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Old versus New Europe

by wchurchill Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 01:35:28 AM EST

This term has come up a number of times in recent discussions, the latest example being on the Anglo-Saxon Model discussion.  It's often accompanied with comments  such as , paraphrasing, "American policy is to fight a strong EU", and America would not like a strong Europe set against its military might.

I believe the origination of this term, old vs. new Europe, was with Donald Rumsfeld, at a time when he was frustrated with the lack of support from Western Continental Europe for the Iraqi war.  He further felt that the Eastern European countries, who were showing at that time, more support for the Iraqi war, valued their newly won freedoms more, and therefore, in his opinion, were more willing to see the plight of free countries in light of the terrorist threat.  I don't recall, but it's likely that other like-minded Americans who thought as Rumsfeld might have voiced the same opinion.

But to leap from this statement of frustration on the part of one member of the administration, and conclude that American policy is to be against a strong Europe would be incorrect, IMHO.  A strong Europe economically is a major plus for American interests.  A growing Europe is a larger and vibrant market for American products, and a source for wonderful creative products and services for American consumers.  And Europe and American thinking, while divergent in many respects, is strongly allied in the most basic areas, such as the importance of freedom and democracy.  

As to military might, from an American perspective, why would it not be wonderful to have a strong Europe, which clearly shares the most fundamental of values with the US, with strong armed forces?  Able to defend itself, and solve it's own problems with its own military.  American taxpayers pay for those forces in Germany, and other locations around Europe.  While those troops and resources may have served American interests during the Cold War, why are they required now?  Those are funds that either could be spent on our own domestic programs, or could reduce our tax burdens, or, for the cynical amongst you, develop more sophisticated weapons to protect America.  Does America have to fear a new more powerful Europe attacking it with its military might?  I think not.  Does Europe have to be concerned in reverse?  It seems to me history shows that is clearly not the case, and common interests and ties only re-enforce that opinion.

Just some thoughts that have been brewing over the last few months, and were brought to a head in the Anglo-Saxon model discussion.


Display:
You seem to be taking all this stuff in good faith and at face value.  It's not an innocent concept that sprung up organically in the populace.  It was propaganda -- a talking point.  The phrases "Old Europe" and "the halls of Europe" were used repeatedly and deliberately in a coordinated effort to change public perception.

The old/new stuff is meaningless.  It was created by the PNAC crowd to sell the war.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 01:58:35 AM EST
Here's the wikipedia entry for PNAC.

As to this:  "As to military might, from an American perspective, why would it not be wonderful to have a strong Europe,"

Here's how they feel about that.  From PBS' Frontline:

The number one objective of U.S. post-Cold War political and military strategy should be preventing the emergence of a rival superpower.

"Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.

The feeling in this crowd was that the UN was obsolete, and the US should "show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order ...."

The administration didn't "bungle" the diplomacy with the UN in the lead up to invasion, they wanted to be the "leaders" who could take unilateral action.  They said the US "should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies' formed to deal with a particular crisis and which may not outlive the resolution of the crisis."

In other words, they didn't want to work with the UN.  They didn't want Europe to be a rival in a position of strength.  They cooked up the talking points and set out to marginalize Europe.  

Honestly, read through their stuff -- they're scary people and a bunch of them are in positions of power in this administration.  That whole PBS analysis should be required reading.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 03:46:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Izzy, the PBS Frontline article you reference abovewas
1.written in 1992
2.was a draft, and since it was a draft, we don't know in what stage of circulation for review and comment it was in; we don't know the task group's opinions on any of the statements
3.PBS is one of the most strident critics of Republican policy around, and they are the ones who chose the exerpts from this draft.

I'm afraid that since we are a few days short of 2006, 13+ years away from this edited draft, I would have to respectively disagree with your comment "that whole PBS analysis should be required reading".

by wchurchill on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 01:14:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I went to a 1992 source document to pull the quote -- did you even look around?  Read the wiki entry?  The article in the New Yorker explaining how our 2002 policy, the so-called "Bush Doctrine" resembled the 1992 draft?  The PBS site includes analysis, chronology, outside reading, sources, interviews with experts, and press reactions, covering the period of 1992 - 2003.  All very pertinent.

And it wasn't a "draft" like your rough draft for high-school English.  The papers submitted to government are all called drafts, since they're used to make policy documents.    The draft was classified, it was written by Wolfowitz, and it was re-written by Dick Cheney.  This paper was a distillation of their core beliefs for foriegn policy -- you can follow the other writings, drafts, speeches, and proposals, and see how it all springs from these core beliefs.  

Look on the wiki link for the members of PNAC -- it reads like a who's who of the administration -- Elliot Abrams, Dick Cheney, John Bolton, Lewis Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, William Bennet, Jeb Bush, Bruce Jackson (US committee on NATO, president), and Richard Perle.

You also seem to imply that because PBS has been strongly outspoken against Republican policy that they're somehow suspect -- "strident."  PBS has one of the most respected news departments in the nation -- it's not like they're some underground lefty rag.  They're also somewhat free of corporate influence.  

Maybe they're uniformly against the Republican's policies because those policies are so uniformly destructive to the republic.  What have they done?  An aggressive foriegn policy of unilateral, pre-emptive action.  The economy losing jobs, cutting social services, hobbling schools, and trying to hobble social security, massive deficit-spending on war, while giving tax breaks to the wealthy.  Attempting to pack the courts with pro-corporate judges who will not respect the seperation of church and state.  Leadership style based on fear.  Did I miss anything?  Maybe you can name some of their good policies -- I can't think of any.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 03:15:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Do you have any evidence they changed their minds? If not, this circumstance is irrelevant. (I have evidence against, see below.)
  2. Ah, the Cheney defense. Not too convincing, if you read the details. (To add to what the NYT wrote back then: I suspect the leak was by someone around Powell just with the intent to prevent it.)
  3. Do you claim this excerpt is out of context? If not, your point is irrelevant. And if yes, I note this was big enough a scandal in Europe in 1992 (and since) for PBS being irrelevant.

Now. There was the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance, and its slightly milder update by Cheney - which now 'only' spoke about convincing allies that they don't need a stronger military posture for their own defense.

Later on, there was the PNAC's 2000 "Rebuilding America's Defenses" [pdf!]. This talks about maintaining American military preeminence and securing American geopolitical leadership (which precludes a strong Europe implicitely), it explicitely names the maintenance of 'balance of power' in Europe as the second thier of US hegemony, argues for continued US presence on the Balkans and maintaining military bases in Western Europe explicitely as the means to maintain US leadership in Europe, and, even more explicit:

...in light of the nascent European moves toward an independent defense 'identity' and policy; it is important that NATO not be replaced by the European Union, leaving the United States without a voice in European security affairs

Then all was made official in the 2002 National Security Strategy, which - as an official public document, and one already past the shattering of a few illusions about existing US dominance - is less explicit but more implicit. In that document, the EU is treated as solely an economic unit. The late welcome of EU moves to have its own security are framed with NATO. The pro-alliances text contains a mine: a half-sentence about "mission-based coalitions" - which is code-word for the "Coalitions of the Willing", which is code-word for a weak and divided Europe.

I close this with one stellar example from the NSS of why official documents shouldn't be taken at face value - 2002 NSS, end of point II:

We will champion the cause of human dignity and oppose those who resist it.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 03:20:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, DoDo, I'm feeling mighty slow this morning.  I'm not sure I'm conveying the info properly so I appreciate this clear and consice explanation in addition to my (perhaps muddled?) rant above.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 03:31:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm feeling mighty slow this morning.

Don't suppose I'm any faster - this was certainly not those five minutes' work :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 03:54:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But this really wasn't my point.  My point is that we are in 2006.  We have up to date policy statements that the US is following that are based on world events of today--ie, increased terrorism, 9/11, wars in Afghanastan and Iraq. The question I'm raising on the military side is
It's often accompanied with comments  such as , paraphrasing, ,,,,,America would not like a strong Europe set against its military might..............As to military might, from an American perspective, why would it not be wonderful to have a strong Europe, which clearly shares the most fundamental of values with the US, with strong armed forces?  Able to defend itself, and solve it's own problems with its own military.  American taxpayers pay for those forces in Germany, and other locations around Europe.  While those troops and resources may have served American interests during the Cold War, why are they required now?
I don't find it particularly shocking to find that there are elements of common thinking between the Republican party that left power in 1992, and the Republican party that returned to power in 2001--particularly since, as is very common during such changeovers, some of the same players return.  Dennis Ross in some of your referenced material says;
Explain to me, if you can, the relation between the '92 document and Bush's 2002 National Security Strategy.

I wouldn't overstate the relationship, but I do think some of its concepts, some of its intellectual premises, were picked up in the year 2002. I think the critical thing about looking at a new architecture internationally, recognizing the threats were very different, some of that was certainly picked up, but then refined and developed and made much more comprehensive.

I would find this shocking if it were not the case.

But my point, expressed in my second comment to your post, was why don't we go to up to date policy statments that directly address the question I was posing--current policy statements that I reference.

But I have the answer on my military question--Dodo and Izzy (and it seems most on this site) believe that the US is not willing to give up power, and support this with the point that the US thinks of European military power in a NATO context.  I'll have to read the national security strategy again to get a better understanding of that.  I admit that it is not inconsistent with the the policy statement that I quoted from the military.  And I'll continue to try to find some reading on the conflict Dodo mentions where the US explicitly took a stand against a Euroforce independent of NATO.  That discussion would be interesting to me, since I think we should pull out of Europe, and NATO to the extent of its military component.  American troops and strategic assets should be used in areas where they can be put to better use, IMHO.

by wchurchill on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 04:56:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't find it particularly shocking to find that there are elements of common thinking between the Republican party that left power in 1992, and the Republican party that returned to power in 2001... I would find this shocking if it were not the case.

Then you should be shocked.  When PNAC wrote this stuff, it did not reflect the thinking of the Republican party in 1992.  If reflected the thinking of a radical, fringe element made up of both Republicans and former Democrats -- the so-called neo-cons.  

What is shocking is that these policies have been put in place by the current administration.  These policies do not reflect traditional conservative values or thinking.  The Republican party of 1992 was embarrassed by this stuff.

Dodo and Izzy (and it seems most on this site) believe that the US is not willing to give up power

Actually, I wasn't arguing about our stance on anything.  I was pointing out that the "Old Europe" talking point was propaganda and didn't reflect any common thinking.  I think that too often, wchurchill, you are trying to reconcile what's going on politically with your experiences and reality.  You're trying to make these things make sense somehow, and coming up with theories on how they came to be.

I can't emphasize strongly enough that the actions of this administration do not reflect the values or desires of the American people, nor the function and will of its government as it was designed to operate, and as thousands of civil servants strive to uphold.  

There have been massive efforts to convince the populace that this administration is acting according to the popular will, but it's all rhetoric.  The will of the people and this administration's actions do not match, although the administration is working hard to change "reality" and bend our will to their ends.  "Old Europe" is right up there with "Clear skies" "Healthy Forrests," and "No child left behind" -- meaningless tripe.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 07:20:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
world" phrase to segue from the Anglo-Saxon Model discussion to this diary.  The quote from that diary was
Bush's America doesn't seem to want a strong Europe (example: old vs new Europe type of comment)
And this quote in and of itself wasn't so important, it was just the last in a culmination of comments that  led me to believe that many have the opinion that US policy is to undermine a strong Europe, both in an economic sense, and a military sense.  So I just segued from the above quote to the following issues
and (to) conclude that American policy is to be against a strong Europe would be incorrect, IMHO.  A strong Europe economically is a major plus for American interests.............As to military might, from an American perspective, why would it not be wonderful to have a strong Europe, which clearly shares the most fundamental of values with the US, with strong armed forces?,,,,,
So I just wanted to put this issue on the table and see if I was correctly interpretting this viewpoint.  I'm sorry if that was confusing to you.  
by wchurchill on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 08:30:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry I didn't get back to you -- my computer's been down.

Thanks for the apology, but I wasn't confused.  I understood what you were saying, but... look, if someone starts a discussion with the phrase "as revealed in prophecy" and then goes on to give some perfectly acceptable analysis of something -- it's going to derail the conversation.  People who don't believe in the prophecy aren't going to just let it slide.

Same thing here with using a propaganda term as a jumping-off point for discussion.  You throw "Old Europe" in there like it's a real thing, a valid concept.  You even provide a scenario of how it came to be (Rumsfeld was frustrated).  So it's not that I don't understand what you're saying, it's that I don't accept your premise.  

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2005 at 05:53:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
point well taken.  Actually I began to regret the way I had written the diary as our discussion evolved.  The segue was really not necessary, and in fact just provided two paragraphs of reading that was not necessary--and likely a little confusing.
by wchurchill on Tue Dec 27th, 2005 at 07:33:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, and no worries -- it happens with writing all the time.

Hope you had a nice Christmas.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2005 at 08:43:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Christmas was great, thanks.  and I hope you had the same, and will have a happy, and safe, New Years.  WC
by wchurchill on Tue Dec 27th, 2005 at 10:51:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
out of Europe into area where they are more needed? I think he announced this sometime in 2005.
Just as an aside. How many US politicians have repeatedly asked for Europe to pay more for its own "defence" as they phrase it?
Oh and while on NATO lets not forget the economic advantage to the huge US military industrial complex of having an organization like NATO dominated by the US and requiring a certain shall we say standardization of military equipment. I would definitely think the US wants to see all European military within the confines of NATO!  
by observer393 on Tue Dec 27th, 2005 at 12:25:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there has been one announcement about redeploying some troops out of Germany, but it's far from closing all the bases in Germany.

it wouldn't surprise me if there are arguments, or discussions, about who should pay for what.  another advantage to the US getting out, and allowing Europe to run, and pay for, the whole show.

I don't know how the supply policies of NATO work.  and perhaps the US would lose some advantage--I don't know who has the contracts.  but issues like that go away with independent european and american forces.

by wchurchill on Tue Dec 27th, 2005 at 12:45:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In all respect I have to say that just because a document is a bit out of date doesn't mean that its out of circulation and policy.  The Constitution is one such out of date document, but it is by no means an out dated document (although some people obviously seem to think so, read the Bush administration).

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 12:09:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True, but the policy for 1992 was written for the times and environment in 1992.  Since our policies are updated frequently based on new events, and certainly 9/11, terror rather than cold war are new events, why not use policy documents that are written for today's world situation?

I would view the Constitution as more of a vision and statement of values, so you would not expect it to be updated as frequently.  But even with the constitution, it has been updated with the Bill of Rights and other Constitutional ammendments.  It has also been updated in an interpretative sense by court decisions.  So even in its case, if you are trying to apply it to today, you would need to look at these ammendments and judicial interpretations.

So I guess it depends upon what you are investigating, to determine what you want to read.  I certainly agree with you that for many purposes, going back to the original constitution makes a lot of sense.  I just didn't feel that same analogy would apply to what we were trying to glean out of this policy discussion.

by wchurchill on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 01:20:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, my point was that even if the document is written a while ago it's not excluded as a policy paper for the future.  According to the Frontline article the Wolfowitz paper was written after the demise of the Soviet Union.  There was no other rival superpower at the time.  That's why I really can't see this as a current affairs paper but more of a long term policy paper, hence the title; "Defence Planning Guidance."  

The paper talks about; "Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival.(...)These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.(...)First the U.S must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. and finally; "The draft relies on seven scenarios in potential trouble spots to make its argument -- with the primary case studies being Iraq and North Korea.(...)the U.S. "should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies" formed to deal with a particular crisis and which may not outlive the resolution of the crisis.

The document states that what is most important is "the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S." and that "the United States should be postured to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated" or in a crisis that calls for quick response. The terms used are general and not pointing to current affairs, typical signs of a policy paper to be used as a general guideline for the future.

All this can be clearly recognized in the foreign and security policy of the current Bush administration. So it seems that this policy paper wasn't that outdated after all. The political facts of the current US administration combined with the fact that two of the main architects of this policy paper (Wolfowitz and Cheney) both were members of the PNAC (Project for a new American Century) and has been and still are prominent member of the Bush administration are more than sufficient to draw the conclusion that this long-term policy paper are alive and kicking.

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 01:30:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for highlighting those quotes! Worth to highlight even more some parts:

a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.

While Wolfowitz's draft explicitely names Western Europe as a rival to prevent, the above line which logically follows that, was retained in subsequent versions. Which means: 'we don't state it, but we think the same'.

the U.S. "should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies"

I didn't realise that the 'Coalition of the Willing' was an idea with such long a history!

act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated

Re-read the 2002 National Security Strategy in this light - what its rhetorical touch about supporting alliances really means.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 02:45:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are welcome!  I think that your quote; "we don't state it, but we think the same", is a key to understanding much of the policies of the current US administration.  These guys are planners and have been a round for a while "lurking in the shadows" just waiting for a chance to put their political visions into action.  Although I can't say that much of their work have been that accurate.  Just look at the mess they have stirred up in Iraq, more US soldier killed in the aftermath of the war than during the war.

 

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 04:11:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
good points, but my question is a little more simple.  The 1992 paper was a circulated draft, being put out for dialogue and comment.  It was not completed, with everyone's input and signoff because the Republicans lost the election.  It was a first step at new direction in this post-cold war period.  And it of course did not include things we now know, events, etc,,that have occured in the intervening 13 years.

Now, if this was the only policy document we had to review--sure, we would live with that.  But there are current policy documents that have gone through the vetting of this current administration, are written with knowledge of the intervening 13 years, and carry 13 more years of thinking and developing of the concepts.  Why not primarily rely on the written policies of today's government--which are current?

I'm not intending to argue that the 1992 stuff should be totally ignored.  And I agree with your points that there are similarities between the policies, for the reasons you state--it was a Repbulican document and some of the plahyers are clearly the same.  But put yourself in such a position--other members of your business, or your political party, wrote draft documents 8 years earlier, and your group, or party, comes back into the position of running things.  You personally were not involved in the 1992 plans.  Wouldn't it make sense for you to go back and read those documents as a starting point?  But wouldn't you then update them, maybe even totally reject them if you disagreed, but let's say you agree with 60+% of it--wouldn't you want to make changes to things you don't agree with, to then gain the consensus of your new team (only some of whom were involved in 1992), put your own imprint on the document, and then expect people to accept this as your policies and plans--rather than having people go back to an old document that you (analogy to W, now) didn't write, and have them ask you to defend that old document.  You know, this happens in business all the time--new guy comes in, and gets his own chance to review past plans,,he develops new plans that he's committed to, normally with a lot of similarity to the old documents, but perhaps some key changes.  He'll get challenged as he presents the new plan,,,,but once accepted (and bush has been in power for 5+ years and re-elected which is a sign of acceptance in a democracy)--it just seems to me logical to accept the new plans, and base criticisms and review of results based on the new plans.  The note that I was initially responding to addressed only the 1992 plan and some thinking of one of the think tanks.  No reference to current policy documents initially, though the 2002 strat plan document came up in later discussion.  

It just seemed to put emphasis in the wrong place, to me anyway.

by wchurchill on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 02:52:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it is true that the 1992 paper was rejected by the current US administration (Bush sr., more sensible than his son it seems), but only because it was another fraction of the Republican Party ruling at the time, and no it didn't include "things we now know, events, etc,,that have occurred in the intervening 13 years" because it couldn't and didn't need to, it was a "visionary" paper (for the lack of a better word), outlining the defence policy of the US for the future in general terms. The 1992 paper was then incorporated into the PNAC plan hammered out by the think tank members at the time.  

I am quite sure that also policy papers are made for the current situation, that is what much of the bureaucracy is about and 9/11 meant a temporary suspension of those plans, but the PNAC people in the administration have since then refocused their foreign policy on Iraq, North Korea and Iran and systematically reduced the presence of US forces in Afghanistan and redeployed them in Iraq.  And now its seems as if the neocons have managed to put the PNAC train on it's original track once more.

In your third paragraph you say that the new members of the 2000 Bush administration must have wanted to put their mark on the policy to come and not just accept up front something they had not been a part of.  Well, back in the 1990s when Schultz and some other guys approached Bush jr. and persuaded him to run for White House office, he was well aware of their plans, remember that his brother Jeb had been a member of the PNAC think tank from the start and that many of the PNAC people had been personal friends of the Bush family for a long time. When they suggested Bush running for President they already had the plan ready and Bush was just to happy to accept it because as he have admitted himself;"this foreign policy stuff is so darn difficult" ( I am sure my quote is not dead on accurate, but the content of it is). His knowledge, interest and experience with foreign policy are rather limited.

In essence this foreign policy has been with him from day one even if he has not been the architect of it and many of the players in this administration is also the ones that put this policy together, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bolton, Pearl and Wolfowitz and thus feel that this policy is very much their own. It is not the old school Republicans that is running this administration at the moment and that is why people like Scowcroft, Powell and even Bush sr. has criticized their policies.

(Let's hope that Jeb doesn't finally deceides to run for the presidency in 2007 for the better of both the US and the rest of the world).

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.

by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 05:19:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are hundreds of think tanks in Washington, and the PNAC is an important one.  But on issues such as what American policy is today, I prefer to go directly to the source, which I think in this case is the "United States Mission to NATO" and the relevant policy statement
Defense Policy and Military Capabilities

The U.S. continues to work for implementation of the NATO Defense Capabilities Initiative (DCI) in order to ensure that all Allies possess the military capabilities required for future Alliance operations. As Kosovo demonstrated, many Allies have only limited capabilities for the rapid deployment of significant forces outside national territory or for extended operations and protection of forces far from home bases. To remedy these and other shortfalls, DCI targets improvement of deploy ability and mobility of Alliance forces, as well as sustainability, survivability, effective engagement, and command and control and information systems.

 The U.S. and its Allies are committed to strengthen the European pillar within NATO through the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI). Further development of ESDI will reinforce the transatlantic partnership by enabling European Allies both to make more cohesive and effective contributions to the missions and activities of the Alliance, and to act themselves when required. As part of this, the EU currently plans to form a 60,000 troop rapid reaction force that would undertake certain crisis management operations where NATO is not engaged militarily. NATO will make available to an EU-led operation its assets and capabilities when the Alliance has chosen not to be directly involved. ESDI commits Allies to enhance their defense capabilities, which will be available to both NATO and the EU.

These statements are what the budget and actions of the military are based upon--obviously there are inputs from many organizations and individuals on these statements, and the programs and funding that results.  But the PNAC is only one of many inputs, so why not look at the final stew, rather than just one of hundreds of ingredients.
by wchurchill on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 01:30:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the issue of ESDI is another example of the US policy to prevent the rise of a strong EU. When the EU started out with the idea of Euroforce, the US government first tried to prevent it (with diplomatic blackmail), claiming who needs that if there is NATO, then tried to put it under check through NATO. (It achieved partial success.) Maybe you haven't read much of this in the US press, but this was a battle fought for years and was all over the European press.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 01:36:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I googled this, but found kind of contradictory things, likewhich seems to say there is a Euroforce, in '03 anyway, and it was actually being deployed.  And thiswhich seems to re-enforce that this group actually exists.  Your comment on US coverage is right from my perspective, because I barely remember hearing of it--maybe a faint glimmer somewhere.  

I hope this effort exists, continues, and gains speed.  I just have trouble seeing a long range need for NATO today.  I think a EU supported military would have significant advantages to everyone.  And though Europe and America disagree on all kinds of issues, I really think the fundamental beliefs and values are far too close for the two unions not to have a very strong partnership in the future--certainly not warring against each other.  though perhaps not always supporting each others actions.

I would think getting the UK and France and other members on the same page would be a challenge.  And then of course funding this effort would be necessary by the EU.  I may be wrong, but I would think there would be a groundswell of American opinion that would support removing our troops, cutting our spending, and having a strong partner with similar values.

by wchurchill on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 02:23:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I googled this, but found kind of contradictory things

No contradiction here - you possibly mis-read when I wrote "...then tried to put it under check through NATO." What that means is: once the US government saw that the EU will forge ahead with Euroforce, its strategy was to lobby for an Euroforce that is dependent on the NATO and can only act if the NATO doesn't. As before, the 'arguments' included threats of blocking European military through NATO, withdrawal of funds, blocking at other international fora, diplomatic pressure, and pushing closer allies within the EU to threat veto on these issues. In the end, Euroforce was indeed born with severe handicaps. (I note the EU has members who aren't NATO members, so the outright NATO reference caused quite some consternation in those countries.)

And though Europe and America disagree on all kinds of issues, I really think the fundamental beliefs and values are far too close for the two unions not to have a very strong partnership in the future--certainly not warring against each other.

I'm not so sure it's some fundamental beliefs and values. Not that some wouldn't be there in the respective populations, even politicians, but I doubt that counts that much in daily politics - and after all, Europe had a lot of terrible wars despite even more shared fundamental beliefs and values. But instead, economic and other ties and the scale of mutual destruction a major conflict (be it economic or military) would bring should work against strong conflicts.

I would think there would be a groundswell of American opinion that would support removing our troops, cutting our spending, and having a strong partner with similar values.

Convince your politicians, too :-) On the other hand, I must note I don't wish an EU that is a mirror image of the US, I don't wish an EU with a military like the US. Instead predominantly peacekeepers, and preferably bound into a UN framework if acting beyond Europe (preferably = if the UN can be made to work again after Bolton & co try to wreck it).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 03:51:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And in very concrete terms, the USa do not want the emergence of a strong European defense industry and do all they can to sabotage it. I have friends working at EADS and you would not believe the pettiness of the permanent warfare ongoing at governmental levels on procurement issues.

That's one thing on which France and the USa have been fighting relentlessly over the past 50 years, with France keen to keep an independent industrial capacity, and also conscious that it was increasingly hard to do it on its own, and thus trying to do it at the European level. Thus the French nuclear capacity, Arianespace for space launchers, Airbus, and now Galileo - all projects that happened despite vicious US hostility, and only because the French pushed them relentlessly.

I'm sorry to bring France into this again, but the fact is that the only country that has pushed for Europe to have an independent voice - and pushed for Europe to have some ability to speak up, is France. Others did not want to, or could not go against US wishes and were happy with the American umbrella. That tension has never been resolved.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 02:27:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have seen some of this as well,,,probably not as tied in as you.  And I agree that this is one industry where the US would view that it is a critical industry to national interests.  And I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of hardball is played here.  Sometimes also true of just very large contracts--airplaanes, ships,,,where lots of jobs are involved depending on who wins.  (Maybe at a lighter level, it's France vs the UK for the Olympic Games?,,,or was it world cup).  But for me, this is just the way of the world,,competition day to day.  i don't think the intention is to weaken the opponent in a broad sense--ie. giving them a weaker economy.  it's just wanting to win,,and we all do that in competitive games.
by wchurchill on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 03:11:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You missed the same point here - it's not just rivals spatting, it's Europe creating rivals that weren't there (see all four on Jérôme's list), and both US rivals and US governments trying to prevent it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 03:31:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...and to emphasize: if a government of a dominant power doesn't like to see the emergence of rivals to its strategic industries, no that is not at all unnatural, it is even understandable; but the original discussion was about whether the (current) US government really wants an (economically) strong Europe - or an economically dependent one (at least in those strategic industries).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 04:00:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sure, but the US is not the only one that will fight over strategic industries--both sides will. the US will win some and lose others.   and strategic industries are not going to represent a significant proportion of GDP--just look at the proportion of GDP or stock market capitalization this is defense items that would be considered strategic.
by wchurchill on Tue Dec 27th, 2005 at 12:55:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been following this debate only since today, so it has been interesting reading and a fair discussion.

Your point: Both sides will fight over strategic industries. Sure, they will - when they are there. Europe missed and is still missing a few of the strategic industries that can oppose US industries, and hence, its economy. Euroforce is a clear enough example and its initial proposal got successfully botched. Jerome mentioned a few others, like Airbus and Galileo. There are more, for exmaple CERN, and although that is a more multi-national project, it's (by right) a European prestige project, which has left the US (still?) frustrated.

by Nomad on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 09:52:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and strategic industries are not going to represent a significant proportion of GDP

Isn't just that the point with strategic industries - they are significant beyond their pure money value? (They are in some essential locus of the economy, or are a strong power-politics lever.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 11:01:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good points - and it's not just the neocons. Zbigniev Brzezinski was rather explicit in his book:
To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 01:31:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The term old Europe is not neccessarily bad. In Asia a lot of countries ncluding China are happy to see a more reasonable and less aggressive old europe as a counter balance to the overly aggressive and arrogant US. Old Europe is also seen a possible brake on the US.
This dynamic of how Europe fits in between the dominnt US and rapidly emerging China will be interesting to watch over the next few decades.
by observer393 on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 03:38:25 AM EST
that is an interesting perspective,,,hmmm.  A stronger Europe on a military basis might also do this--but you're right that Europe plays that role just as it is today.  interesting,,,
by wchurchill on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 03:04:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are plenty of people in southern Africa I've met who vie for a stronger position themselves, but are also deeply rooting for Europe to counter balance American over-dominance on the world market and scene.
by Nomad on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 09:55:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.
The European old-new problem is caused by a Tony Blair showing loyalty to the U.S. through unequivocal support for Bush in the Iraq invasion and occupation, the Weapons Mass Desinformation, without reservations for the majority opinion of the European nations. The old feud lines became clear and division was fueled by Rumsfeld's remark at a Pentagon press conference, in a reply to a question from Dutch reporter Charles Groenhuijsen.

There was a declaration of European nations through a published letter in support of U.S. Iraq policy, intented to highlight the division and the Bush line: "You are either with us with the terrorists". The worst was the frenzy with the position of France, Congress passing the Freedom Fries act and MSM bashing the cheese eating monkeys liberated in two world war confrontations with Germany.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."
 

▼▼▼ READ MY DIARY ▼

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 06:55:56 AM EST
I agree with this.  the US was trying to use every trick in the book to gain support for the Iraq war.  But that doesn't mean they are against a strong Europe economically or militarily.  Some form of this kind of effort will always happen when one country is looking for help.
by wchurchill on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 03:02:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no one American position on this. For the neocons, the emergence of any other real military power is alarming. Taking from the realpolitik school, they believe in a plurality of strengths and voices as long as there is one choirmaster...namely the US. So, yes, Europe could be a threat simply by not being in the choir.

But this position brings us to an irony that is larger than the new-old Europe largely rhetorical split. (I say that since polls in the East European states consistently showed populations that were against the committing of troops. What Rumsfeld didn't understand was that average people in the East were just as tired of being led around by a superpower as they were enamored with their political freedoms (populations in Poland and Romania were a little more acommodating).

Why, then, are the neocons not only allowing, but actually PAYING for the rise of the Chinese military through the diasterous US economic policies of the last five years is simply unexplainable...at least to me. Policies which clearly give the Chinese government millions upon millions of dollars for developing an army that will match the US army in a matter of a decade or less. This runs counter to the neocon realpolitik.

by gradinski chai on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 09:36:45 AM EST
All of the comments so far have focused on the military aspects of the diary.
A strong Europe economically is a major plus for American interests.  A growing Europe is a larger and vibrant market for American products, and a source for wonderful creative products and services for American consumers.  And Europe and American thinking, while divergent in many respects, is strongly allied in the most basic areas, such as the importance of freedom and democracy.
And that's not surprising as I think about it.  But I was actually more interested in seeing if you felt US policy was somehow opposed to a Europe that is strong and growing economically.  Any comments of this aspect of the diary?
by wchurchill on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 01:35:00 PM EST
Hm, I think the trade wars (Airbus vs. Boeing, cell phone standards, Galileo, etc.) and the neocon role in it should at least imply unease with an economically strong Europe. Another issue is that of global imbalances and US bubbles. While I'm not sure this was (or at least started) as conscious policy, but it remains a fact that the European trade surplus was for long offset by an even larger financial deficit, that is, the US bubbles suck/sucked off even more capital from Europe. Which is (was) definitely not good for the European economy - it would have been better if more money had been invested here by companies, or had been spent by the state after collecting it as tax, or had been spent by workers who'd gotten payrises or would have not been fired in ratiolalisations that weren't needed to stop losses, only to raise profit margins. Now, that's reality, as I see it. In an ideal world, of course, I agree that an economically strong Europe should be seen as good for the USA both in rhetoric and actual policy.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 02:06:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there is always going to be competition between countries working to maintain there own self interest--in a business sense.  So fights over airplane production, etc. etc. etc. will always exist.  But that is just the comppetition driven by businesses.  A similar battle would have occured if the Airbus was in New York and the Boeing product in California.  In fact we just saw that in the settling of how some recent military, or naval, decision got made--and they split the baby, putting half the project in one state and half in another--keeping both ports/shipyards open.  I think it might have been something like Maine vs. Loouisiana--but Maine wasn't hoping the Louisiana economy would go to hell--they just wanted the contract for themselves, and vice versa.
by wchurchill on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 02:59:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there is always going to be competition between countries working to maintain there own self interest--in a business sense.  So fights over airplane production, etc. etc. etc. will always exist.  But that is just the comppetition driven by businesses.

It's not that simple. In these transatlantic spats, the US side was often trying to prevent the appearance of a rival in some field, not its success.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 03:25:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're confusing a number of levels here.

The executives and workers at Boeing (to take an example) are basically paid to make aeroplanes. They want to win the contract to keep their jobs, etc.

The US Secretary of State for Labour is paid to think about the economy, he too (within limits) has to take the view that winning the contract for Boeing is a good thing.

These two groups are, as you suggest, likely not maliciously seeking the end of Airbus, they are more focused on winning the contract. And indeed, if they lose a contract here or there, the main focus of action is internal: [Company] "Can we design a better plane? Make it cheaper? Market it better?"; [SSLabour]"Can we improve skills/education to make it easier for Boeing to recruit? Can we cut the red tape to make them more competitive?"

(Please all commenters note that I am perfectly aware that there exist people at all levels and on both sides who aren't against a little "hardball" or dirty tricks, but that is not the issue of this post.)

However, the US government, like all governments, have other constituencies. Let us call one of these the Secretary of State for Defense. His job is to consider these issues from the point of view of National Security. He may well take a different view on why there should not be an effective, non-US controlled, large-aircraft maker in the world. For him, this may represent a strategic loss of control.

Here however, we have an actor whose locus of action is essentially external. His aim is not win the next contract, but to prevent the genesis of a foreign body capable of competing for those contracts. Thus his tools will involve diplomacy in all it's soft and hard forms.

Now, in essence, the question posed is, who influences the actions of the US government?

The answer: all of them, but who has the most influence?

Whilst every government, like every human, is a grab bag of motives and concerns, it is possible to identify a shift in the actions of the US government away from "internal" measures to support a company like Boeing, to "diplomatic" means to spoil the genesis of projects like Airbus.

This may or may not be for sound reasons from a USA point of view, but it's equally not necessarily an act of "friendly competition."

You've said you feel that you have the military aspects down, so maybe this comment was superfluous.

I'll post another about economics in a bit, if I get chance.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 05:31:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You said it much better than I could!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 05:36:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree totally with this, and you have said it very well.  
by wchurchill on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 06:09:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wish I had had an economics teacher with your skill to put these things in logical order!
by Nomad on Wed Dec 28th, 2005 at 10:00:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
wchurchill, before I gather my thoughts on the economic aspect, a further comment on the military one - from a 'new European' viewpoint:
He further felt that the Eastern European countries, who were showing at that time, more support for the Iraqi war, valued their newly won freedoms more, and therefore, in his opinion, were more willing to see the plight of free countries in light of the terrorist threat.
To show just how much you are taking at face value something that was only spin, I note that not only were 60-80% of the populations here against the Iraq war, but most of those supposedly 'freedom-loving' Central-Eastern European governments were ex-reformed-communist ones at the time! (Even in the Czech Republic, where then President and ex-dissident Václav Havel was one pro voice, the then government was ex-communist too.) It wasn't a coalition of freedom-lovers - it was a second Warshaw Pact. Furthermore, the alliance of these countries was secured with both blackmail and bribes (or at least promises of bribes). As for blackmail, in Hungary's case, what went on in public was a negative media campaign (I wrote a diary about this and other stuff). The bribe part was promises of contracts in Iraq, and contracts with the US Army at a base in Hungary. BTW, Rumsfeld's term 'New Europe' made these governments a bit uneasy (and some of their citizens offended) - and in many of these countries it wasn't adopted for use at all. The reason is that the majority of CEE countries is not new at all, and joining the EU was in part pursued due to the emotional need be recognised as integral part of Europe again (after half a century behind the Iron Curtain).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 01:55:16 PM EST
Please don't assume that I took this at face value, that l assumed that Rummy was right.
I don't recall, but it's likely that other like-minded Americans who thought as Rumsfeld might have voiced the same opinion.
I didn't mean to imply that I was one of those like-minded Americans.  

In this diary, I was just trying to frame for people where this old vs new world terminology came from, and actually to argue that this does not represent American policy, either then or now.  As hopefully can be seen from my comments as a whole, I'm for a strong Europe both militarily and economically, as I see advantages for both sides in that situation--a better place than today.  

by wchurchill on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 02:52:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please don't assume that I took this at face value, that l assumed that Rummy was right.

No, no :-) What I meant is that you believe Rummy believed what he said - that you believe he was making honest (if wrong) arguments, rather than making rhetoric.

Please re-read what I wrote in that light. In essence, I'm arguing about circumstances that must have been very well known to Rumsfeld.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Dec 26th, 2005 at 03:28:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with the sentiment in this diary. It seems to me that most Americans do not have a problem with a strong Europe, but rather with a strong Russia (n.b.  Putin's announcement this week of a new deployment of ICBMs) or a strong China.

While it is obviously not a completely fair sentiment, I would also say that most Americans truly wish that Europe would just get on with it and solve her own problems. It was ridiculous for Clinton to send American forces to Kosovo, for example.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/336022.stm

by asdf on Tue Dec 27th, 2005 at 12:21:06 AM EST


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