Thursday, June 01, 2006

Europe's Disease Process: Treatment Is Indicated.

Victor Davis Hansen has written another excellent essay (found in RCP)entitled, Europe's Good Intentions Have Gone Sour. I recommend it.

Here is a snippet:

Publicly, Europe's frustrations are fobbed off on "crass Americans" - and particularly George Bush. The Iraq war has poisoned the alliance, the Europeans insist. They contend that America's greedy consumers warm the planet, siphon off its oil and trample foreign cultures.

But in private, some Europeans will confess that the problem lies with Europeans, not us. Some brave soul soon is going to have to inform the European public: Work much harder and longer for less money; defend the continent on your own; move out of mama's house and start changing diapers - and from now on expect far less from the state.

Times are changing. No longer can the Europeans play this Iraq card. Iraq was not nor will it ever be the root cause, of much of anything. It is not the disease, it is merely a symptom. Some may recognize it, but others still are in denial.

One of my very best friends in the world has Hepatitis C. How he got it, no one knows. He works in the healthcare field and had two very bad traffic accidents (one on a motorcycle) many years ago. He got transfusions both times.

The thing that makes this pertinent is he is now undergoing highly specialized drug treatment that has a good success rate. He is about half-way through a year long regimen. And it's hell. He doesn't have an appetite, he gets nauseated, and is easily fatigued. But he does it, because he sees beyond the sacrifice. He wants to get better and is willing to pay the hard cost of getting there.

It isn't easy, he still works full time. There are days that I will call early in the evening and his wife will say that he is in bed. He has lost a lot of weight.

Why am I saying this?

Europe is in trouble right now. They know it, we all know it. Like anywhere else, to get a lot of Europeans to admit it may be tough, but deep down, the majority of them know it. Europe is sick.

So, the exact course of treatment may be open for debate. But, there must be some kind of action taken, before the symptoms get out of control and choke the life out of one of the most beautiful continents, on earth. To put this off longer would give the disease process time to grow and weaken the system, further. So then that treatment, becomes less likely to succeed without further drastic measures. Maybe it gets so advanced that nothing else can be done.

It won't be easy and it may be unpopular with some people. But for Europe to survive beyond 50 years, I really feel there is need for treatment, and soon. But this time, Europe must be willing to treat itself, be fully aware of the side effects, and most of all must be compliant. As in the case of my friend, Europe must endure those side effects to get well and must look beyond present miseries that may crop up along the way.

It didn't get this way overnight. It will not get fixed overnight. But the process must begin, for it to have an end.

16 comments:

G_in_AL said...

Well done sir.

ms. miami said...

i'm sorry, but this guy doesn't seem to read the european press.

the french and germans (the press i read) are constantly debating the issues surrounding their economies. no one is in denial over the problem, just over what to do next. the anglo-saxon model clearly isn't problem-free, so they'll have to discover their own path.

i have no idea what this has to do with the iraq war- clearly two different issues.

Shah Alexander said...

Real Clear Politics? This is the first time to see its homepage. I regret I did not find "about us" page on this site.

The gap between America and Europe is narrowing on immigration and Iran. What will happen in the forthcoming NATO defense ministers meeting?

On the other hand, Ms. Miami is right to say that the Anglo Saxon model is not always feasible in Continental Europe.

LASunsett said...

G,

Thank you sir.

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

i'm sorry, but this guy doesn't seem to read the european press.

I suspect he does and that's what led him to make the comment about Europeans not speaking about the woes publicly.

i have no idea what this has to do with the iraq war- clearly two different issues.

You are exactly right. They are. That's the point Mr. Hansen was making.

I know from my experiences interacting with the Europeans I know and love dearly, whenever the talk turns to the woes of the Europeans, Iraq comes up quite frequently. It's almost like our older brother can't forgive his younger.

Europeans are very proud people. so are Americans. They want to be right, like anyone would. They think they were right, we think we were right. Maybe there is no right or wrong here, in a concrete sense. But whatever the case, it's time to move on.

What I see Europe needing to do is re-thinking some things, first by letting things drop. It's sort of like when your older sibling says it's okay, it was nothing, and I forgive you. But they keep re-hashing it over and over, everytime an argument on something else comes up.

That's called brown-bagging.

LASunsett said...

Shah,

Ms. Miami is right to say that the Anglo Saxon model is not always feasible in Continental Europe.

That's a fair statement. But let me ask you something.

Why is it that Europe, which has almost twice the population of the United States, cannot outproduce the U.S.?

I mean, the economic system is their choice, that much is certainly true. And it won't work unless the people want it to work. But if they did want it and did try to attain it, they could and would most likely outproduce America, 2:1.

So, in essence, I guess I am saying that is fine if they do not want the Anglo-Saxon model. But do not whine and cry about things, when they don't work out. Socialism brings on malaise.

The Anglo-Saxon model appears to be working well in Japan, China, India, Britain, Australia, Ireland, the U.S. and other places. I cannot see how it cannot work on the continent.

GM Roper said...

As one taking chemo-therapy to survive the ravages of cancer (I'm clean at present) I can certainly sympathise with you friend with Hep C. And he is exactly correct, it is tough, heartbreaking (and mind numbing) at times, I too have lost weight, strength and a lot of hair. The cure sometimes seems not worth it is, though in my heart, like your friend I know it is. The Euro's however (and I lived there many years ago) will take a different look at the issue, they will say that they would rather have the disease, though it may kill them. That is a shame because there is much of Europe (sans France) to admire and emulate. But not their tendency to give up, no, not that!

Mustang said...

To appreciate Europeans, one not only has to know their history, but also their psychology. Being “continental” is a bit of a smug snobbiness that affects many Europeans (but certainly, not all). They perhaps identify with being European more than they do with a national attachment. After all, isn’t that the entire point of the European Union? They are willing to give up their sense of nationalism for a greater good. But is the EU a greater good? It will be hundreds of years before anyone will be able to determine whether the EU was a good idea. But given the European preference for Socialism I have to say that it isn’t off to a good start. In effect, what Napoleon started, and Hitler attempted to complete might be finally implemented by the victors of two brutal world wars.

One European explained it to me this way . . . Europeans who wanted to embrace rugged individualism, take great risks, and possibly attain great gains migrated to the United States. Those who could not survive in a free society (that is, become personally responsible for personal and collective destinies) stayed in Europe where governments tell the citizens what, when, where, and how much.

Between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II, many European countries attempted to embrace democratic ideals. It did not work for them because they didn’t realize how much work it takes to assure a successful democracy. These pre-WW II Europeans wanted to return to the age of absolute monarchies . . . and they got their wish in the form of Hitler and Mussolini. Following WW II, most European nations struggled back and forth between socialist, communist, or coalition governments. Most people simply threw up their hands and “gave up.” They so ignored what was going around them, many European countries today are on the edge of becoming an Islamic state.

Today I spoke with an American who migrated here from Germany 25 years ago. He has nothing but contempt for the European mentality . . . he said to me, “I have no use for Europe. It is a place for sheep.”

ms. miami said...

gdp is not the only way to measure the health of a society. fyi- post-katrina services increase the gdp of the u.s.- doesn't mean it's a good thing.

for those declaring that europe has 'given up,' i would say that your study of the issue is rather superficial.

i'm also sorry to see french-bashing here. it's akin to racism and very ugly.

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

gdp is not the only way to measure the health of a society. fyi- post-katrina services increase the gdp of the u.s.- doesn't mean it's a good thing.

I fully agree that GDP is not the only indicator, but it is a big factor in the overall success of a nation's economy. That's why they call it a "leading" indicator. And the US outproduced the EU nations long before Katrina.


i'm also sorry to see french-bashing here. it's akin to racism and very ugly.

I am assuming you mean GM's comment. Was Flocon's recent post that caused a big stink at SF's site, racism? How about the others that go off on anti-American tirades? Are they racist?

I am sorry Ms Miami, even though I may not agree with GM's assessment, his remark is nowhere near the magnitude of what I read at SF's site, sometimes.

ms. miami said...

lasunsett- there is a clear difference between disagreeing with a particular policy of another country (or your own) and claiming that an entire people is without merit.

at times, flocon attacks american 'mentalities' and is definately called to the carpet when he steps over the line. it's a delicate balance and he clearly pushes the boundaries.

there is a method of disagreeing with systems or ideas without being a hate-monger.

i was recently writing about the problems i have with the french education system (where i once studied, so am relatively well-versed). i disagree with some of their educational philosophies, but won't attack an entire bloc of people.

LASunsett said...

Ms. Miami,

I cannot speak for GM, he made the remark, not me. But it looks tongue in cheek to me. I really cannot say that he is lumping a whole group of people into one category based on that one remark.

But as for Flocon, he is not the only one and I think you know that. My question to you still is, are they racist, when they bash Americans? Why are you silent there, when that happens?

As for the Flocon post, unless I missed something very few people (save M.Eand me) called him to task for that offensive post. What I did see was quite a few weak justifications and defensive postures, when I took him to task for it.

Rest assured that if I thought GM was serious about his comments,I would argue the matter with him. But I seriously doubt that he is.

ms. miami said...

fslasunsett-

i wasn't around that day for that particular post of flocon's, but know which one you're talking about.

if you can give me cases of other posts that you consider american-bashing instead of policy-bashing, i'll be happy to let you know what i think.

i imagine that gm was intending a tongue-in-cheek comment, but i hope he realizes how it can be interpreted.

i've dealt with anti-americanism in europe first-hand. if someone has an negative opinion on some particular aspect of my society or government and can articulate it in a non-inflammatory manner, i'm all ears.

every society has its relative pros and cons and is composed of individuals. it's really unfortunate to hear from someone claim that an entire society is void of admirable qualities.

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

if you can give me cases of other posts that you consider american-bashing instead of policy-bashing, i'll be happy to let you know what i think.

I am talking about commenters and comments, primarily. GM did not post, he commented.

If you would like proof of the nasty anti-American comments, I can provide them, when I get a chance. But I know you have read them.

ms. miami said...

lasunsett- sure, just give me some examples that you perceive to be anti-american.

however, let me add that for any regular bloggers on sf's site that i consider incapable of having a "real" discussion, i don't bother. this should only be a minority of cases.

LASunsett said...

, let me add that for any regular bloggers on sf's site that i consider incapable of having a "real" discussion, i don't bother. this should only be a minority of cases.

That's precisely why I frequent his blog. Most all of the regulars stay focused on the issues and are respectful. I don't agree with most of you, about half of the time. But, I enjoy the discourse.

I (like you) also ignore a lot of things that aren't to my taste. You do not see me going to sites and being obnoxious. And I always have treated everyone that comments on this blog with respect, regardless of whether I am in agreement with them, or not.

That said, I have known GM in the blogospere for the better part of a year, or so. He has an advanced degree, he is one intelligent and insightful individual. I cannot fathom that he would really believe in his heart of hearts that there was no damned thing good about France. Again, I do not speak for him, but that's my assessment.

Does he believe that France has problems? Does he believe that others in Europe have them too? I am sure he does, and I do too. I lived in Europe, I saw it from the eyes of an American whose ancestors were from there. I have never had nothing but the greatest respect for its people and its culture.

But, I fear for it and for the very reasons I state, almost everytime I post about or refer to Europe. And there other Americans that feel the way I do. We all know that Europe has problems and in the end we are going to need each other, if we are to stand against the threats to western civilization as we know it. We want and need Europe to survive and be strong. Just like they need us too.

These petty competitions, grievances, and arguments over next to nothing, won't ensure a very good future for either continent.