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You mention the soft reasons, which are fine.
There's also a hard reason which is probably as important if not more - and that's BIG US contracts for military hardware - with or without kickbacks to the key politicians. If Merkel is weighing friction with Russia against a couple of thousand jobs in her constituency, she's likely to choose the latter.
by vladimir on Sun Dec 23rd, 2007 at 01:31:46 PM EST
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I deliberately did not include kickbacks because I don't believe that they're sufficiently common in (Northwestern) European political culture to seriously influence decisions. As for the economic dependency that seems absurd on the face of it - the rest of the world - including Europe - is subsidising the US to the tune of several billion (trillion?) € a year. No, I think it has to be psychological, because in terms of hard incentives, it makes no sense at all.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2007 at 01:47:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't call it economic dependency. Economic sweetener seems more appropriate. While indeed the US economy is subsidized to the tune of $1.3 trillion per year (roughly twice the Pentagon's annual budget), it's important to note that the lion's share of capital flowing into the US economy is private. So whereas Merkel can't say "I'm not going to support US deficits" in order to keep the money in Germany, she can say "I do want the Pentagon to sign a € 2 billion contract with Siemens".
Also, if you take a look at how the negotiations unfolded (see Migeru's post), Merkel was initially against deployment of the sites in Poland & CzRep. only to be swayed in favor later, after negotiations... or arm twisting. You wouldn't expect that from someone who believed in the Atlantic partnership.
To conclude, I think that large contracts are definitely in the play.
by vladimir on Sun Dec 23rd, 2007 at 03:05:28 PM EST
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Of course Merkel could deploy measures to keep private German money out of the US. But I think you've identified another reason for our little list: Dogmatic free-tradeism. There is a decided unwillingness to use restrictions in free trade and free flow of capital for political ends (at least as long as we're talking about restricting trade for white, English-speaking people). That puts Europe at a disadvantage, because it negates the objective economic advantage we have over the US.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2007 at 10:18:22 PM EST
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Well, after seeing both Aznar and Blair make big bucks on the US lecture circuit I'm not sure there isn't a lot of cold interested calculation and selling out for personal gain on the part of right-wing European leaders, of late. And Schröder got a job at Gazprom, where he may soon be joined by Putin.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 25th, 2007 at 02:55:01 PM EST
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