellectual Jefferson, Kant stands as the intellectual who looks down at the “deplorables,” the bulk of the population that refuses to think.

“Laziness and cowardice,” he writes, “are the reasons why such a large proportion of men, even when nature has long emancipated them from alien guidance (naturaliter maiorennes), nevertheless gladly remain immature for life. For the same reasons, it is all too easy for others to set themselves up as their guardians. It is so convenient to be immature! If I have a book to have understanding in place of me, a spiritual adviser to have a conscience for me, a doctor to judge my diet for me, and so on, I need not make any efforts at all. I need not think, so long as I can pay; others will soon enough take the tiresome job over for me.”

Gone are Washington’s “auspices of liberty,” replaced by Kant’s presumption of a nearly universal ignorance. Kant’s solution is familiar: some individuals will start with their public use of reason, and others will therefore follow. Yet even this prescription is hierarchical, since it assumes that the many need the few to lead them. Moreover, in what he designates as a private sphere, the realm of labor, reasoning is prohibited. While reason is necessary in public, he stipulates that it only be undertaken as long as it remains effectively inconsequential and limited by the obligation for obedience. Discipline must be maintained, and he envisions speech as free only where sufficient police power preserves order.

“But only a ruler who is himself enlightened and has no fear of phantoms, yet who likewise has at hand a well-disciplined and numerous army to guarantee public security,” Kant writes, “may say what no republic would dare to say: Argue as much as you like and about whatever you like, but obey!

https://www.hoover.org/research/who-leads-west-trump-or-merkel   Russel Berman of the Hoover Institution

This is to be contrasted, in my opinion, with the British tradition which denied both parliament and the monarchy a standing army - as well as a constitution. 

But there is much in common with

Trudeau Sr https://navy.ca/forums/index.php/topic,103357.msg1507175.html#msg1507175
Barnier https://navy.ca/forums/index.php/topic,103357.msg1507123.html#msg1507123
and Pope Pius XII https://navy.ca/forums/index.php/topic,125056.msg1507041.html#msg1507041

Which is why I suggested previously that religion is culture.  The culture shapes the religion so that even if the name of the religion changes the culture will reshape the new religion to mimic the old.

Europe is dominated by a top down world view based on idealism with little tolerance for disorder.  They seek that regardless of who is on top.  They also look for someone to supply their daily bread.

Britain, and the US, was dominated by a bottom up world view that not only tolerated disorder but celebrated it.

But the Victorians put paid to that and both Britain and the US now fight the imposition of order that would remake their "liberal populist democracies" into stultified hierarchical societies ordered by the modern Medici, Bourbons, Guise and Stuarts.

Just to clarify - there were and are Calvinists and Huguenots in Europe just as there were and are Episcopalians, (Anglicans, Gallicans, Lutherans and Romans in Britain and the US.)  The difference is that in Europe the Epsicopalians dominate.  In the US the Calvinists and Huguenots used to dominate - and still do outside of the cities.




« Last Edit: December 17, 2017, 15:52:21 by Chris Pook »
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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But I would argue that in both Europe and America (which includes Canada for all intents and purposes) the "top down" Episcopalians and the "bottom up" Calvinists have, respectively, become too powerful ... think Jean-Claude Junker and Donald Trump.

The peoples of both Europe and America know, intuitively, that they have let things drift too far but instead of tacking back towards a centre course they look to the extremes and we see the Freedom Party entering the Austrian government and Bernie Sanders being touted as the Democrat's best hope in 2020.

               
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
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Offline Chris Pook

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But I would argue that in both Europe and America (which includes Canada for all intents and purposes) the "top down" Episcopalians and the "bottom up" Calvinists have, respectively, become too powerful ... think Jean-Claude Junker and Donald Trump.

The peoples of both Europe and America know, intuitively, that they have let things drift too far but instead of tacking back towards a centre course they look to the extremes and we see the Freedom Party entering the Austrian government and Bernie Sanders being touted as the Democrat's best hope in 2020.

               

Alinsky 5.  "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon."

That single line is, IMO, responsible for our current situation.  Alinsky's "win at all costs" mentality permeates modern debate.  So much so that even "decent", "civil" people have decided that there is no mileage in being decent and civil.

Many people considered both George Bush and Stephen Harper decent and civil and were perturbed by how they (Bush, Harper and their supporters) were ridiculed.   The tendency to turn the other cheek fades when both cheeks start stinging.

With respect to finding the centre:  I suggest that now is when we find out if our institutions are fit for purpose.  The "Calvinist" tradition is less about Calvin and Knox and more about the "Institutes".

We shouldn't have to rely on personalities for good governance.

Most people want a smooth ride.  They envisage a system that is in control as being a flat line.

But, as you well know, real systems look like this, 



or even this



When in control they are still irregular and full of uncomfortable peaks and valleys.

By contrast - a smooth, steady decline (or rise for that matter) can still indicate a system that is out of control 

And a flat line?  Unresponsive.  Dead.  But comfortable.
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Offline Altair

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Anti Euro Parties win the biggest share of votes in Italy.
Someday I'll care about milpoints.

Offline Chris Pook

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#Brexit #Liberal International Order #EU #Donald Trump #Korea....  Here because I tossed a coin.

First - Brexit, a personal opinion

Although I am a Canadian I am proud to be a Brit, and Brexit makes me that much prouder.  Not because of the outcome, which I support, but because of the process.  In my view Britain is demonstrating to Europe what both liberalism and democracy means.  And that confuses the heck out of the European priestly caste - and confirms in their view why they are right to fear both liberalism and democracy.  They perceive chaos.  The Brits perceive normalcy.

The arguments in Britain are hard, positions are heart-felt.  But everybody who wants a say gets a say - assholes all over the political map are free to voice their opinions, take their concerns to court, launch petitions, try to change policy, regulations and laws, revert to the status quo ante, promote new alliances ..... and all while following the rules, while colouring inside the lines .... 

Meanwhile the British economy ticks onwards, men in white vans conduct their usual business, the City continues to hire and fire people.  Average Brits follow the Rugby, berate Australian cricketers, fill in the Football Pools, debate pert posteriors and whether Kate or Meghan is more this or that, and wonder if they are getting too much beer.    Things change but nothing so much as can't be handled.

For the European "priests" this is all a conundrum.  They don't believe, despite the evidence to the contrary, that their countrymen could be trusted to act in the same way.  They fear their people - but I think if they spent more time reading their tabloids they would find more similarities between Brits, French, Germans and Italians than they suspect. 

But maybe that is the very problem "Tabloids" are for the "Masses" and not for "Real People", much less for the "Elites" who are ordained to order society.

The Elite are great supporters of the Liberal International Order and its Supranational organizations.  But then they always have been.  In the past the term of art was "Ultramontanism" - meaning "over the mountains"  - in particular over the Alps.  It reflects a struggle that is over two thousand years old - one that the Romans get the blame for but probably pre-dated them. 

The Protestant reformation also draws blame, or accepts credit, for the rise of both individualism and nationalism - with Luther and Henry VIII, Calvin and Knox being the usual stalking horses.  But arguably the struggle can be found in the rise of the French national church (Declaration of the Clergy of France - 1682, Concordat of Bologna - 1516, Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges - 1438, Avignon Papacy - 1307) and in the rise of the German Holy Roman Empire (Investiture Controversy - 1076). 

I don't question the good intentions of all parties.  But there have historically been two paths - Structured order defined by man and comfortable chaos to which man adapts.    The Elite tends toward structured order, as long as they get to define the structure.  For everybody else it is always a matter of adapting.

This line of thought surfaced when I read this article, "America and the Liberal International Order
by Michael Anton
" in American Affairs.  It describes a point of view that has been percolating for a while.

I have become increasingly unhappy with the use of liberalism to describe the modern condition.  Some folks have taken to talking about illiberalism.  Personally I am comfortable with Adam Smith's, and his contemporaries', use of liberal.  Not as a code, a catechism, a dogmatic prescription of rules over which lawyers and other clerks can argue, but as a mode of thinking - a toleration of other thought.

In my opinion much of the debate arguing for the Rule of Law effectively is the voicing of ancient beliefs by the clerical establishment, the priestly caste, that they, and only they can steer the course.  And it frightened them to see Britain, Australia, Canada and America succeed in their absence - and ultimately defeat them in World War II.

The great problem after WW2 was the need to create a new order - because comfortable chaos, liberal democracy, was not an option.  New institutions were created to emulate old institutions and the same people took their seats in new buildings.  Democracy and Liberalism were capitalized, redefined and catechized - turned into comforting dogma.  True Democrats and True Liberals, like True Scots, were created and defined as separate from the tabloid reading masses.

The thing is, in Britain, in Canada, in the US, there has always been a faction that also believes in structured order and rejects the comfortable chaos that liberalism implies.  They have found common cause across the Atlantic.

Should we say that Ultramontanism has been replaced by Ultraatlanticism?

 
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Offline Chris Pook

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And everything old is new again.....

Quote
AUSTRIA’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has called for an “axis of the willing” between Italy, Germany and his own country to tackle illegal immigration and secure Europe’s border....

...Speaking at a press conference in Berlin after his meeting with German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, Mr Kurz said: "In our view, we need an 'axis of the willing' in the fight against illegal migration.

"I am happy about the good cooperation that we want to develop between Rome, Vienna and Berlin. ...

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/974074/austria-sebastian-kurz-migrant-policy-horst-seehofer-angela-merkel-matteo-salvini-eu-news

The most reliable guide to politics is not borders but cities.  Cities fight over borders.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Donald Trump restricts steel and aluminum and the cars they are used in.

Europe complains and responds by restricting..........Levi's and Maker's Mark.  Thus proving Trump's point on trade imbalances.  Europe doesn't import as much as the US does and thus has a lot less leverage. 

Quote
American exports including jeans, motorbikes and bourbon whiskey will be slapped with new levies on Friday, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said.

The tariffs are the latest in a tit-for-tat row between the traditionally close allies, which began when Donald Trump introduced harsh tariffs on imported steel and aluminium.

Announcing the European response, which will target £2.4billion (€2.8bn) worth of US products, Ms Malmstrom said Brussels had no choice but to fight back.

She labelled the US tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium as "unilateral and unjustified”.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/977260/trade-war-european-union-united-states-tariffs-donald-trump

Somebody once said: "Owe the bank $1000 and the bank owns you.  Owe the bank $1000000 and you own the bank"  (That was a while ago - Net Present Value).

To Wit:

Quote
MERKEL CAVES IN: Germany 'to offer to scrap EU tax on cars' in Trump victory

ANGELA Merkel appears to have caved in to Donald Trump with Germany considering scrapping the European Union’s 10 percent tax on American car imports.

By JOEY MILLAR
PUBLISHED: 00:01, Thu, Jun 21, 2018 | UPDATED: 00:08, Thu, Jun 21, 2018
 
President Trump’s ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, has held high-level talks with German car makers BMW and Volkswagen about dropping car tariffs between the US and Germany.

The manufacturers said they were open to the idea of dropping tariffs as long as it was part of a larger overall industrial scheme.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/977066/donald-trump-news-us-trade-war-eu

Meanwhile, the UK, having passed the EU Withdrawal Act and thus releasing itself from the 1972 Act joining the EEC, appears to be contemplating Freeports

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Proposals to create a series of free ports across the north of England are gathering momentum among ministers as a new report reveals that special zones could deliver a multi-billion pound boost to the economy and create tens of thousands of jobs.

Seven “supercharged free ports”, offering relief from customs and import tariffs together with enterprise zones that have tax incentives to boost investment, could create as many as 150,000 jobs and add £9bn a year to the economy, extensive research has found.

It is understood that Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, privately supports the idea and the Treasury is looking closely at its potential. Liz Truss, chief secretary to the Treasury, is said to have a “deep personal interest” in the concept. Earlier this month, Ms Truss visited Teesside, one of the proposed locations of the new ports. Junior members within the Department for exiting the EU are also understood to privately back the idea.

One source familiar with the Government’s thinking said: “Free ports are seen as a concrete idea of how trade can be boosted after Brexit, when there aren’t many others.”

Another Whitehall adviser said “free ports are absolutely gaining traction within government”.

However, the situation is sensitive, requiring the Government to work behind the scenes. The concept of free ports cannot be moved forward until the UK leaves the EU because of the trading bloc’s rules.

Government sources say ministers are reluctant to give any official support as they fear EU negotiators could use free ports as a bargaining point. There are concerns free ports could be blocked for fear of the advantage they could offer the UK over Europe.

Research by consultancy and construction group Mace claims the creation of seven “supercharged free ports” – at Immingham and Grimsby, Hull Port, the Hull and Humber rivers, Tees and Hartlepool, Liverpool, the Tyne, and Manchester airport – would boost UK international trade by £12bn a year and add £9bn to UK GDP after 20 years in operation.

Combining the ports with enterprise zones would allow businesses to import, process and export goods within them without facing tariffs and customs difficulties.

The study also calculated that 150,000 jobs would be created around the free ports, helping rebalance the UK economy away from the South.

The research backs up similar findings. A report by Policy North said a similar economic lift could be delivered by free ports, after analysing the impact of 3,000 around the world.

There are about 3,000 free ports around the world, including Jebel Ali in Dubai

It said each free trade zone creates 22,600 jobs on average, and combined creates $500bn (£376bn) in trade.

Shanker Singham, a director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “Creating free ports is low-hanging fruit for the Government, and there is no reason not to do this.”

The new report has won the backing of Lord (Jim) O’Neill, a former chief economist at Goldman Sachs who said: “The creation of free ports in the North will free businesses to compete on the global stage.”

A spokesman for the Treasury said: “We want Britain to be a great global trading nation. Before making any decisions we will consider the advantages that free ports can deliver, but also the costs and risks associated with them.”

Similar thinking could be applied to places like Belfast in Northern Ireland and Ayr/Prestwick Airport in Scotland.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/06/17/free-ports-plan-north-could-give-uk-9bn-boost/

And there you have the real reason for the EU wanting to keep a hold of the UK.

"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline Brad Sallows

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>Maker's Mark.

Excellent!  The distiller has been having trouble meeting demand and the BC liquor stores keep running out.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Chris Pook

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Not to mention that fiasco where they tried to stretch the stock by dropping the proof...... disgraceful.

It would just be wasted on the Euros (and the Brits).   They're mixing it with Coke.  :facepalm:
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline Chris Pook

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A change in the way the wind blows?

Quote
EU CAVES IN: Rebel Italy wins as Merkel makes major climbdown after boycott threat

ANGELA Merkel said the draft document of this weekend's EU migration summit will be scrapped after threats Italy's prime minister Giuseppe Conte would boycot the meeting.
By ALICE SCARSI
PUBLISHED: 13:36, Thu, Jun 21, 2018 | UPDATED: 15:02, Thu, Jun 21, 2018
   
Italy's hard line against the EU has brought the bloc to change its attitude towards the Mediterranean country in a huge climbdown.

After Rome's interior minister Matteo Salvini accused France and Germany of already deciding the outcome of the mini summit and ignoring Italy's demands, the EU reassured Rome no decision is set in stone.

And Mrs Merkel herself, after calling the meeting, intervened to make sure Italy would not boycott the event.

Mr Conte revealed on Facebook he was ready to not go to Brussels before Mrs Merkel phoned the Italian leader.

He wrote: "I just received a call from Chancellor Angela Merkel, worried about the possibility I would not attend the mini summit of Sunday in Brussels focused on immigration.

"I confirmed that it was unacceptable for me to take part to it with a text that had already been prepared. 

"The Chancellor clarified there had been a 'misunderstanding': The draft published yesterday will be scrapped.

"At the centre of Sunday's meeting there will be the Italian proposal, which will be discussed together with those of other countries.

"The meeting won't be signed off with a written paper, we will only keep a summary of the problems we went through, and we will continue to discuss them at the EU summit next week.

"No one can ignor our position on immigration. See you next Sunday in Brussels!"

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/977601/EU-news-italy-migration-crisis-brussels-germany-france-salvini-angela-merkel-conte

Is this more like Singapore and less like Charlevoix?

I believe that Charlevoix (G7) was conducted under "conventional" rules: The Staff prepares Courses of Action and The Command shows up for the Photo-Op.

Singapore was conducted under "Trump" rules:  The Command used the meeting as part of his personal recce with the Commander using the opportunity to determine his own Course of Action and issue warning orders.

Right or wrong, it might be interesting to look at the Command Structure in that light. 

It is often said that The Forces are not a Democracy, even though they serve one.

Should the Civil Service be a Democracy?  Or do they just exist to serve one?

"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

Offline Colin P

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Civil Service is similar to the military in that it is our task to serve as well. The only question is who do we serve? The rank and file believe they are there to serve Canadians. Middle to upper management serve the Minister. Senior management serve their own interests or how they see their interests which will outlast the current Minister.

Offline Chris Pook

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Civil Service is similar to the military in that it is our task to serve as well. The only question is who do we serve? The rank and file believe they are there to serve Canadians. Middle to upper management serve the Minister. Senior management serve their own interests or how they see their interests which will outlast the current Minister.

So, no different than the military then.
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"