Oh dearie me Mr. Garton Ash, oh dearie me

Second, that such wholly independent states can still effectively defend the interests of their people, even in an interdependent world increasingly dominated by non-European powers. Both claims fly in the face of evidence from past and present.


My evidence for disputing the second claim is the emerging world of the 21st century, in which Europe\’s relative power has diminished, is diminishing and will continue to diminish. Faced with old and new superpowers, we Europeans must hang together or we\’ll hang separately. Take the Eurosceptic path, and the Chinese will be laughing all the way to the bank (which, by then, they\’ll probably own anyway).

If we are talking about military then we cannot defend our own interests anyway. The US is the military hegemon and has been for 30 years now. So that part of it doesn\’t matter.

In economic terms, you\’re infected with this very strage idea that other people becoming rich is somehow to our disadvantage. In reality, nothing could be further from hte truth. We are not in an economic \”war\”. Trade\’n\’all that is about voluntary exchange: it doesn\’t matter about who is richer, who is more powerful, it still takes place if it is mutually beneficial and doesn\’t if it isn\’t.

Whether Europe has the EU or not makes absolutely no damn difference at all to any change in relative wealth.

10 thoughts on “Oh dearie me Mr. Garton Ash, oh dearie me”

  1. From the article:

    A poorly designed, over-extended and ill-disciplined monetary union is in danger of falling apart, bringing bitter recriminations and lasting divisions.

    Clearly, the solution has to be a even greater extension of this poorly designed monetary union.

    I want to ask what happens if the eurozone does fail, one way or another – and that failure begins a much larger process of gradual disintegration.

    We can but hope. It’s not as if any of alphas in the voracious mass of politi-weasels (Helmer is hardly significant) are showing the necessary backbone to ask us whether we agree with the endless “further up and further in” ratchet.

  2. …… Take the Eurosceptic path, and the Chinese will be laughing all the way to the bank …..

    Mecantilist rubbish.
    The Chinese have an extremely stupid business model that swaps lovely, valuable iphones & TVs for useless and easily devalued IOUs. Its a model that is just as broken as the Greek “someone else should pay” model.

    How a socialist inspire regualte the hell out of everything, ban as much as possible and increase costs at every opportunity is supposed to help European companies compete with their Chinese counterparts has always been something that I struggle to understand. But then unlike Mr Garton Ash I am not an Oxford Professor.

  3. you’re infected with this very strange idea that other people becoming rich is somehow to our disadvantage

    If this concept could be hammered into the heads of every citizen of the world, we’d live in a better age. I’d also accept PJ O’Rourke’s formulation (“If I eat all the pizza, you don’t have to eat the box”).

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    Rob – “Pooling defence at the EU level will reduce the UK’s ability to defend itself.”

    Especially from the French. Now we are in deep economic doo-doo I think it is time to revive our long standing policy of fighting the French in alliance with the Germans. It has been down hill ever since we tried it the other way around.

    China getting richer is only a good thing if getting richer modifies and moderates their policies. That is why we had sanctions against Russia. We did not want them to get rich or to acquire the technology we are throwing at the Chinese. May it will work out. May be not.

  5. It seems there is a bit too much faith in the power of fair trade, or that such a thing exists.

    To assume that the motivation of China and other countries in their growth is merely that, growth, is to deny the evidence of history and the scraps of opinion that we get from the likes of Chinese and Indian people on the street; not to mention any personal agendas of their politicians.

    It is not an unreasonable belief that China and India particularly, not only want to get rich, they want to beat, in every sense of the word, the decadent, arrogant, exploitative Europeans who have lorded it over them for a hundered years, or more. All you need to do is look to history to know this is true, its what happens when great powers get usurped.

    The EU might be a mess, but it is the only way European countries will be able to defend their integrity and avoid becoming vassal states to the new powers. I would rather compromise with the Germans, French and bloody Italians and remain relevant than put the UK up for sale to the new powers and become an irrelevance in the world.

  6. Thomasz lays it on a bit strong, but I don’t totally disagree – when you’re dealing with a country that’s state-controlled, immensely mercantilist, and more powerful than you, that’s the point where Ricardian free-market trade theory breaks down.

  7. thomasz,

    What does that actually mean?

    When you talk about becoming vassal states, does that involve force, or is it some other pressure. Can you give an example of an equivalent vassal state today?

    I genuinely don’t understand what you think will happen.

  8. So rather than becoming a vassal state to the new powers, thomasz would like us to be come a vassal state to the old powers.

    Forgive me if I’m a bit underwhelmed by the offer.

    How about not being a vassal state to anybody?

    Like, you know, we were for the last thousand years or so – something like that perhaps?

  9. I’ll believe France and Britain has become irrelevant in the face of a growing China when international oil and gas workers happily get on board a Chinese helicopter to fly to a rig.

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