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OECD has given Europe a bad report card:


The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, headquartered in Paris, released a report, Going for Growth, that details economic prospects in the industrial world. It is 160 pages long and written in bland, cautious, scholarly prose. But the conclusion is clear—Europe is in deep trouble. These days we all talk about the rise of Asia and the challenge to America, but it might well turn out that the most consequential trend of the next decade will be the economic decline of Europe....

Are any of them named Mohammed? ;)

Don: How about Mustafa? (not safe for work)


Sandy P: Well, I'm not expecting any apologies. Since Europe is doing so well, I guess we should take Schroeder's advice and elect Hillary. (via opinionjournal's best of web)


Sandy, here is another essay with a different viewpoint from the one you linked earlier: http://www.cato-unbound.org/2006/02/12/anne-applebaum/reply-to-dalrymple-3/

Scroll bar alert, I sent her an email and am posting the answer here. Not sure if it's interesting or just too long....

Dear Ms. Applebaum,

Thank you for that thought-provoking reply to the Dalyrymple essay at the Cato website. I am also a europhile, a permanent resident of the UK with experience living in several other Europeans countries since 1994. I wish I could disagree with you - but I cannot.

Spending as much time on the right-wing blogosphere as I do I've encountered a lot of Euro-hatred. Much of the hatred coming from the US is hard to endure. No the French are not 'cheese-eating surrender monkeys'. Eating cheese is a virtue (I am from Wisconsin), and the surrender in WWII was directly caused by the insanely passionate manner in which they fought WWI particularly at the battle of Verdun. Verdun bled them white and killed most of an entire generation of Frenchmen. They were not there to fight in 1940, so France had to surrender.

But if there is a deathly illness in Europe as I think there is, France is one of the centers of it. France historically has been a uniquely great nation since the 17th century. Since the age of Voltaire and Rousseau France has always been at the forefront of Western thought, has always had an absurd wealth of internationally important publilc intellectuals - until the past 50 years. How it happened is not obvious. It wasn't either great war - the flowering includes postwar figures such as Sarte', Malreux, Beauvoir , Camus, and others of their generation. A new generation of world-class intellectuals should have come of age during the 60's - and somehow didn't. They may have been brilliant but they weren't universally important the way their predecessors had always been. They lacked the quality of speaking to the soul or to the universal human condition the way that Victor Hugo or Emile Zola could.

I wonder whether the French problem (and by extension the European problem) isn't Mandarism. China is no longer ruled by Mandarins - but France is. Charles De Gaulle, thus far the last of a line of great French political leaders ironically may have ended that line by founding the ENA. ENA trains superior beaurecrats, in theory the best on earth. But the ENA graduates seem to crowd out the outsiders which make political life in the US so interesting and who force the US political establishment to recreate itself every 20 years ago. The New Deal was the first one followed by Kennedy's PT-109, who were succeeded by the Reaganites. Arguably Bush's neocons are another. France just has Chirac. DeGaulle, Mitterand, and Chirac mark the full extent of French political history since 1957. I would argue that in the end DeGaulle was the only one of the three who matters. Perhaps ENA is only a single part of the problem, the absurdly powerful presidentcy DeGaulle created is the other. French presidents stay in office until they die and keep accumulating power all the time. Where do all the French would-be successors go? To Bruxelles, where they set the form of the EU in the mandarinate form, helping to squeeze all the life out of the rest of Europe.

We in the US were extremely fortunate in having George Washington I think. DeGaulle was a figure of similar stature to Washington, but while Washington left us with the 'two terms and out' precedent, DeGaulle left poor France with 'President for life'. The first has been political life for the US (Bush succeeds Clinton who succeeded Reagan) but unhappy France gets Chirac succeeding the deadening hand of Chirac.

The other part of Europe's deathly illness derives from Central Europe, from Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Northern Italy, and even Switzerland. The more I read about the brilliance of the Central European civilization that predated Hitler the more obvious it becomes - the Holocaust was an act of profound civilizational suicide. Half the most brilliant figures in that civilization were Jewish and I think the Jews were also a kind of catalyst. Many went into death and the remainder went to the US and Israel. The US was a great nation before 1945, but most of the intellectual flowering of the US came from those catalytic Jews from central Europe. When I visited Prague I made a point of seeing the old Jewish ghetto - one of the cradles of that civilization. It's empty now - lots' of tourists and no life. One can almost hear the wind whistling through the gravestones. Do not send for whom the bell tolls, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic. Spain before them. It tolls for thee.

Hope for Europe? It's possible, both for the reasons you mention and because of the very 'Muslim invasion' which Europeans seem so petrified about. The Muslims may well break the institutions which are holding Europe back. In the best of all possible worlds a strong Muslim minority may even become something very like the Jews which Europe killed en masse, a cultural catalyst. They are so different. If Europe can learn to include them, use them, and the Muslims can integrate enough and yet not too much the results could be very fruitful.

You compare DeGaulle to George Washington? Sheesh, that wimp who hid in England until our armed forces cleared the way? Washington stood toe to toe against the best England could throw at him! DeGaulle fled like a wimp and didn't return until it was safe.

Hatred of Europe? There's no hatred of Europe. Oh there's a lot of trash talking to those who do not agree with us. There is selective harsh commentary towards those nations which left us out in the cold. France being one of the largest hypocrites. Hand in the cookie jar with billions to abscond with from Saddam's oil for food fiasco while looking down their righteous noses as us Americans as if we were the problem all along. But American trash talking was an effect and result of French and sleazy politicians like Chirac and VilliPain in the neck. We essentially talked back to our older European cousins for putting us down to begin with and especially after we found out why. That's not hatred Don.

But hatred on what vile level? Facts: You don't see Americans 1) burning thousands of french cars. 2) large demonstrations of Americans burning down the French embassy, 3) burning any European embassy, or 4)any Americans bombing England.

Do ya Don? Lets try to put this in perspective. We poured out some wine and I refused to travel to France last year. Is that hatred? No, thats a sign of disgust with their leaders. We know that not all french 'hated' Americans.

The truth is Don, Bush was on target about the terrorist and radical Islam. You cannot dialogue or hope for any responsible peace efforts. If you show any signs of willingness to give ground they see you as weak infidels.

Truth is we love Europeans Don and I've spent much time there myself. Certainly now I'm careful to travel to places that supported us from the beginning. Does that mean hatred? No, not at all. It just means I'm very judicious to our true friends who do not stab us in the back like the French.

If you want to call that hatred, go ahead. But usually when a friend stabs me in the back, I don't go running to them to give them my money again.

Imagine Iran playing a semi-final, saluting Iranian guests of honor...

"Time to make friends" is the motto of this event.

Time to kick them out, I'd say.

"Imagine Iran playing a semi-final, saluting Iranian guests of honor..."

I haven't taken the time to see if there are any combinations that would find the US playing Iran in the World Cup finals this summer. Iran is in Group D and the US is in Group E, so any meeting between the two would have to take place in advanced rounds.

Although, there's no guarantee that the outcome would be different this time than the last time they met in the finals -- when they were in the same group (Iran won, unfortunately) -- the fact that the US Men's National Team is currently ranked 7th in the world (tied with Mexico, 1 point behind France and Spain, who are tied at 5th place, and 5 points behind Argentina, which is in 4th place) certainly gives us hope.

To put the US's 7th place ranking into perspective, England is #9, Portugal is #10, Italy is #13, and Germany is #17.

(Sorry, but I'm an unapologetic US Soccer fanboi.)

Yeshooroon, I do compare DeGaulle to Washington because DeGaulle occupies a similar position in the recent history of France as Washington does in the history of the US. DeGaulle was not the military figure that Washington was, but DeGaulle was far more of a political and perhaps a diplomatic innovator than Washington ever was. In some ways DeGaulle could also be compared to Thomas Jefferson or James Madison.

You call DeGaulle a 'wimp' who hid in England while England and the US won the war for him, and there is some truth to that. But Washington never won a set-piece battle against the main strength of a British army without help from France. Washington's victory was a victory of what is called Fabian strategy. Fabian strategy is a strategy of denying the side with superior military strength victory. Do you think Washington and his army holed up in Valley Forge for two winters out of strength?!!!! Not so. The Continental army was on the point of disintegrating several times. Washington held it together by dint of personality and by hitting small groups of British with overwhelming force (the battles of Trenton and Princeton in particular). When the British brought their main forces up, Washington retired, because he had to.

DeGaulle was important no so much during WWII as afterward. While DeGaulle took little part in the forming of what was to become the EC his was a major vision and influence on what the EU was eventually to become, for better or for worse. Perhaps THE major vision in certain respects. I would argue that the EU was a distinct positive development for Europe at least until 1992 and perhaps later. It's only in the past decade or so that it has become a drag.

During his second Presidency between 1958 and 1958 DeGaulle reformed the French state root and branch. France went from having many short lasting governments to having a strong presidentcy under DeGaulle. In fact that was much of my argument in the letter I quoted, that the French presidentcy is too strong for the good of France and of Europe. To put that into US terms, consider a system in which Bill Clinton was still in power today and unlikely to be defeated - ever. Not good, no?

Nevertheless all that makes Charles DeGaulle the greatest French political leader since Napoleon at very least, arguably greater. He stands with or ahead of the greatest of French kings and possibly even with Charlemagne as a force on French history. Given the vast importance of France on world history that surely puts him into the same category as George Washington. I personally believe that Washington comes out ahead, his only rivals in Western history being Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus, but DeGaulle was up there in the same space.

Don, you make a familiar mistake of our times - victimization (of Europe, in this case). There is no "hatred" of Europe. There are wacko commenters on lgf, but there is no conservative hatred of EU in the US. Saying that the French are "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" is not hatred. It is mean, it is not so true, it is a over-generalization but it is not hatred.

Hatred is what you see on the cover of Spiegel and other similar publications. In European talk shows and in European political circles you can also find hatred's little cousins, arrogance and disdain, disguised as intellectual discourse. If the hate/contempt exchange across the pond were a sports event, EU would lead comfortably.

I agree with you on this one "Charles DeGaulle the greatest French political leader since Napoleon at very least, arguably greater". In my books this not something France should be too proud of.


German Threatened with Death over Iran Soccer Team Caricature

A German political cartoonist has been threatened with death after publishing a caricature in which the Iranian national soccer team wear belts of explosives next to German soldiers.

Klaus Stuttmann, whose caricature was published in the Friday edition of the leading Tagesspiegel daily, says the cartoon came in response to politicians who called for soldiers guarding this summer's soccer World Cup in Germany.

The paper says Stuttmann received hundreds of hate mails and death threats from Iranian soccer fans after the cartoon was published on their site. The Iranian Embassy in Germany also protested by sending him a letter.

"We regret the Iranian reaction, which we can only explain as due to a lack of understanding of the political debate within Germany," the paper wrote Tuesday.

"Of course neither Mr. Stuttmann nor the Tagesspiegel wanted to question the integrity of the Iranian soccer players."

The news comes amid tensions over cartoons depicting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, which were published in European media and outraged thousands of Muslims.

After the war, European leadership was outstanding. No doubt. Never had a large area been so destroyed, economy ruined and so many young killed. Europe came back, fast and better. I remember and acknowledge.

Furthermore, under immense pressure, and having just left the nightmare of the war, Europe, it's people and politicians fought off the lies, covert actions and overt threats of the Soviet Union. Not too shabby.

So, lately, the political B-Team, second squanders have failed. It is apparent to everyone.

Nature abhors a vacuum. Just as the Internet is supplying what the old-line media won't, or can't, so to new, young political leadership will arise.

This American has faith in Europe.

WhatDoIKnow, I see hatred going in both directions.

I will grant you that normally Americans don't care too much about what the European intelligentsia thinks about anything - but that changed beginning in 2003 when Chirac tried to block the Iraq War. And also with Schroeder's infamous re-election campaigns. Those things and the wave of Euro-bile which accompanyed them pissed off a lot of Americans.

Is Europe victimized? Perhaps, but absolutely not by the US. I think if Europe is a victim it's because they are doing it to themselves. Nobody is doing it to them. They remind me of the US during the 70's. Lots of self-pity, lots of angst and doubt. What we were doing wasn't working and we couldn't figure out what to do about it. Which is why Jimmy Carter is so univerally esteemed... ;)

The difference with Europe is that the angst has been going on for a longer time and there is little sign that the core nations (Germany, France, Italy, Belgium) are doing anything effective to address the problems. The problems in the US began about 1972 abd by 1980 Reagan won the Presidency.

I hope you are right, Carl. Remeber that post-war there was nothing to stop the likes of Adenauer, Monnet, De Gasperi, and even Frenchmen like Schumann and De Gaulle from rebuilding. Hitler and Mussolini had destroyed all existing institutions. Now there is the EU and the French Presidency to get in the way.

I am heading to the World Cup this year. In 1998, the US lost to Iran at the World Cup in France. I got to mix with lots of Iranians. Most were emigres living in Europe who hated the Mullahs. The French police were seizing any opposition "Persian" flags (it has the sun or a lion instead of the current symbol).

Frankly, most of the Iranian fans were too busy pointing out and yelling at the "official" Islamic guard contingent that the Irans allocated their official tickets too.

Very interesting dialog about the relationship between Europe and USA.
My experience is that just like insanity, international relationships can be inherited from one's children.
I first became aware of aversion in Germany on my many visits to Germany, where the kids of my sister seemed to carry extreme positions, on environment and politics (Chomsky disciple). That turned worse after on later visits after Bush became president, and was called the "stupid cowboy" in the (German) press. My sister had her opinion, but would not debate the issues with me, nor did my brother. Later they told me they were not coming to visit any more because they did not want to become arrested. They told me there still was a free press, so they knew of American suppression of freedom, and sent me envelopes stuffed full of press clippings, all of them almost hysterical negative.
When I told him not to believe the press, they sent me more clippings, some worse than NYT hit pieces.
I do believe there is hatred between the two continents, but it is much more pronounced in Europe.
For what it's worth, they know their economy is in trouble, but leadership is unable to admit they screwed up after they formed the EU based on a socialistic approach to the economy. They predicted they would bury us (USA), just like Khrushchev did, but are drowning in incompetence.
Now Europe needs to get rid of both the political leadership and intelligentsia (press), before they can change. Most of all, France must either be supplanted as Europe’s leading nation, or Jacques Chirac replaced at the helm in France. Since the only reason Chirac is not in jail right now is his constitutional protection from criminal prosecution as the president, he is unlikely to leave voluntarily.
The pressure from non-assimilated Muslim immigrants may yet force Europe to deal with the errors of it's past, before it loses any chances for a free future.

That is a fairly apoplyctic vision, koepfchen. I'm not completely persuaded that things are quite that hopeless however.

I think we have to keep in mind that the extremes of the Amerika-fear is centered largely in Germany, and that even Germany is changing. The previous government fed the flames of the fear with every ounce of fuel it could reach - the new one will not. I'm not asserting that they will become friends exactly but I think Angela Merkel would like to if possible.

Europe is a very big entity, and the anti-Americanism does not exist at all in some places (Eastern Europe for example) and in a relatively benign form in others. For example France has a split personality as revealed by polling. The current French intelligentsia is largely poisonously anti-American but ordinary French people show more mixed views. The dislike Bush, dislike the Iraq war - but rather like and admire the US. The situation in Italy and Spain (as I read it) is even more split because in those countries even the intelligentsia is not as anti-US as in France. The intelligentsia in the UK is split, with the anti-America crowd as poisonous as anything in Germany or France but also a staunch pro-Yankee segment which is larger if anything. The people tend to dislike Bush and are cynical about Iraq but remain pro-American in basic attitude.

The funny thing about Chirac is that right now he is actually working rather closely with the US. However much you may dislike him (and I do) this is a leopard who changes his spots rather readily.

Political retirements are set to change the political landscape quite a lot in the next few years. The largest factor is Bush's retirement in 2 years. As much as I like and respect Bush, his successor ought to have a much easier time of it with European public opinion. Assuming that the successor is one of the 3 most likely as I write (Hillary Clinton, Rudy Guliani, or John McCain), I expect the European attitudes to improve toward the US president. Even less likely presidents such as Mark Warner or Mitt Romney will benefit I think, in part because they are not from Texas.

Chirac will also be retiring because of health problems, I think. He seems enfeebled now and this will be it. Is Chirac a 'criminal'? I'm not sure. I sometimes wonder whether the rhetoric I hear isn't the criminalization of political differences that seems to be becoming the fashion these days. I suspect the truth with Chirac lies closer to the slush fund Kohl ran while Chancellor of Germany than the massive corruption which Craxi ran in Italy, if anything. Kohl had a fund of about $2 million used for strictly political purposes. Craxi took about $600 million in bribes. There is a difference.....

The press is a problem which can be dealt with short of 'getting rid' of them. We haven't managed to get rid of the biased media in the US, after all. We simply don't believe them very much any more. I suspect something similar will happen in Europe.

"the US Men's National Team is currently ranked 7th in the world..."

Scott, I hope you realize that FIFA rankings are worthless and just a pile of statistical claptrap. While it is possible for the US to beat England (#9), Italy (#13) and Germany (#17), with a full compliment and on neutral ground they all would beat the US much more often than not. Of course, come June, I do hope to see them beat Italy.

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