J. Barkley Rosser, Jr. rosserjb at
Tue Apr 13 10:13:11 PDT 1999


As you well know I have agreed with you that Dennis Redmond's view that the US is a pathetic debt peon doing its Euromaster's bidding to be way off the deep end. Likewise I have ridiculed Greg Nowell's related Danube theory. But, I think that they are partly right and that you go too far in the other direction. They are not lap dogs or poodles on a leash and have serious economic and political interests in Central and Eastern Europe, in its pacification and integration as a peripheral element in the expanding EU system.

Let's look at three of the major players, those you referred to, although similar arguments apply to significant second-tier ones such as Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands.

It is conventional to call the UK a lap dog, or whatever, and there may be some truth to that. But it is more complicated. I think that the British view themselves as the better halves of the joint Ango-American imperium, in the words of Harold Macmillan, "Greece to the American Rome." After all, Thatcher provided "backbone" to George Bush in the Gulf War, and Tony Blair certainly seems to have more backbone, not to mention other body parts, than Wee Willy Wonker, thus is playing Thatcher redux. Of course all of this is cloaked in the kind of pious self-righteousness that we have seen displayed by some individuals from the UK on these lists.

(As an aside I note that my very Russian wife, who is all worked up about the Orthodox Easter although she has always been a very secular orthodox Marxist, thinks that the British are the real masters of this situation, manipulating both the US and the EU.)

As for the French, they have never been and never will be the lapdogs of the US. The Gaullist tradition of opposing in an almost knee jerk fashion policies promulgated in London and Washington is very much alive and well. Nor do the French give a foo about human rights or any of that, as their support of the Hutu genocide of the Tutsis shows very clearly. They have always had a very hard nosed and practical view of things. This is a matter of EU hegemony in Eastern Europe and the success of the euro. They are in with the Germans on this one.

As for the Germans, they are the clear beneficiaries above all others of the pacification and peripheralization of Central and Eastern Europe. The Danube theory was way overblown, but it is partly true, being really a rather minor piece in a much larger puzzle of which it is a part. The Sean Gervasi reports on German plotting against the old Yugoslavia should be taken seriously and they show the Germans if anything leading the Americans in that plotting. And Germany is the dominant power of the EU. That a Green Party Foreign Minister is now an ardent hawk on this is sign that this is not US lapdog behavior. Fischer, not to mention Spain's Javier Solana, has a long history of demontrating against the US. Indeed, many are noting that the new German government is much more interested in the German national interest and to hell with everybody else. I frankly think that concern about this and keeping the old Franco-German alliance intact is partly why the French are going along with this, as they have less direct interests as well as a history of supporting the Serbs.

Be that as it may, it is clear that the US is the leader of this effort (my wife's views on the UK to the contrary). In particular, this is "Albright's War." That Willy is a wimp means that he is influenced by strong advisers who have credibility. Despite her miscalculations regarding His Excellency's likely response to the bombing, she remains that credible adviser, tough as nails, a Thatcher for the US. She lived in Belgrade when her father was the Czechoslovak ambassador right after WW II and speaks Serbo-Croatian. I have no doubt that she carries the policy debates in Washington and so far the stated policy seems to be following exactly what she is supporting.

To you more personally, Doug. Over on pkt you put down one pathetic putz because he has never been on CNBC and you have. Now, I don't wish to denigrate your performances in such locales, but we both know that it is the ability to make a quick and effective sound bite that gets one onto such locales, not necessarily detailed knowledge. Now, I respect your knowledge of financial markets and economic data. But, in this particular debate I think that you have not spent enough time living in European countries. There is a perspective that one gets from living somewhere for an extended period of time, consuming its print and other media in its own language, and talking to people in their own language, that simply cannot be gotten from talking to people at conferences or reading books, no matter how brilliant or well written. I think you underestimate the independence of the Europeans in all of this. Barkley Rosser -----Original Message----- From: Doug Henwood <dhenwood at> To: lbo-talk at <lbo-talk at> Date: Tuesday, April 13, 1999 11:48 AM Subject: Europrospects

>Dennis R Redmond wrote:
>>The thing is, the EU just isn't following the
>>rules set by the Pax Americana; it's not interested in ruling via
>>laser-guided bombs and counterinsurgency campaigns. It prefers to trade
>>its neighbors into coexistence instead of bombing them into submission.
>Then why are the EU countries going along with the bombing, with German
>planes dropping ordnance for the first time since 1945?
>>Its central bank is reliquidizing the global credit
>>system in front of our very eyes.
>They're doing it at a rather leisurely pace, aren't they? Faced with
>profound stagnation in the early 1990s, the Fed pushed real U.S. short-term
>interest rates down to 0% and kept them there for a couple of years; real
>rates in the Eurozone are still over 2%, and budgets are still tight.

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