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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Thatcher's 'Statecraft', Part II

What I found interesting is her account of how the EU bureaucracy's attempts to meddle in the internal politics of its members. The EU is not an international organization; it is intended to be a new federal government for all Europe. (This goal evidently has some public support; on a message board last week, I read a post from a Greek extolloling the number of Olympic medals that the 'EU' had won, and calling for a unified EU Olympic team. They really do want to get rid of national autonomy.) Thatcher attributes much of the support for British affiliation with the EU to the belief that it's joining an organization, not being subsumed into a new Eurogovernment.

In condemning the EU as anti-democratic, she places great store in the absence of a 'pan-European public opinion'.

"No matter how many attempts are made to create links between the political parties of different European countries, those parties know that they have to campaign upon, and that their fortunes will be determined by, national programmes (sic) and issues."

She points up the national differences: "...no fewer than twelve main languages are widely spoken among the present [EU] members...[a]nd it is still the case that for the great majority of Europe's population, 'home' is to be described in national, or local, not Continental terms."

However, she also notes that large fractions of younger Euros, ranging from 25% to 40%, think of themselves first as European, and only second as citizens of their nation. The Greek of whom I wrote earlier is evidently not alone.

Thatcher also bases her claim that the EU is undemocratic on the habit of Euroenthusiasts of disregarding national prerogatives in favor of the Federal program. She notes that Joschka Fischer and the other Eurosupporters in Germany ignored a 75-25 public opinion split against giving up the Deustch mark when they accepted the euro. Of course, that could also be described as dedication to principle without regard to opinion polls.

More worrisome is the " left-dominated EU Council of Ministers...imposed political sanctions on Austria in the hope that the Austrians would be prepared to put the left back in power. "EU's imposition of "political sanctions" against Austria when they elected a coalition the EU people didn't like - a conservative one, of course. In that context, Chancellor Schroeder of Germany threatened "to the effect that similar action would be taken to stop the right winning power" in Italy. Then, during the Italian election, "[a] concerted Europe-wide media campaign of vilification, the like of which I have rarely seen in politics, was launched against Signor Berlusconi to intimidate the Italian electorate into backing the left.

This narrative makes me think: How much of the EU is really a taxpayer-funded mutual aid society for leftish parties around Europe, much as the UN sometimes is for leftist activists? (Thatcher also complains about the use of 'human rights', Kyoto, and other treaties to commit our national government to courses of actions that our electorate is too conservative to accept.) A lot, I should think. Of course, the existence of sufficient affinity among Euro-leftist parties for that undercuts the idea that there is no Continent-wide public opinion. Even if Maggie's wrong about that, though, as a conservative, the use of an international bureaucracy to use tax money to support one side in elections disturbs me. A lot. And that, as a reason to oppose the EU, is compelling.

Incedentally, I wonder if a (non-taxpayer-funded) conservative-party alliance would be useful. Our Republicans, Britain's Tories, Italy's Italia Forza, India's BJP, Hugo Chavez's opponenets in Venezuela--even France has Sabine Herold and a Libertarian Party, however small. However, I wonder what sort of aid could we provide, aside from expertise and ideas, which I'm sure are already widely shared. Using office in one country to aid like-minded parties in another country places party above national interest--which is precisely what the Deanyboppers do. Bad idea. Foreign policy needs a certain level of deference to foreign electorates' choices of officeholders.

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