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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

21st Century Schizoid Man 

This strikes me as contradictory:

From Paris to Pakistan, politicians, analysts and ordinary citizens said they hoped the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives would force President Bush to adopt a more conciliatory approach to the globe's laundry list of crises, and teach a president many see as a "cowboy" a lesson in humility....

Bush is deeply unpopular in many countries around the globe, with particularly intense opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, the U.S. terror detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and allegations of Washington sanctioned interrogation methods that some equate with torture.

Many said they thought the big gains by Democrats signaled the beginning of the end of Bush's reign....

In Sri Lanka, some said they hoped the rebuke would force Bush to abandon a unilateral approach to global issues.

"The Americans have made it clear that current American policy should change in dealing with the world, from a confrontational approach, to a more consensus-based and bridge-building approach," said Jehan Perera, a political analyst. The Democratic win means "there will be more control and restraint" over U.S. foreign policy.


But while the result clearly produced more jubilation than jitters around the world, there also were some deep concerns.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told broadcaster TV2 he hoped that the president and the new Congress would find "common ground on questions about Iraq and Afghanistan."

"The world needs a vigorous U.S.A.," Fogh Rasmussen said.

Some also worried that Democrats, who have a reputation for being more protective of U.S. jobs going overseas, will make it harder to achieve a global free trade accord.

In other words, the message from the world seems to be, "We want the United States to be a leader - provided they do things our way."

Of course, this feeling is not universal. Some publicly state that they want the U.S. out of the picture:

Today is a particularly symbolic day. Cuba is a founding member of the Human Rights Council and the United States is not. Cuba was elected with the overwhelming support of 135 countries, more than two-thirds of the United Nations General Assembly, while the United States did not even dare to run as a candidate....

And if the disappearance of the United States as a superpower is to be followed by the emergence of a new superpower, the initial idea for one superpower candidate came from, of all people, Winston Churchill. Details:

Winston Churchill's call in 1945 for a "United States of Europe," a federation of European states to promote harmonious relations between nations, economic cooperation, and a sense of European identity, has caused him to be regarded as the father of European unity. While in opposition, Churchill argued forcefully at home and abroad that a united Europe was the best means to heal residual hatred from the Second World War. Yet Churchill's rhetoric is sometimes difficult to reconcile with his ambivalence regarding Britain's role in his proposed federation, particularly after he returned to power in October 1951....

Churchill coined the term "United States of Europe" in a Saturday Evening Post article in February 1930. He believed that "obsolete hatreds" could be appeased by the American federalist model, but that Britain would not belong. "We have our own dreams. We are with Europe but not of it. We are linked but not compromised."

The threat of Nazi Germany caused him to put the issue away until he proposed an Anglo-French Union as France was falling to the Germans in June 1940. In December of that year he spoke of a postwar Europe of five Great Powers (United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and Prussia) and four confederations operating in a Council of Europe to include a "supreme judiciary and a Supreme Economic Council to settle currency questions." Privately he was still determined to maintain close links with the United States and the British Commonwealth, and to maintain Britain as a world power in its own right....

In the postwar years, his advocacy of European unification served as a forum for reestablishing his status in his own party, in Britain, and on the international scene. Only months after the war ended he advocated a "United States of Europe" to unify the continent "in a manner unknown since the fall of the Roman Empire." The federation would be one of several regional units in the new United Nations. He did not believe the United Nations could prevent a future European war without a united Europe. He gave his most famous speech on this topic in Zurich on 19 September 1946. He now visualized the United States of Europe as one of four U.N. pillars, along with the British Empire and Commonwealth, a U.S.-led Western Hemisphere, and a Soviet sphere. The first step would be an alliance between France and Germany. He asked General de Gaulle to "take Germany by the hand and rally her to the West and European civilization", but the French President insisted on British participation at the beginning stage....

Whatever his intentions, Churchill's words inspired and energized continental sentiment for a solution to Europe's postwar weakness and lack of recovery. Providing legitimacy with his prestige, Churchill gave continental proponents of a united Europe political cover and helped them create forums to convert public sentiment into governmental policy.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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