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May 31, 2005



"... it nevertheless removes a unified "European voice" from the international stage"

Umm ... when was there ever a unified European voice on anything? You mention Iraq - and it's a good example: Some European countries were supportive of the US (e.g. Britain), some countries wobbled (e.g. Spain, Italy), and some countries were against (e.g. France, Germany). All of those countries took their position due to internal (national, not EU) politics.

Of course, it's a different matter on economic issues, where the EU has been cooperating for a while, and will continue to cooperate (constitution or no constitution).

My point is that the concept of a 'unified Europe' which aims to counterbalance a strong US has always been a fiction in anything other than an economic sense - and will continue to be for the forseeable future. International relations has always been about working with other nations - not with vague groupings of geographically related states.

Not that it's important, but I also predict that this 'No' vote, will not produce any change in direction from EU politicians - they've always been supremely indifferent to what the smelly masses actually want, so why would a referendum affect their position?

Bill Rice


You have a good comment. However, I didn't mean to suggest Europe has ever had "one voice", but rather that the EU was a step towards that by creating a Foreign Ministry post. Reading Chinese statements from their government, they would prefer a "one voice" even if there is internal descent to deal with. Countries that agreed with the EU foreign minister would deal with Brussels, countries that did not would work to deal with like minded nations.

While full blown European integration is very far off indeed, the passage of the Constitution would have ultimately made the French position within the EU stronger and thereby leverage their voice.

Anne Applebaum has a great piece in the WaPo regarding your point about the lack of democracy and "politicians know best" attitude. Democracy won a victory in Europe with the French "Non" vote.

While the politicians will try to skirt the no votes, it is politically a different reality in Brussels and the capital of the EU power players. They will have to find a better compromise and bring their citizens in on drafting a "more perfect union".

Kind regards,

Bill Rice
Dawn's Early Light



I believe that the EU is a marginal issue within the context of global security. EU is more of an economic issue. Even if France voted "oui," it does not change the fact that EU is weak polity with little leverage - soft or hard power.

EU zone has less population than India, less growth potential, and weaker military. I am still puzzle that the US has not reaching out more to India. I know Condee went to India, but I just think we can do a whole lot more - perhap a visit by the US President.

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