EU Truth and Consequences
Gandalf's bet is that France will OK the integrationist EU constitution and the Brits will reject it. And that will be just fine for the US and UK.
Of course the French polls show a big anti-integration majority. But we're talking about France! That bunch of over-controlled rebellious teenagers! They'll flounce about a lot in fits of sulky histrionics. But as long as their EU allowance keeps flowing (which it will), they'll vote Yes.
And if by any chance the vote is looking close, expect a big influx of votes from the French Caribbean departments. In the vote for the Euro in 1992:
In actual fact in continental France there was a majority NO vote. However, the "colonies" in the Caribbean, Guadeloupe and Martinique tipped the vote the other way.
Also, Chirac can now use the Washington State Dimocrat precedent - voting by felons and dead people. Didn't France colonize Haiti, home of the voodoo zombies? I bet French zombies get to vote.
Here's my pledge: if the French vote No, I'll force myself to drink a bottle of their crappy wine.
Moving on to the Brits. They put up with adversity for a long time, but then get really mad. Right now they are pretty mad - what they were sold as a free trade area has turned into a bunch of crooks trying to take them over.
EU Serf elegantly de-constructs a Europhile attempt to terrify the Brits with threats of what will happen if they Vote No.
Popular newspapers claim, for example, that the constitution would force the United Kingdom to give up its seat on the United Nations Security Council; that Brussels bureaucrats would command British troops, control British oil reserves, and regulate British borders; and that the EU would gain new powers to interfere in the U.K. labour market. None of these points is true, but the popular press knows how to frighten people.
Those pesky Brit newspapers have plain misconstrued this part of the EU Constitution:
“The member states shall co-ordinate their economic and employment policies within arrangements as determined by Part 3, which the union shall have competence (power) to provide . . . the union shall have competence to define and implement a common foreign and security policy, including the progressive framing of a common defense policy.”
The Europhile continues:
...this scenario is the one most likely to unfold if the constitution fails the British referendum: the emergence of a "messy core."
Economically, a European core dominated by Paris and Berlin would likely lean toward defensive or possibly protectionist economic policies that would not be in Washington's best interests. Most of the union's more dynamic economies-those of the United Kingdom, Poland, and the Nordic and Baltic countries-would be outside the central group.
If the France/German dominated Euro area adopted protectionist economic policies, I guess they'd stop importing from and exporting to the US and UK. Bad idea - here are the EU numbers for Jan-Nov 2004 (I guess the EU takes December as vacation).
Euro area exports to UK: Euro 188 billion
Euro area imports from UK: Euro 130 billion
Euro area surplus with UK: Euro 58 billion
Euro area exports to US: Euro 159 billion
Euro area imports from US: Euro 104 billion
Euro area surplus with US: Euro 56 billion
Soo, being isolationist with the US and UK loses the EU a trade surplus of Euro 112 billion - about $150 billion. And this is bad for the UK and US?
Back to our Europhile:
Led by Chirac and Schroeder, the core countries would promote a multipolar world, with Europe as one emerging pole. At the same time, the EU's periphery, including the United Kingdom and Poland, would tend toward Atlanticism. With that kind of split foreign policy, Europe could not develop into a more effective strategic actor.
If Europe isn't a more effective strategic actor, I guess that means they wouldn't arm China.
I think I'll go break open a bottle of good Italian Pinot Grigio.