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Reasons for despair: this is a victory?

by Colman Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 06:55:49 AM EST

This caught my eye over the weekend.

Gordon Brown scored a significant, morale-boosting diplomatic victory over French president Nicolas Sarkozy last night when Downing Street announced that he will be the first EU leader to meet President Barack Obama at the White House.

After weeks of behind-the-scenes lobbying by the French and British governments, Number 10 revealed that the prime minister had pipped his French rival to the post, securing an audience with the president on 3 March. British officials stressed that the meeting was proof that the "special relationship" between Britain and the US remained as strong as ever.

Privately, there was delight at Number 10 that Brown, who is struggling in the opinion polls as the economy goes from bad to worse, had got one over his French rival and would have a chance to raise his profile as a world leader alongside the new president.

Just as well there's nothing important happening in the world, eh?


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I'd try to make  a clever play on painting them as teenagers, but the all the teenagers I know are less shallow than that.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 07:03:17 AM EST
I despaired when Spain scored a diplomatic victory to be gracefully given a seat by Sarko at the G20 summit in November.

For weeks there was lots of gnashing of teeth over whether Spain would have its international weight recognised in this way, and not a word about what Spain's position would be at the summit. I still don't know what the Spanish delegation said there.

When there was a mini-summit of Barroso, Brown and Sarko, it was interpreted as a snub of Merkel and there was some controversy about it. But Spain was happy to not be invited to that summit where, allegedly, Europe's economic stimulus was hashed out.

Frans de Waal has likened politics to the social structure of a pack of chimpanzees. He might be more right than we care to admit.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 07:58:21 AM EST
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Ook.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 08:09:10 AM EST
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Are you going librarian on me now?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 08:10:07 AM EST
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The donkey from Shrek came to mind.

"Pick me! Pick me!"

by Torres on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 10:11:07 AM EST
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/facepalm

Money is a sign of Poverty - Culture Saying
by RogueTrooper on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 07:13:02 AM EST
when the goal is to be seen as the "most serious" with "serious" defined as "in line with the neolib, America first  common wisdom" and the referees being the Villagers (ie Beltway insiders), these things do matter.

And hey, Obama changed everything: it's cool to be a vassal again.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 07:13:45 AM EST
How can anyone see this as anything except pathetic? I'm having trouble imagining that world-view right now.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 07:14:40 AM EST
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Once you get that 'serious' = 'fool' everything else starts to make sense again.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 07:26:54 AM EST
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The spinmeisters must be desperate for good news in the current circumstances. And I suppose any points scored against the French are good to take.

You're clearly a dangerous pinko commie pragmatist.
by Vagulus on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 08:34:47 AM EST
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We might all be vassals here.  Dropped another big chunk of dough today, who knows, we may not be able to afford an empire.  What was it Churchill said, something about, not becoming Prime Minister to preside over the end of the British Empire.  There is quite a bit of dissatisfaction in this country about the failure to institute real change.  Question I have is whether we have a government that can manage change or whether the two party federal constituional system we have is so archaic that it just flat can't respond.  I don't know the answer for sure, but its very worrisome.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 06:13:18 PM EST
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Well, that clearly counts as a victory after Sarkozy scored this
French president Nicolas Sarkozy has threatened to boycott the April NATO summit celebrating the 60th anniversary of the organisation, unless he is allowed to choose where he sits at the conference table.

The president appears not to want to follow the established rules whereby seating is arranged by alphabetical order. Instead, he has insisted he should be seated next to NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, according to a report in German Spiegel Online.

The French president knows exactly where he wants to sit at the NATO table (Photo: NATO)

Under a compromise deal, Mr Sarkozy would sit on Mr de Hoop Scheffer's right whenever TV cameras are in the room, while German chancellor Angela Merkel would sit to the left of the NATO chief.

(EUObserver 16.02.2009)

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 07:35:57 AM EST
You couldn't make it up

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 07:39:40 AM EST
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What would be the need, with the kinds of leaders we get these days?

The thought occurs to me that maybe it was this way with earlier leaders, but they and the press were more circumspect about their motives.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 07:51:48 AM EST
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Is there any doubt the US is an Empire? "weeks of behind-the-scenes lobbying" for "an audience" with "the new President".

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 07:38:01 AM EST
Not in Brown's or Sarko's "minds".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 07:40:22 AM EST
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Are you kidding? They're vying to be the first to appear next to the emperor to see if some of it rubs off...

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 07:49:21 AM EST
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There is no doubt in their minds that the US is an empire is what I meant.

But since I've been gibbering for the last two days I'm not the best judge of clarity right now.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 07:50:30 AM EST
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Sorry, I read your "not" as "it is not an empire", not as "there is not a doubt".

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 07:50:13 AM EST
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This is a sin and a crime.  I plead 'overwhelming curiosity.'  I clicked on 'Post Comment' though I was instructed not to do so.  I just want to know what happens.  And why  one is not supposed to do it.
by arcadesproject on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 09:35:59 PM EST
That message appears when counts maintined by the Scoop? software indicate that the message may already have been posted.  I believe the intent is to reduce the instances of posting one's comment twice.  For some reason in some circumstances the software has difficulty distinguishing between "preview" having been pressed and "post" having been pressed.  I usually minimize the screen I am on, open another window of ET and check if my comment was indeed posted.  If not, I go back and press "post."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Feb 23rd, 2009 at 10:48:22 PM EST
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You get the message if you accidentally double-click on "preview" or "post." Not (at least I don't) if you just click once and then let the page load completely.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 04:19:46 AM EST
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