Wednesday, March 01, 2017

A wonky presentation on the EU and other European issues

Here's a presentation that took place Wednesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, After Munich: A Conversation on the Future of Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship 03/01/2017:

Despite the title, there is quite a bit of discussion about EU politics. As the YouTube caption says, the two presenters are "Andreas Michaelis, Political Director of the German Federal Foreign Office, and Nicolas de Rivière, Director General for Political Affairs and Security of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Germany and France’s future vision for Europe, the transatlantic relationship, and Europe’s role in the world."

Unfortunately, their comments on Europe reflect the smug complacency of the EU countries ruling elites. That's not a good sign for the future of the EU.

Michaelis describes a recent case of Russian rumor-mongering. Although if the example he gives were the worst we had to worry about, nobody needs to sweat over it very much.

But it's nice to hear a more pragmatic take on relations with Russia than what we've been hearing in US politics. I'm very much in favor of a serious investigation of Russian intrigue in the 2016 US Presidential election.

But the underlying assumption in some of the discussion we've had about the Trump-Russia issue in the US seems to be that we're Shocked! Shocked! at the idea of another country trying political intrigues in another. To say what ought to be obvious, that's a pretty Pollyannish attitude.

American law and politics have long regarded formal ties between American political parties and foreign ones. But in Europe, that's considered a normal thing. And in the European Union, in which there is a European Parliament that has party causes composed of delegates from all the countries represented.

And it's normal for allied parties - do we still call them "sister" parties, I haven't seen that used in a while - to campaign for each other. Yes, it's normal for foreigners to campaign in their countries!

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