Thursday, March 31, 2005

Saving Europe: Stop Treating US Allies As Enemies

Earlier posts showed the cost to the US of losing the UK to a French- and German-controlled EU. The US needs to act now to stop this, and my first suggestion is that the US stops treating allied citizens as felons.

To recap: within 18 months, 25 European nations are set to merge into a European Union with common foreign policy, common economic policy, and common military. The merged EU will likely treat weak nations like this:

France

And will help China sink this:

Abraham Lincoln

Here's how the US loses allies.

Until last year, citizens from friendly counties could visit the US without visas. This was a two way agreement - US citizens don't need visas for those friendly countries.

Starting last September, the US now fingerprints and photographs every allied visitor. That would include the families of the men and women fighting and dying alongside the US in Iraq.

That has generated a huge and growing amount of resentment in every country effected & is one of the main drivers of the steady growth of anti-Americanism. It will also have a big impact on US tourist revenues this summer. And it's undermined the positions of friendly politicians, notably Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi.


If this reaction seems unreasonable, here's how Americans reacted when Brazil Immigration photographed them.

European governments haven't retaliated - most are pleased to see the US shoot itself in the foot. And the Brits treat the US as an ally.

So any European entering the US has the same amount of hassle as entering the dictatorships of China or the old Soviet Union. By contrast, Europeans are waved through immigration in countries from Japan to Australia, and of course all European countries.

Now this scheme is nothing to do with anti-terror (although the idiot in charge claimed that) - any sensible terrorist will either have forged passport or will just come in through Mexico. It's about the INS using the emergency to grab an extra bit of control. To be fair, the scheme might catch Kofi Annan's feared Repeat Suicide Bomber...

Here's what the US should do:


1. At each of the 115 airports where they operate the scheme, install special immigration lanes for citizens of their coalition allies. EU nations effected are Denmark, Great Britain, Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, Poland.

2. Staff these lanes with the least horrible INS officers available.

3. And don't fingerprint or photograph.

The White house may have to move Norm Mineta and Asa Hutchinson from the TSA to make this happen. Maybe enlisting them as Minutemen?

Or the US can do nothing and watch its allies fade away.