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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Venturing into the Eurozone

I've been trying to pay closer attention to the financial difficulties now being experienced by the European Union, those 17 or so countries that have come together in a loose confederation, and, among other mutualities, are users of the currency called the Euro. We are told quite often that these guys need to get their act together with the Euro, not least because if they don't, it will be a disaster for the U.S. economy as well. It seems that, like the U.S., deficits among some of its members are collectively beating the EU over its head.

Affairs of high finance are usually far outside my normal range of interests, and therefore the ins and outs of this mess are not easy for me to understand. Yet I don't feel bad or inferior about it, because if they were easy to understand, since we are also given to understand that there is so much extra brain power among the Europeans when compared to all the other ethnicities in the world, they would have gotten their money matters straightened out a long time ago, or better yet, they wouldn't have gotten into such trouble in the first place.

To find out what's happening with the euro, what one learns out from U.S. news reports is practically useless, because our media pays as little attention as possible to what happens beyond our shores, and also they wouldn't know what's going on with the financial stuff anyway. Instead it's necessary to keep company with a site like the BBC News. And also it turns out that probably the best and most interesting way to get a handle on the Eurozone stuff is precisely to take sightings over the English gunbarrel.

That is because though the UK is a part of the EU, the British retain a touch too much of the colossal arrogance that at one time led them to go out and claim sovereignty over the majority of the world, and they haven't integrated themselves as much into this newly unified Europe as most of the other countries, of which their failure to use the euro and drop the pound is the most obvious sign. Yet the European bloc is their biggest trading partner, which means they are forced to pay close attention to its fortunes.

A day or two ago, all the countries in the EU except the UK but including as many as 10 other countries that aren't even in the EU agreed to have a treaty that would commit them to tighten up their financial practices, in the hope that this would, for one thing, help them to get past their current debt crisis. But after trying to get some exceptions drafted into the treaty that were specific to British interests and failing in that, the British decided to pick up all their marbles and go home. It is thought that the current British Prime Minister, a conservative named David Cameron, did this to satisfy the Europhobes in his party.

Some, like Andrew Sullivan in the Daily Beast, say that Cameron did exactly the right thing, but, like a member of the British Labour Party, I don't see it that way. So allow me to be so bold as to ask how that bid for isolation can possibly be a good move . Have the British decided that, like Israel, to depend on being in the U.S. camp even more, to keep up the illusion of being independent even though it only amounts to them having all the appearance of being boils on America's behind?

Britain, despite that huge empire that it had no so long ago, is still just a small country that isn't even attached to Europe or anything else, because it's on a small island. You would think it would behoove them to join forces with their nearest neighbors, a couple of whom, France and especially Germany, are bigger and stronger in important respects than the UK is, and that is not to mention the rest of the EU, which, even with its currently weak sisters, like Greece, Spain, and Italy, is, taken together, still a powerful force in world affairs.

Tents come in handy, when it comes to pissing times, as Lyndon B. Johnson said in so many words, a while ago.


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