You too Europe?

“The power of organi[z]ed crime in Bulgaria is finally beginning to alarm the European Union only seven months before the former communist state and its neighbo[r], Romania, are due to join.” London Times Article

So Europe is concerned about the admission of Bulgaria into the EU because of organized crime. Or could it be, that the real concern is that Bulgaria has aligned its foreign policies with the US and has directly contradicted the policy recommendations of Germany and France. The most noticeable disagreements being over the latest Iraq war.

Is Europe trying to exert its economic influence to align US allies against the world's only superpower? I think there is note for concern that a France-German led Europe may be bad news for the US, especially when they are trying to strong-arm US allies. The US's structural power, the power to influence international decision making without having to resort to military options, is waning and is being directly undermined. If nothing is done, the structural power of the US will be completely eroded and then foreign war will become increasingly common. A stitch in time….

Posted by Xander Jones at May 12, 2006 4:55 PM
Comments
Comment #147723

So, your article is based on a premise that has absolutely no documentary evidence except your own conspiracy theories.

Let me know when you have something worth responding to.

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 12, 2006 5:17 PM
Comment #147728

Yeah that was France’s attitude when Bulgaria and Romania expressed support for US policy in 2003. They told them to shut up and blindly follow France’s lead.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 12, 2006 5:50 PM
Comment #147737

I don’t really think Bulgaria’s pro U.S. position is the cause, but Xander is right about that when the E. Europeans supported the U.S. back in 2003, the French told them to shut up. And the French threatened Poland et al during the earlier expansion.

One link if you want documentation. You can google for more. There are lots.

Posted by: Jack at May 12, 2006 6:09 PM
Comment #147743

Thanks Jack. My favorite quote is the very first paragraph. “Eastern European countries reacted with fury and dismay yesterday after being summarily ordered by France to hold their tongues on Iraq and toe the Franco-German line of resistance to the US.”

Conspiracy Lawnboy? Nope. Power Politics.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 12, 2006 6:32 PM
Comment #147744

Well if you were giving Saddam money for his oil illegally whould you want anyone to find out!! The French always spit in Americas face, But the dems love them all the same

Posted by: Nathan at May 12, 2006 6:36 PM
Comment #147750
Conspiracy Lawnboy? Nope. Power Politics.

Yes, there were tensions between Bulgaria and France/Germany. I’m not disputing that. However, that doesn’t mean that Xander’s invented connection between that tension and this decision isn’t a conspiracy theory.

You have no evidence. Have only your supposition. In contrast, the reason given for this alarm - organized crime - is real (ever been to Bulgaria? I have).

So, there’s a real explanation that makes sense and isn’t refuted. You choose to reject it without disputing it, and instead to invent a nefarious unsupported connection involving secret ulterior motives.

That’s a conspiracy theory.

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 12, 2006 7:10 PM
Comment #147755

Yes I have been there. I have even worked for a private company subcontracting for the government for the purpose of helping with EU membership. Although, in my opinion they would be better off pursuing alternate means. The corruption levels you speak of in Bulgaria are higher than some places, say the US, but are less than those found in Italy, Greece, Spain, etc. And you don’t hear the franco-german alliance bad mouthing them. Only the outspoken states that support US foreign policy.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 12, 2006 7:17 PM
Comment #147756

Not that I am dismissing the understanding of governmental workings that was achieved while on vacation.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 12, 2006 7:19 PM
Comment #147758
Not that I am dismissing the understanding of governmental workings that was achieved while on vacation.

Fair enough. That doesn’t address the fact that you created a post on WB based on nothing but idle speculation.

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 12, 2006 7:35 PM
Comment #147760

Well if you want, I can run the COW analysis on French-German treatment of US allies versus US “unfriendlies” in terms of trade. The relationship for the last 15 years is significant and statistically relevant. (however, such an analysis consists of statistical output in the form covariates and r^2 scores that are both boring to read and I doubt you would accept any more than nothng at all. Interesting fact, France is the only western ally that has consistently traded more with US enemies than allies since 1950. Germany has picked up this pattern as well. It is this kind of behavior, coupled with their recent bullying tactics that I find very troubling.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 12, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #147761
The corruption levels you speak of in Bulgaria are higher than some places, say the US, but are less than those found in Italy, Greece, Spain, etc. And you don’t hear the franco-german alliance bad mouthing them.

From the article:

Since 2001, 150 people have died in daylight killings in Sofia, the capital, including Bulgaria’s top banker, a football company boss and one of its top importers. On Wednesday another businessman, Ivo Markov, was shot dead outside his home. But despite the blizzard of contract killings — which cost £30,000 each — no one has been jailed.

The concerns are about the rise of organized crime exemplified by this example. Those other countries aren’t experiencing organized crime to the level Bulgaria is.

While there is corruption in other European countries, it’s not as bad as in Bulgaria. According to a recent survey at transparency.org, Spain is seen as the 23rd least corrupt country, Italy is 40th, and Greece is 47th. Bulgaria is 55th - the worst of this little bunch.

So, we’re back to the beginning. Perhaps anger about being friend to the U.S. plays a part, but there’s no evidence of it. The only evidence we have supports the article, and nothing but your imagination supports your conspiracy theory.

I expect more of WB articles.

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 12, 2006 7:44 PM
Comment #147763

You use transparency.org… an organization headquatered in Germany and that was started by founded in large part by France and Germany. And you expect me to be surprised that the rating system supports the franco-german perspective?

Transparency International (TI)
Alt Moabit 96
10559 Berlin, Germany

Sorry. You haven’t surprised me. And if you can refrain from continuously trying to distract from the issues being raised. We’ll all be better off.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 12, 2006 7:51 PM
Comment #147767

Besides.. If I was truly a paranoid conspiracy theorist, I would point out that you seem to be a rather big fan of Germany and France yourself, as evidenced by your referenced Euro-Journal.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 12, 2006 8:07 PM
Comment #147769

Just because France and Germany dont aqgree with the US on the Iraq issue does that automatically mean they are always and forever anti American on all issues? I mean they needed to get their oil from someplace, they cut their deals. Dont we do the same thing?

Posted by: j2t2 at May 12, 2006 8:09 PM
Comment #147771
And if you can refrain from continuously trying to distract from the issues being raised.

Since the issue you raised is one of your own imagining, I’m not surprised you want to focus on it. It must be gratifying for your ego, if not useful in any way.

It is this kind of behavior, coupled with their recent bullying tactics that I find very troubling.

What I find troubling is the insistence on denigrating important and long-standing allies (200 years in the case of France, going back to when they saved our independence) because those allies had the gall to believe that friendship with the U.S. was a two-way street, that the U.S. would care about what its allies thought instead of demanding subserience from allies, that NATO was still being operated under the successful principle of Washington as the leader among equals (instead of switching to the failed policy of the Warsaw Pact - that Moscow’s word was law), and that it was ok to disagree based on different foreign policy principles. Worse, they had the nerve to be right.

I’m sick of the petulance of the American right to demand that the world see everything they way they see it, and to ignore the fact that what’s right for America isn’t right for all.

You use transparency.org

Yes, I used highly-regarded experts in the field. Tell me who’s better, and then perhaps I’ll unfairly dismiss them with an ad hominem attack that ignores the valid methodology used.

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 12, 2006 8:13 PM
Comment #147772
I would point out that you seem to be a rather big fan of Germany and France yourself, as evidenced by your referenced Euro-Journal.

Thanks for looking at my page, but thanks more for not going down the road of ad hominem attacks again.

My travels in Europe and time I spent last year in Germany in no way lend credence to your invented claims.

Posted by: LawnBoy at May 12, 2006 8:15 PM
Comment #147780

Lawnboy & Xander

I can see both your positions.

It is a type of power play. The French have been losing influence in the EU as more members come in. Most of the new members are more pro-American (or the French may say Anglo-American) than the old members. They have also spent enough time oppressed in the socialist block to be more free market oriented.

Chirac’s tantrum in 2003 was out of frustration at this changing relationship. But it was more like the U.S. got caught in EU politics than that EU politics got stuck U.S. relations.

Posted by: Jack at May 12, 2006 8:52 PM
Comment #147800

Xander-
Question: could both possibilities be true at once or is Bulgaria’s corruption problem mutually exclusive of rivalry with France?

Your approach might have us ignore Bulgaria’s flaws for the sake of France’s.

Moreover, the Republican approach in general is silly. France is still a fairly important country in the world. It’s better to coopt them and put the brakes on their behavior than to validate their hijinks with our own. We have to be the foils to our rivals adversary’s behavior, not their valid excuse.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 12, 2006 10:28 PM
Comment #147806

Certainly the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The fact that there is corruption is the proximate cause for any French/German objections, but the underlying theme for French/German foreign policy has been establishing a new world order that moves further away from a US centered one. There is a surplus of academic sources that detail a persistant and growing divergence in franco-german policy, and EU policy with that of the US. For public statements on the part of foreign policy makers (even prior to the invasion of Iraq) regarding dissatisfaction with U.S. global leadership, see Eckholm, Erik. 1999. “Bombing May Have Hardened China’s Line.” New York Times, May 18:A1; for European resistance to U.S. unipolarity, see Erlanger, Steven. 1997.”Clinton Basks at Summit; Some Europeans Are Cool to US.” New York Times, June 6:A1; Sanger, David E. 1997. “U.S., Lauding Its Economy, Finds No Summit Followers.” New York Times, June 20:A1 and if you want to see cohesion between anti-US policy between Asia and Europe see Gordon, Michael. 1997. “Contain the West.”

While the franco-germany goal of establishing a EU central world order is understandable, it is not desirable from the US perspective especially since membership in the EU may come at the cost of the autonomy to support US policies as evidenced by the French response to the former eastern bloc supporting the US in 2003

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 12, 2006 11:08 PM
Comment #148066
France is the only western ally that has consistently traded more with US enemies than allies since 1950. Germany has picked up this pattern as well.
Oh my God!! They aren’t under our thumb any more!! That makes them dangerous - a new axis of evil!! We’d better invade tomorrow!!

More wrong wing hysterics. Sigh.

Posted by: ElliottBay at May 14, 2006 10:37 AM
Comment #148241

Xander,

France is the only western ally that has consistently traded more with US enemies than allies since 1950.

I highly doubt it because, these days and according to White House, there is so much US enemies that I fail to see how *only* France will be trading with them…

Germany has picked up this pattern as well. It is this kind of behavior, coupled with their recent bullying tactics that I find very troubling.

So what? World is changing fast, states actually do foreign (and energy, as it’s often the same today) policies on their own? Oh my god, how did they dare, mind you?!?
Did I have to remind you that, yes, Germany, Poland and Bulgary are, geographically *and* economically speaking more closer with us french than with *the* US? In the globalized world of today, it’s what matter more. Sure, their foreign policies are impacted too by this closeness, indeed. Suprising, isn’t it?!
Things change. Deal with it. Or invade/vassalize us, like the former Soviet Union tried.

Stephen,

Moreover, the Republican approach in general is silly. France is still a fairly important country in the world. It’s better to coopt them and put the brakes on their behavior than to validate their hijinks with our own. We have to be the foils to our rivals adversary’s behavior, not their valid excuse.

Yep. As in any real, good friendship relation.

ElliottBay,

Oh my God!! They aren’t under our thumb any more!! That makes them dangerous - a new axis of evil!! We’d better invade tomorrow!!

Hum, let me check…
Oh, that’s bad, I’m booked tomorrow: my son would never pardon me if I miss his first soccer school team match.
Next week?

Beside, I wonder how many axis of evil your Intelligence agencies could handle before they start to mismatch them.
What?
Already happended?
You kidding!?!

Your frenchly,

PS: regarding France invasion plan, did I mention stinky cheeses and the total lack of bathroom?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 15, 2006 5:39 AM
Comment #148819

You don’t have to doubt. You can examine the data yourself. Its located at http://www.correlatesofwar.org/ . The data clearly reveals that all great power states trade more with their allies, except one. France.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 17, 2006 12:38 AM
Comment #148883

Xander,

I’ll check these Bilateral Trade stats at your link. Could be interesting, thanks.

The data clearly reveals that all great power states trade more with their allies, except one. France.

US could afford to have more enemies than any other nation in the world:
- as #1 economic power
- as #1 military power

Others nations can’t. Some tend to be friendly but not a vasal. France is most probably the nation that do that indeed.
Enemy of my friend is not always your enemy, especially in trading market and when your friend is kinda paranoid due to his #1 world position.

In this little planet, there is no “us or them”, just “we”. France disagree more with US than any other US friendly or allied (I rather like friendship over alliance) nations, that’s not new. That’s our freedom. But let me ask you: why do you still listen at french? It’s really time you start to ignore us or put France in one more of your axis of evil nations, no?

Well, maybe sometime France is not wrong, after all. Just two small and meaningless examples: we did help US to win its independence and we were *not* wrong about Iraq War possible aftermath.

Your frenchly

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 17, 2006 7:58 AM
Comment #148919

> Enemy of my friend is not always your enemy

Should be read as “enemy of your friend is not…”
Sorry.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 17, 2006 11:08 AM
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