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Old 11-01-2004, 05:59 AM   #1
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The New European Dream?

Thoughts on this articcle? I thought it was fascinating!

(Posting the link since we're not supposed to post the whole thing, but below is a taste....)

Europe: We love to vacation there, if we can afford it. It's the cultural mecca many of us flock to, to awaken our senses and feed our souls. But Europe as a political entity? To Americans, it's just a creaky old set of governments presiding over a moribund economy marked by inflexible labor policies, bloated welfare bureaucracies and an aging, pampered populace. It's the state of Eurosclerosis, right?

Not anymore. Toss out that image of Europe as relic. On Friday, the heads of the 25 member nations of the European Union signed the European Constitution (to be ratified over the next two years by each state), effectively creating the first transnational political entity in history. These "United States of Europe" represent the rise of a new ideal that could eclipse the United States as the focus of the world's yearnings for well-being and prosperity. Yet our country is largely unaware of and unprepared for the vast changes that are quickly transforming the Old World and giving birth to what I call the new European Dream.

The old dream, the American Dream that made the individual the master of his fate and emphasized the personal accumulation of wealth, is faltering. A national survey taken in 2001 showed that one-third of all Americans no longer believe in the American Dream, either because it has failed them, or because they believe that in an increasingly interdependent world, it no longer works. Even the most self-reliant among us are vulnerable to phenomena beyond our control: a SARS epidemic, a terrorist attack, global warming. In this sort of world, the European Dream, with its emphasis on inclusivity, diversity, sustainable development and interconnectedness, is the world's first attempt at creating a global consciousness. And it deserves our close attention.


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Old 11-01-2004, 06:19 AM   #2
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I still don't buy it, the demographics of Western Europe are still bulging up with the baby boom and the welfare statism is there to stay (those 20,000 or so elderly frenchmen and women that died in the summer heatwave - part of the problem lies in the system). The writer points out the way that the beurocrats attack American multinationals from properly breaking into these markets by using fearmongering over GM food products - protectionism by any other name.

Inclusivity, diversity and interconnectedness are just codewords to say that Europe cannot control immigration properly. Some astute observers have commented that if current demographic trends continue Europe will become for all intensive purposes an extension of the Arab world by the end of the century, I am not saying that they are right or wrong on the matter - there will be a big shift before that happens - but it is a possibility, we should at least ensure that the heirs to christendom are civilised.

The writer speaks of this overblown buerocracy as if it were utopia (I know they dismiss the Shangri La delusion later), high taxes hand in hand with government subsidised equality, the virtues of non-intervention in situations where swift multilateral millitary force may adequately solve the problem (Dafur for instance - we talk as they speed up the slaughter). Europe is not the new frontier, it is a set of has-been colonial powers clinging to delusions of grandeur as their economic sphere assimilates new dependents, when the US leaves Europe for good and the old protection is no longer there the balance will change, there will become a need for greater millitary spending, new threats will emerge and reality crack through and pull it all to a grinding halt. A superpower built on waging peace, an impossibility, such things are built on the money of war - just look at the arms industries in Europe, they may not want to fight the wars themselves but there is always a willing seller for the wanting buyer.

Me, I think that China (even though they are going nuts with development at the moment) has a lot of potential and could become a worthy adversy or an even worthier ally to the US in the 22nd Century than Europe, nations should have fixed interests and never fixed allies.

I am very sorry but I couldn't resist this

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Old 11-01-2004, 10:07 AM   #3
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Europe (...) is a set of has-been colonial powers clinging to delusions of grandeur as their economic sphere assimilates new dependents

- just look at the arms industries in Europe, they may not want to fight the wars themselves but there is always a willing seller for the wanting buyer.
I don´t buy the Arab world argument. My country had incredibly high immigration, true. That´s because of the collapse of the Soviet Union ´89, and most of the people were from the former Eastern block, which now is part ofthe EU (mostly for economic reasons, like the U.S. has cheap workers in Mexico, Europe has it cheaper in Slovakia, Poland, etc.) There isn´t that much immigration from the Arab world, and to see Europe as an "extension" is just ridiculous. Traditionally, there are many Moroccan immigrants in France, but thats a development over the last 2, 3 decades.

There is no fearmongering of GM products - the population just doesn´t accept them. After all, we don´t want to eat like Americans eat, which probably is a good thing, according to heart attack rates for fat food. Most Europeans like Bio-Stuff, in fact this has been the last big success wave of the food industry. Intelligent Europeans love to plant their own fruits and vegetables in a garden, because they know its without pesticides (We love tomatoes that can be squashed properly - they taste ok and that´s it).

Anyway, I agree with one point of your post (just for one time, A_Wanderer), the one I quoted above about colonial powers/ arms industry.

SD: yes, there is the European Constitution now, but many Europeans hate the EU because they fear to lose independency (which ultimately they do, in order to create a bigger power system that makes the rich ones richer and incorporates a multinational self - "defense" force with 100,000 soldiers). Anyway, there is the European dream too. And some of us hope there´s some good in that... I wouldn´t be that sure. My country lost its neutrality status (its still on paper, but not put into practise) for that matter, and we are just buying the new "Eurofighters", which are more expensive than standard F-16s.
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