Thursday, October 26, 2006

Some Europeans are getting nervous...

The relentless tide of statistics seem to be provoking some concern in European capitals.

So much so that cooperation with the US doesn't look so bad any more. Let's call it the TAFTA - Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, shall we?

The two camps are divided between Europe and America on the one side and Asia on the other. But so far there has been no shouting, no bluster and no shooting. Nor have there been any threats, demands or accusations. On the contrary, there is an atmosphere of complete amiability wherever our politicians and business executives might travel in Asia. At airports in Beijing, Jakarta, Singapore and New Delhi red carpets lie ready, Western national anthems can be played flawlessly on cue -- and they even parry Western complaints about intellectual property theft, environmental damage and human rights abuses with a polite patience that can only be admired. The Asians are the friendliest conquerors the world has ever seen. [More]

There is more than a hint of racism here, and I note the author has little to say about the more interesting, and perhaps more pressing problem facing both the EU and US: immigration. Building a fortress to defend the West may be an idea about 20 years too late.

Our societies are already changed, and given the low birthrates in the EU especially, there will be increasingly few defenders on the walls should a Western fortress come into being.

But the really bogus aspect of this suggestion is the omission of any solution or even suggestion for the focus of trade problems across the Atlantic: agricultural policy. Until some glimmer of hope exists on that front this kind of teamwork chatter is empty rhetoric.

The more likely bet is Europe will stagger to an unfortunate decline clutching to her bosom the millstone of the Common Agricultural Policy. The US could conceivably slither around the problem by deftly outgrowing it.

More about that idea anon.

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