EU Wargames

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 07.30.51I recently participated in a symposium at Mosaic magazine about the future of Europe. You can read my advice to Europe here. As I put it, Europe’s now facing history’s biggest constitutional crisis.

With that in mind, I just watched OpenEurope’s simulation of the negotiations that will determine Britain’s place in Europe with particular interest.

Yesterday, they simulated EU Reform and Brexit negotiations, with the key roles played by real, top-level British and European politicians. The former British Foreign Secretary and former Chancellor of the Exchequer played Britain; the former Deputy Prime Minister and Governor of the Bank of Poland played Poland, France’s former Minister for Europe played France, Germany’s former Ambassador to the UK played Germany, and so forth.

They played out two scenarios, one in the morning and one in the afternoon:

1) The Reform Scenario starts from the current basis that EU member states are engaging with David Cameron’s  EU reform bid. Talks will centre around the key pillars of the government’s EU renegotiation as laid out in Cameron’s letter to Council President Donald Tusk, testing the ‘red lines,’ and where there is scope for a deal.

2) The Brexit Scenario starts on the assumption that the British public has voted in a referendum to leave the EU. The UK government and EU leaders have gathered to discuss what the UK’s future relationship with the EU will look like.

Here’s the video of the simulation:

 

 

I’m guessing that no one here is going to watch the whole day’s negotiations — I confess I missed more than a few hours — but you might want to watch parts of it here and there to get a sense of the tone and the issues.

Now, as it happens, these negotiations will take place for real in a few weeks. Prime Minister David Cameron will be playing Britain at the February European Council meeting. The polls show that the prospect of a Brexit is real. So he — or his successor — could soon be negotiating an entirely new deal between the UK and the EU.

The most heated parts of the discussion were about four issues: the equal treatment of non-eurozone members, economic competitiveness, national sovereignty and how to curb immigration. On economic competitiveness, everyone pretty much agreed. But things began to get nasty when it came to changing the voting rules to give more power to non-Eurozone members — and to giving national parliaments veto powers.

Here’s Robert Colville’s summary of how it went, which is actually much better than mine, so I refer you to it. The highlights from the morning session …

The day began with protestations of goodwill all round. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, playing Britain, set out the main areas that Cameron hopes to make progress in. The representatives for Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Ireland, Sweden and the EU institutions (played by a variety of similarly experienced figures, including Enrico Letta, former Italian PM, and John Bruton, former Irish Taoiseach), expressed their love for the UK, and their certain belief that a deal could be done.

It soon turned out, however, that the theme of the morning would be taken from Meat Loaf: “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.” We were told that many of the specifics of Cameron’s deal would either have unforeseen consequences, or were simply impossible, or that our European friends couldn’t really understand what we were on about.

The symbolic commitment to ditching “ever closer union”, for example – why did Britain keep raising this ludicrous idea of a superstate? A “red card” or “emergency brake” for national parliaments – this, said Germany, was a “crazy” idea, so “please take that off the table”. Others rushed to agree: wouldn’t it dilute the power of the European Parliament? (Well, yes.) And wasn’t it more likely to be used against Britain, rather than by it – for example in blocking moves to extend the free market in services, where the UK is Europe’s dominant player? (A rather better point.) Within 20 minutes, they were practically banging on the table. …

It ended, as he puts it, reasonably positively. “[e]ven if there was quarrelling over the specifics, there was a clear sense that a deal can be done – even if it ends up pretty close to the status quo.”

But the afternoon? Not positive at all. It was, as Colville put it, “a lynch mob.”

“There is no such thing as a free lunch,” explained the former German deputy finance minister. “Brexit is something which does not only affect your country but our country. The cherry-picking after torturing us for months is not acceptable.”

… then the bloodbath began. France said it could only offer a vanilla free trade agreement – nothing else. … The Netherlands predicted an effort to channel investment to Scotland, in an effort to peel it off from the rest of the UK. …

The harshest words came from John Bruton, playing Ireland. Brexit, he said, would be a “devastating decision” for Ireland – “I would regard it as an unfriendly act… a huge, self-imposed, politically generated shock to our economy.” It would undo much of the work of the peace process, and create huge questions over borders and labour market access. Out of pure self-interest, Dublin would probably try to grab whatever financial services from London hadn’t been stolen by Frankfurt. Indeed, there was unanimous agreement that the EU would do everything in its power to avoid its financial capital lying outside its borders, and regulatory reach. France, for example, would surely lean on its banks to move their operations back home.

… one thing that emerged from the talks is that European countries have electorates, too. And after Britain leaves, those electorates might not be terribly keen on immediately granting it access to the single market, carte blanche for the City of London, preferential treatment for British visitors to the Continent and so on. Also, Poland pointed out, there will be a temptation to come up with the most punitive terms possible – to avoid other countries following Britain’s lead.

So, questions for Ricochet: Do you think “Cameron” negotiated well? Could he have done better? Do you think Europe would really react that way to a Brexit? Would they be justified in doing so, in your mind? Or do you think cooler heads would prevail?

What advice do you think our Founding Fathers would give them?

There are 63 comments.

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  1. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    It sounds like they’re laying plans for the best way to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    The iceberg is a demographic one:

    The German Chancellor cut to the chase and imported in twelve months 1.1 million Muslim “refugees”. That doesn’t sound an awful lot out of 80 million Germans, but, in fact, the 1.1 million Muslim are overwhelmingly (80 per cent plus) fit, virile, young men. Germany has fewer than ten million people in the same population cohort, among whom Muslims are already over-represented: the median age of Germans as a whole is 46, the median age of German Muslims is 34. But let’s keep the numbers simple, and assume that of those ten million young Germans half of them are ethnic German males. Frau Merkel is still planning to bring in another million “refugees” this year. So by the end of 2016 she will have imported a population equivalent to 40 per cent of Germany’s existing young male cohort. The future is here now: It’s not about “predictions”.

    On standard patterns of “family reunification”, these two million “refugees” will eventually bring another four or five persons each from their native lands – or another eight-to-ten million….

    For the sake of argument, suppose the 600,000 “refugees” whose whereabouts are unknown have all left Germany. Even so, by 2017 15% of Germany’s young males will be newly imported; they’ll typically each bring in another 4-5 people.

    • #1
  2. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Ontheleftcoast: It sounds like they’re laying plans for the best way to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    I posted this so people could have a chance to hear what the real arguments are and how they’re being debated. For example, whether the Geneva Conventions should be abrogated. I have zero patience for seeing the word “refugees” in quotation marks — meet the people you’re suggesting don’t really exist, here* —  and find it strange that Steyn is so certain they’re more “virile” than European men.

    Borzou used to be the Financial Times Middle East correspondent, and he’s one of the very best. I assume Buzzfeed offered him a real salary, and good for them. If that’s a financial model that works for journalism, more power to all of us. I can assure you his reporting out of Turkey beats the coverage in any other major news outlet, hands down.

    • #2
  3. Robert Lux Member
    Robert Lux
    @RobertLux

    Read your Mosaic piece. You’re continuing your false alternative: migrants unable to breach Europe’s borders are ineluctably forced to drown in the Mediterranean. But then you don’t seem to really believe this ruthless binary, as you recognize the possibility of the alternative — viz., these immigrants should seek asylum in refugee shelters in countries neighboring Syria, with France/Germany putting all reasonable or mettlesome pressure on these countries to do so.

    That is, you recognize it by shooting it down. You assume refugees sheltered in neighboring Islamic countries will inevitably become Islamically radicalized, as they will permanently (permanently? again, another assumption) be sheltered in refugee camps. You’re assuming a great enough quantity of these people will then automatically fall into cahoots with ISIS, thereby increasing ISIS’s acquisition of a nuclear arsenal.

    So you think Western Europe (they won’t be settled to CZ/Poland/Slovak/Hungary, as the rise of nativist parties here won’t stand for it) can accept 20, perhaps even 60 million, more refugees in the next few years and this, as you once put it, “won’t sink the boat.”

    I’m sorry, but this really strains credulity.

    I highly recommend looking at Ross Douthat’s “Germany on the Brink,” his follow-up “Ten Theses on Immigration,” and this just-published discussion of Pierre Manent, “Between Euro-Impotence and Jihadism.”

    • #3
  4. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Claire says:

    Europe is now facing history’s biggest constitutional crisis. It must either develop real federal political institutions or break into its component parts.

    Since the development of “read federal political institutions” that actually respond to the wishes of European citizens has been beyond the EU and its forebears, I would bet on the second option. Sucks to be Slovenia in this case, but it is not clear to me the mechanism by which the progressive destruction of what made Britain Great can be balanced against preventing Slovenia sliding back into whatever will befall it.

    • #4
  5. Robert Lux Member
    Robert Lux
    @RobertLux

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Ontheleftcoast: It sounds like they’re laying plans for the best way to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    I have zero patience for seeing the word “refugees” in quotation marks — meet the people you’re suggesting don’t really exist, here* —

    Yes, never mind the thousands of virile young men yelling Allahu Akbar at the Hungarian border. Yes, never mind the already well documented massive escalation in rape and crime throughout Germany, Sweden, Denmark and elsewhere. No one — no one reasonable — is denying true refugees, true suffering, don’t exist.

    • #5
  6. Boisfeuras Member
    Boisfeuras
    @Boisfeuras

    Negotiations don’t alter power relationships so much as reflect them.

    The key issue driving the “out” vote is immigration (both EU and non-EU, although the voting public in the UK largely, and in my view, wrongly, conflates the two). Through no fault of his own, Cameron has no ability to change the principle of Free Movement whilst Britain remains a member of the EU and the British public knows it. Another migration “crisis” this summer (at this stage a certainty) and the “out” vote is in the bag.

    For me, the lodestar is the resumption of national sovereignty and my visceral dislike of being shackled to a socialist, unaccountable regulatory monolith. So I’ll be voting “out”, whatever Cameron “achieves”, albeit for different reasons from those of the majority of voters.

    As to trade reprisals from other EU member states, these are largely bluster: First, there’s no mechanism by which our existing membership of EFTA can be changed by the Commission. Secondly, there would be no incentive for the EU to attempt such a thing whilst it maintains a trade surplus with the UK: the world’s 5th largest economy.

    • #6
  7. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    genferei: Since the development of “read federal political institutions” that actually respond to the wishes of European citizens has been beyond the EU and its forebears, I would bet on the second option.

    What do you consider, properly, its forebears? The Great Peace under Innocent III? The Austro-Hungarian Empire? It’s certainly true that historically, no effort to unify Europe has succeeded for very long — on that, you’ve got my 100 percent agreement. But I think the period since 1957 has been, if not the most brilliant, one of the more stable and peaceful periods in the Continent’s history, and certainly the most prosperous.

    While I think by far the most important reasons for that are the ones I offered in my article, I nonetheless think the assumptions that undergirded the Coal & Steel treaty, and the subsequent treaties, were correct: The best chance Europe’s got of prolonging this period of peace is deep economic integration, leading, eventually, to some kind of real federalism. One that will be dominated by Germany, because that’s in some sense Europe’s “natural” state.

    No, I would certainly not bet on their being able to do it. All the evidence of history suggests otherwise. But the Federalists were facing extreme challenges, too — and there was no historic precedent for what they did. The anti-federalists’ arguments were good arguments, and often surprisingly like those of contemporary Euroskeptics.

    The overwhelming logic is on the side of federalism, when you consider what Europe’s now got to contend with. Will they be able to pull it off? Only if they really have statesmen of vision.

    • #7
  8. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    I posted this so people could have a chance to hear what the real arguments are and how they’re being debated. For example, whether the Geneva Conventions should be abrogated. I have zero patience for seeing the word “refugees” in quotation marks — meet the people you’re suggesting don’t really exist, here* — and find it strange that Steyn is so certain they’re more “virile” than European men.

    You’re right, there are many real refugees involved; nonetheless, many who are referred to as refugees are in fact economic migrants. Thank you for calling my attention to Borzou; I’ll keep my eye out.

    That said, you don’t mention a discussion of demography in the wargaming, so I assume there was none.

    OK, Steyn wrote “virile” about immigrants from Muslim countries to Germany (and other European countries.) They have a higher birthrate than the native Europeans, who, as Steyn correctly states, are close to being in a demographic death spiral. He’s also right that the current influx into Europe is largely male, and that the percentage of native German males in a critical economic and military age cohort is shrinking as Merkel’s newcomers arrive. What nobody knows – yet – is who the mothers will be. Among the 4-5 who follow each immigrant? Native born?

    Meanwhile, the German authorities are doing their damnedest to suppress the events of Black Sylvester; it does not look as though they are betting on Western Civilization.

    • #8
  9. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Boisfeuras:Negotiations don’t alter power relationships so much as reflect them.

    The key issue driving the “out” vote is immigration (both EU and non-EU, although the voting public in the UK largely, and in my view, wrongly, conflates the two).

    That’s why — don’t know if you saw this bit — Enrico Letta (playing “Italy”) was arguing against holding the referendum immediately, because he felt the issue of internal migration was being conflated with the refugee crisis, causing an anti-EU backlash; he believed that would subside by next summer as it became clear Europe had found a reasonable way of managing this. (The last being rather optimistic, because as one of the participants, can’t remember who — Spain? — pointed out, Step 1 would be abrogating the Geneva Conventions.) But it is a fair point: There’s a great deal of public hysteria about this, but that will settle down if Europe finds some way of, well, rewriting the Geneva Convention and protocol. (Which I suspect it will do, and not to its credit.)

    Through no fault of his own, Cameron has no ability to change the principle of Free Movement whilst Britain remains a member of the EU and the British public knows it. Another migration “crisis”

    Could I ask you please to stop putting that in quotation marks? To suggest that Europe isn’t truly facing a crisis — and more importantly, that the Middle East, and Syria in particular, isn’t — is truly, at the least, incorrect. And it’s incorrect in an ugly way.

    this summer (at this stage a certainty) and the “out” vote is in the bag.

    For me, the lodestar is the resumption of national sovereignty and my visceral dislike of being shackled to a socialist, unaccountable regulatory monolith.

    But that’s precisely what they’re debating, and the other states seem very willing to negotiate on that.

    So I’ll be voting “out”, whatever Cameron “achieves”,

    Really? No matter what deal he achieves? Literally?

    albeit for different reasons from those of the majority of voters.

    As to trade reprisals from other EU member states, these are largely bluster: First, there’s no mechanism by which our existing membership of EFTA can be changed by the Commission. Secondly, there would be no incentive for the EU to attempt such a thing

    Agree, it would not be rational. The surprising aspect of the way the simulation played out was in the degree of irrationality it suggested. Just bluff because they knew it was a simulation? Or is that really a reflection of the way the electorates in their countries would react? I have to think after seeing the way Germany was willing to stick it to Greece, there could be a lot of domestic pressure to be very irrational.

    whilst it maintains a trade surplus with the UK: the world’s 5th largest economy.

    • #9
  10. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: The surprising aspect of the way the simulation played out was in the degree of irrationality it suggested. Just bluff because they knew it was a simulation? Or is that really a reflection of the way the electorates in their countries would react?

    Why would the electorates of EU members suddenly have any say in how their countries reacted to anything related to the EU? They never have before.

    • #10
  11. Boisfeuras Member
    Boisfeuras
    @Boisfeuras

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Could I ask you please to stop putting that in quotation marks? To suggest that Europe isn’t truly facing a crisis — and more importantly, that the Middle East, and Syria in particular, isn’t — is truly, at the least, incorrect. And it’s incorrect in an ugly way.

    I’ve obviously made my point badly. Of course there is a refugee crisis in Europe, the Middle East and Syria. The UK “out” vote is however driven by the view that there is an immigration “crisis” in the UK, which there is not. (Cf the inordinate attention paid in the UK media to the migrant camp at Calais from which a tiny no. of immigrants make it across the Channel compared to the no. who come in via Heathrow.)

    • #11
  12. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    genferei:

    Why would the electorates of EU members suddenly have any say in how their countries reacted to anything related to the EU? They never have before.

    Of course they have. It’s usually only one of a portfolio of issues on which they vote, but the EU countries do have free and fair elections, very regularly. None of them are Cuba. And of course candidates campaign on their attitudes toward the EU and their success at negotiating within it. Do you remember what brought Margaret Thatcher down?

    • #12
  13. Boisfeuras Member
    Boisfeuras
    @Boisfeuras

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: So I’ll be voting “out”, whatever Cameron “achieves”, Really? No matter what deal he achieves? Literally?

    Yes. We should never have joined anything other than EFTA.

    De Gaulle was right: the UK’s history, legal system, relationship with the Commonwealth, together with its Atlanticist orientation is fundamentally incompatible with membership of a continental political body.

    • #13
  14. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    I did not see the video of the negotiations,but to me,the question of what Britain and the EU do next comes down to these: 1. Does Britain need the EU more than the EU needs Britain? 2. Even if a case can be made for Britain being better off in the EU, if the British people don’t want it,can a membership in the EU be forced on them?

    • #14
  15. Boisfeuras Member
    Boisfeuras
    @Boisfeuras

    My own plan is to pump all the old coal mines full of helium, and then have the resultingly bouyant Britain towed to somewhere further away and more congenial weather-wise, e.g. next to Madeira.

    Ireland could either stay where they are, (they can have Northern Ireland with pleasure) or come along too.

    • #15
  16. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Boisfeuras: I’ve obviously made my point badly. Of course there is a refugee crisis in Europe, the Middle East and Syria. The UK “out” vote is however driven by the view that there is an immigration “crisis” in the UK, which there is not. (Cf the inordinate attention paid in the UK media to the migrant camp at Calais from which a tiny no. of immigrants make it across the Channel compared to the no. who come in via Heathrow.)

    Agreed. Thanks for explaining. That’s why I thought it was a fair point: “Any chance you could postpone your referendum a bit so that this decision is made about real issues?” (There was a lot of discussion about migration and what the common policy ought to be — confess I was getting bored in the break before lunch, so I don’t know whether the demographic issue was discussed.)

    If I were Cameron — or rather, if I were Madison, because I don’t think Cameron has it in him — my goal in this wouldn’t be to unshackle Britain from a socialist, unaccountable regulatory monolith, it would be to shackle Britain to a capitalist, accountable federation, in which each state reserves certain sovereign rights. I don’t think Britain will ever have as good a chance to do that as it does now: He’s not sitting across from Jacques Delors; the Cold War is over, and everyone gets it now about why you can’t go overboard with the EUtopian fantasies. Now’s the chance for a great statesman to save Europe, not blow it up.

    But sadly, I don’t think Cameron’s got that kind of vision or that kind of ability to lead.

    • #16
  17. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: What do you consider, properly, its forebears?

    As you said, the European Coal and Steel Community, the EEC, Single Market, EU/Maastricht, EU/Amsterdam, EU/Lisbon.

    I think the period since 1957 has been, if not the most brilliant, one of the more stable and peaceful periods in the Continent’s history, and certainly the most prosperous.

    Certainly the most prosperous period for almost everywhere on the globe. Is sixty years without a war between Germany and France really that rare?

    Don’t forget, even in the American Revolution, it was only 13 of the 26 colonies that federated. (And look where that is leading…)

    • #17
  18. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    aardo vozz:I did not see the video of the negotiations,but to me,the question of what Britain and the EU do next comes down to these: 1. Does Britain need the EU more than the EU needs Britain?

    I’d say it depends on what terms can be negotiated. And I figure now’s the time to go big and lay out a vision for a federal Europe that would serve everyone in it better.

    2. Even if a case can be made for Britain being better off in the EU, if the British people don’t want it,can a membership in the EU be forced on them?

    No. It’s got free and fair elections. But by the same token, so does Scotland.

    • #18
  19. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    In America, we sometimes hear the phrase “The Constitution is not a suicide pact.”  The EU, in contrast, is a suicide pact; and Europe is in the process of committing suicide.  I’m glad I had a chance to travel there before all the culture was gone.  But I hold no hope for it’s future.

    The UK would be very smart to withdraw from the EU.  The only country on the continent worthwhile as a trading partner is Germany, and even Germany is at risk if it keeps bailing out the lazy socialists.  The UK would be much better off developing trading relationships with Asia and South America; and, of course, closing its borders.  Britain was built to be a maritime power.  That’s where it should go.

    • #19
  20. Boisfeuras Member
    Boisfeuras
    @Boisfeuras

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: my goal in this wouldn’t be to unshackle Britain from a socialist, unaccountable regulatory monolith, it would be to shackle Britain to a capitalist, accountable federation, in which each state reserves certain sovereign rights

    As you know, the French would never stand for that. (Immigration aside, insofar as there’s an anti-EU constituency in France, the “leave” argument is that the EU in its current form is already far too “capitalist” and “Anglo-Saxon.”)

    No: this is a once-in-a-generation chance to get out of a bad deal. I think a majority of the British public are going to vote to take it.

    • #20
  21. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    genferei: Is sixty years without a war between Germany and France really that rare?

    Oh, yes. In many ways the First World War was the catastrophe it was only because European leaders didn’t grasp the lessons of the US Civil War: If you continue with your nearly-uninterrupted tradition of Franco-German war with modern weapons, it won’t be just a footnote in history.

    • #21
  22. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Don’t worry. I’m sure Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn will have everything under control. After American airbases are turned over to Russia and the Queen deposed, what’s left but complete assurances of peace and prosperity?

    • #22
  23. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    genferei: Is sixty years without a war between Germany and France really that rare?

    Oh, yes.

    There was the War of the Grand Alliance (1688+). But that was the Hapsburgs. There was the Seven Years War (1755+). But that was Prussia. As were Napoleon’s adventures. And, obviously, the Franco-Prussian war (1870). Only then was there a Germany. And 1914.  Looks like a fair amount of peace in there. And the wars happened despite long-standing treaty networks, more often than not.

    • #23
  24. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Fascinating thanks.  I find it impossible to get my mind around such incredible complexity.    I’ll watch a bunch, read comments and ruminate.  When I was DCM in Portugal it was President of the EU so I tried to make sense of it.  At the time, Maastricht was nearing completion, the Euro was moving forward, the Soviet Union was beginning to disintegrate.   The abstractions I had to use to think about such complex changes pertained  to both the integration of one thing and the disintegration of the other and some of its parts.  They may still pertain.  I’ll have to think about it.

    • #24
  25. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    genferei: Looks like a fair amount of peace in there.

    There, yes. The argument has been made that the savage wars of peace haven’t been altogether bad (except for the unfortunate people who live in the war zones) because they’ve prevented world wars.

    • #25
  26. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Boisfeuras: De Gaulle was right: the UK’s history, legal system, relationship with the Commonwealth, together with its Atlanticist orientation is fundamentally incompatible with membership of a continental political body.

    Narcissism of small differences, I say. Highly developed countries with rule of law, geographically close to each other, confronting similar problems — I reckon the UK has much more in common with contemporary France than with Cameroon or Belize. As for “Atlanticist” … we’ll see.

    • #26
  27. David Knights Member
    David Knights
    @DavidKnights

    The idea of federal Europe is silly.  You can’t take countries with traditions and cultures dating back 1000 years and turn them into West Virginia and Ohio. (BTW, the federal project here in the states isn’t looking so good.) Also, the only reason things have looked so bright since 1957 is that everyone in Europe sheltered under the US military umbrella and could spend the money they should have been spending on the military on propping up their social programs. An economic free trade area made sense.  Everything else was simply a grab for power by elites who dream of ruling without having to be answerable to the people.

    • #27
  28. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    David Knights: You can’t take countries with traditions and cultures dating back 1000 years and turn them into West Virginia and Ohio

    What’s your theory about where people from West Virginia and Ohio came from?

    • #28
  29. David Knights Member
    David Knights
    @DavidKnights

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    David Knights: You can’t take countries with traditions and cultures dating back 1000 years and turn them into West Virginia and Ohio

    What’s your theory about where people from West Virginia and Ohio came from?

    The difference being that, though they were all from different backgrounds when they got here, they weren’t living in the same lands where their culture had developed and surrounded by those of the same culture.

    If you are proposing uprooting all of the peoples of Europe, relocating them to the interior of Australia, mixing them together and establishing states with mixes of all the people in each, then I withdraw my objection.  At that point it might work.  However, I am not sure it would be federal Europe anymore.

    • #29
  30. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Let me make a suggestion. I know no one here — including me — has time to watch eight hours of simulated EU negotiations. But try picking any 15 minutes at random and have a go. For two reasons: First, you’ll get hooked. It’s great drama. These aren’t the real people who will have this debate, but they’re as close to it as you’ll get — they’re not actors. They’re real, high-level politicians. And this is a historic debate — one the outcome of which will shape history. It will give you real insight into the debates that led to the US Constitution, and what it might have felt like to have been trying to figure these issues out.

    Second, I think this gives a better sense of what the issues really are than a lot of abstract talk about “Europe” and “the EU” — it’s somehow much more informative than most newspaper coverage, and may change your mind about what’s going on here. Just give it a try. May not be your cup of tea, but I found it riveting.

    • #30

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