Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Europe in Crisis?

Joschka Fischer, the German Foreign Minister, doesn’t think so. Der Spiegel runs a lengthy excerpts from an interview.

This is the first time in German history that we are embedded in a peaceful Europe without any threat from outside and without threats from us to our neighbors. It’s the first time that we are in a sustainable and structurally peaceful situation and this offers new opportunities. 60 years of peace also means 60 years of wealth accumulation and we are in a situation where we can, and must, reduce the role of the state. But on the other hand, we have a tradition where the state guarantees much more than it does in the Anglo-Saxon tradition.... It’s about very deeply rooted traditions. And to break up these traditions in a peaceful way is the new challenge we are facing.

The Telegraph reports that Tony Blair "has given up on Europe as an issue worth fighting for, senior allies of the Prime Minister have told The Sunday Telegraph.

A leading Blairite cabinet minister made the admission last night as the European Union descended into deeper turmoil, with doubts surfacing over the future of the single currency." Christopher Caldwell tries to explain what the French and Dutch "no" votes mean. He explains that both the far Right and Left benefit from this, and may end up prospering. Good paragraph:

The problem at present is that mainstream politicians, national and European, have no credible lines of communication to their publics. The E.U. has taken on so many responsibilities, especially regulatory and economic ones, that the capacity of individual nation-states for full self-government has atrophied. This has spread the E.U.’s so-called "democratic deficit" (the thing that this constitutional plebiscite was meant to fix) to national governments. Consider the Netherlands. There, nearly two-thirds of the voters repudiated the E.U.--but 85 percent of national legislators were firm (often sanctimonious) supporters of the treaty just a few short weeks ago. This gap is the hot political topic in Europe right now. It will be redressed through national elections across the continent over the next couple of years.

In the meantime, The Guardian publishes an extract from Dominque de Villepin’s book, The Cry of the Gargoyle. Can this be of possible help to M de Villepin? Note this lucid paragraph (thanks to The Atlantic Blog):

Some people have been tempted to look back on these old shortcomings and stir the fantastical cauldron of nation against the outside world, poor against rich, French against immigrants, liberty against solidarity, local organisations against the state. They want to ignore the fact that the world today is no longer a binary world, that the implacable workings of dialectics have ceded their place to something more complex and chaotic, to progress made in leaps and bounds, and thus to something more questioning and humble. The challenges with which we are confronted today can therefore only be addressed if we accept the diversity, the unexpected and the change at the heart of our society, inherited from a time when we thought that politics, like science, was governed by eternal laws that conformed to human reason.

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