Is the European Union collapsing?

Posted August 31, 2009 on 11:27 pm | In the category Europe | by Mackenzie Brothers

There was a time not long ago when optimists mused on the possibility that Europe under the flag of the European Union headquartered in Brussels might soon be a kind of United States of Europe. It would function as a large national unity built out of what once had been independent parts. In short it would become something like the USA or perhaps even more like Canada which likes to admire itself as a successful mosaic rather than as a version of the US melting pot.

In one important way, that has happened. It is now less of a hassle to drive from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea than it is from Detroit to Windsor. The border guards and custom bullies have disappeared and no one will ask you for a passport as you cross borders that once made you think twice before attempting to cross them, as the US border does now.

But in a deeper sense the European Union is proving to be an impossible quagmire of special interest groups and local bureaucracies, especially now that the current economic crisis has made clear which economies were built on a house of cards, really on a kind of pyramid scheme. This applies to almost all the East European countries once strangled by Soviet hegemony – Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania – who all got into the EU on the assumption that their economies would continue to grow, and now are on the edge of bankruptcy, or following the lead of non-EU Iceland, have actually gone bankrupt. But that also applies to former Celtic tiger Ireland, which spent money like a drunken sailor in the supposed good times, and now is in desperate need of help from Mother Brussels which is reluctant to give it. The Irish, showing their independence streak, held a referendum on the proposed new constitution of the EU last year, and turned it down, leaving the ship adrift without a captain, since the constitution must have the unanimous approval of 27 countries. On October 2, they will vote again on the issue, and no one expects them to turn it down again since the EU is now seen as the cow waiting to be milked. Needless to say the East European countries will also approve this constitution in the hope that the have countries like Germany, France, Great Britain, Sweden, Finland and Denmark will be forced to give financial support to the have-nots. But it is now a very good question whether such a referendum, if held, would gain approval from the citizens of the economic powers themselves.

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Whiting out the USA

Posted August 7, 2009 on 11:17 pm | In the category Canada, Immigration, U.S. Domestic Policy, U.S. Foreign Policy, Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

According to last week’s New York Times, the US Homeland Security folks have ordered the guards at their new border station in Massena, New York – across from Cornwall, Ontario – to whitewash – erase -the name United States from the side of their building, as they consider the name itself to make it a security threat. The Montreal Gazette then wrote that the word “paranoid” no longer suffices to describe the US border policy, “surreal” is the right word.

Can it really be that such a great and powerful country whose own border it is supposedly defending is afraid to name itself? Can anyone imagine Romania or Bulgaria, both of which are now easier for Canadians to enter than the USA is, giving out such an order to their border guards? Is the lady who not long ago announced that the 9/11 terrorists came from Canada still in charge of Homeland Security?
Please, Barack, put some people who live on this planet in charge of your borders before it is too late.

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