Of Chipmunks, Smoke, and Mirrors
Firemen's Parade

Connecting the Dots

There are plenty of tasty morsels in this morning's news that I'm tempted to pounce on: The Guardian's MI6 led protest against war dossier, detailing how Downing Street distorted Intelligence to push for war. Slate on NTY writer Judith Miller's distorted intelligence. And then there's poor Ari Fleisher trying to finesse the projected budget deficit: of course we know it's going to be a financial trainwreck! But it's a good trainwreck!

And there's also the cute two-headed tortoise found in South Africa, which I'm temped to spin into some kind of metaphor for what's wrong with the Democratic party:

"When the tortoise gets a fright, the heads each want to move in its own direction, and then the feet get all tangled up."

Or we could raise eyebrows and shake heads at how Victor Davis Hansen in the National Review throws around the word fascist.

But instead I'm going to connect a few dots:

While there is really a lot to complain about in the Bush administration's involvement in Iraq and in its tax cut which redisributes a whole lot of wealth back to the coffers of the wealthy where the Bush administration truly feels wealth belongs, we are being distracted by these ongoing news stories from something really big: what appear to me to be the attempts by the Bush administration and its minions to derail the EU constitutional process.

Like most Americans, I've paid very little attention to the EU. It's creation and evolution are among the seemingly boring news stories I have ignored. I have a vaguely favorable opinion of the EU; it seems to me to codify the peaceful relations between European countries which have persisted for decades. And the idea that the EU ought to have a constitution also strikes me as a good thing. Apparently this feeling is not shared by the American far right.

I've been thinking about the juxtaposition of the Financial Times story laying divisions and bad feelings between European heads of state at the feet of the Bush administration and its helpers Bruce Jackson and Mike Gonzalez; the remarks by a Republican strategist, Grover Norquist, about trying to turn the political atmosphere in US state capitols toward "bitter nastiness and partisanship"; Mike Gonzalez WTJ editorials encouraging a divided Europe; and discussions of the details of the proposed EU consitution on Henry Farrell's weblog. It seems to me that we the American people are paying far too little attention to what's happening with the EU.

The damage to relation with and between our European allies done by what seemed at the time like incompetent US diplomacy begins to seem like a coherent plan. Just as Bush's version of the Republican party seems to want the financial disaster the tax cut will create, I'm begining to understand that they want a European politics full of bitter nastiness, partisanship, and nationalism and they don't want an EU consitution. It seems that providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare are for us but not for them:

There's an interesting piece on the situation of the EU Constitution in the The Economist: Discord over Giscard's Euro vision

The ignominious defeat of Jemini (pictured above), the singing duo that represented Britain in the Eurovision contest, enraged the Europhobic British press, which reacted by stepping up its campaign against the new constitution. "Two million jobs in peril: EU to hijack our economy if Blair signs new treaty," screamed the front page of the country's best-selling newspaper, the Sun, on May 27th. British Eurosceptics fear that the draft constitution would allow Brussels to impose continental-style labour-market restrictions on Britain, thereby importing continental-style high unemployment. They are also livid at a clause in the draft obliging EU member governments to "actively and unreservedly" support the EU's foreign and security policy, which they see as a plot to undermine Britain's alliance with America.