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June 29, 2004

Comments

Feel the power of the Dark Side, Edward. Is not its aroma delightful, its flavor rich and majestic on the tongue? You could take that power; you could make it your own and do great things with it. Mastery of it will accomplish all of your dreams. All that is required is the Will to reach out and accept it...

Darth Lane

PS: Seriously, I figured that that comment of Chirac's was more for domestic consumption than anything else. Germany's much more sanguine on the subject of Turkish membership than France is, and I just can't see him annoying both Germany and the US.

I have long argued (probably even here) that Turkey is the real stepping stone into Middle Eastern democracy, and if we had diverted the resources and attention from the massive clusterfizzle in Iraq into economic and diplomatic work towards furthering Turkey's position, we would actually be accomplishing what so many people claim to want to accomplish.

See also Henry Farrell.

Let us never forget, in our criticism of Bush the "Freedom Fry" Congress, and other stupid reflexive Europe-bashing, that Chirac is a real schmuck too.

Feel the power of the Dark Side, Edward. Is not its aroma delightful, its flavor rich and majestic on the tongue?

So the VWRC is really just a coffee importer?

"So the VWRC is really just a coffee importer?"

Well we are a direct descendant of the movement to make ware to safeguard the tea trade dontcha know? ;)

We also import chocolate by the way.

We also import chocolate by the way.

That's the best thing I've ever heard about the VRWC. ;-) Of course, I can't buy the chocolate for fear of supporting evil right-wing candidates and/or conspiracies, but, you know, chocolate is good.

Let us never forget, in our criticism of Bush the "Freedom Fry" Congress, and other stupid reflexive Europe-bashing, that Chirac is a real schmuck too.

Yep. Chirac won his last election because the French decided between a schmuck and a fascist, they'd sooner have the schmuck.

well Edward, it's finally happened. You have crossed over to the dark side, but hopefully only temporarily.

I agree with Chirac on two counts. First, it's not America's place at this time to criticize the EU in relation to Turkey. The EU is feeling it's way and trying to do the right thing and if they disagree amongst themselves at the moment, this debate may be the best way to make the right decision in the end. Who is Bush to tell anyone what are the best choices when he is basically the Anti-Midas when most of what he touches turns to merde?

Secondly, I think admitting Turkey into the EU is a mistake at this point in time. The EU is growing too rapidly and at this point there needs to be a breather before expanding further. Take a hint from Home Depot here, expand quickly at your own peril. The EU members have been dealing with alot of changes in a very short period of time. No one is saying that Turkey shouldn't be admitted, it's just about 'when' much more than it is about 'if'. Patience babies, everything in good time.

Edward, I think Chirac is moderately pro-entry, so your tone is probably uncalled-for. Turkey has systematic problems with human rights and is huge and poor. Moving it into the UN is an enormous undertaking and the date is EU business.

Henry's comments include the following links by Jeffrey Bogdan:

If you and Chirac can’t think of a good reason to exclude Turkey from the European Community, pass this link on to him:
http://www.amnestyusa.org/turkey/women.html
http://www.phrusa.org/research/torture/tortur.html
And this one is only 1 year old: http://www.fidh.org/europ/rapport/2003/tr361a.pdf (Also available in html in the Google cache.

so your tone is probably uncalled-for

Does not the day of the week end in "d-a-y"? Un-called for tone is my specialty.

Rilkefan and wilfred, I did not advocate letting Turkey join today, but rather ask simply that Chirac not stand in the way of talks. Noting that it will likely take a decade for Turkey to get all their human rights issues up to snuff and that the potential benefits for world peace far outweigh the possible Home Depot effect, there's nothing in Chirac's "mind your own business" retort to Bush (AND note, Britian, Italy and Germany agree...not exactly a US v. Europe debate, this) that indicates anything other than bigotry to me.

And if Chirac is moderately pro-entry, then he's clearly playing this tit-for-tat to look tough back home. In doing so, however, he's making it tougher for Turkey. There are plenty of checks and balances in the system to make sure they are ready to join when the time comes. Turkey deserves better from him.

Sorry, Edward, I think President Bush went too far.

I agree with him, but it's not his place to say that.

I wonder if you would have written the post in the same flavour had you not agreed with him (merely wonder - I'm not saying I'm sure you would).

Yes, it would be good, but it's not for Bush to say that. There is an etiquette. Him speaking out on issues like this does not do much for diplomacy.

Furthermore, though Chirac is not averse to being very much on the arrogant, haughty, etc. side, and yes, he's in many ways trying to rally round the shrunken flag of French power, he and his government are more pro-Turkey than you realise; as indeed statements since your post have shown.

And I'm not sure that the title of this post is terrifically diplomatic, either, though you are of course not a diplomat.

I think that the best way to get Turkey banned from the EU at this point would be to have Bush publicly call for it to be admitted.

I think that the best way to get Turkey banned from the EU at this point would be to have Bush publicly call for it to be admitted.

I don't know about that; but no matter what Bush had said about it is sort of irrelevant - any non-neutral comment is wrong.

Or we just remove all diplomatic etiquette.

Chirac is loud and he's the obvious choice to 'denounce' this, and he always speaks far too strongly, but the point, though badly made, stands.

"I agree with him, but it's not his place to say that."

He's the elected head of state of the most powerful nation on Earth, giving his opinion about the difficulties being encountered by an official ally of the United States of America. The area in question is under the formal protection of the United States of America, complete with troops on the ground, and most of the countries involved are linked to the United States by a web of agreements and treaties, up to and including a formal military alliance.

I'd say that it's his place to at least articulate an opinion, thanks. :)

You're right James, I'm not being very diplomatic in all this, but my concern is a bit more personal here. We have friends in Turkey who need jobs and need them now. Anything that adds to the delay (and Chirac didn't say, "Oui, I agree with Bush, Turkey should be allowed in, but I wish he'd mind his own business") directly affects them.

More than the awful economy there, Turkey is expecting another major earthquake relatively soon (apparently the plates that slipped last time will eventually need to resettle...don't ask me for geological terminology), and if there not better equipped to handle that crisis economically than they are now, well, I hate to think about the consequences.

Chirac is stomping his feet for French honor in all this. Sorry if that's not as important to me as measures to improve people's livelihoods and help save their lives.

I'd say that it's his place to at least articulate an opinion, thanks.

Not in public.

He's the elected head of state of the most powerful nation on Earth

Moe, as a great American hero's father-figure once said, 'with great power comes great responsibility'. Bush's words were not responsible diplomatic behaviour.

As for the rest of your points, well, with all that backing, surely Turkey doesn't really need vocal support, does it. To be honest, I don't see anything in the things you list that says anything other than 'We can, so we will'. Okay, so I'm annoyed right now, and probably blinkered, but at least let me know that isn't your point.

And Edward, I don't care whether it was Chirac or anyone who said it; it's unfortunate that it was Chirac, but the point stands.

Where do we draw the line in what we do publicly and privately? Moe has argued that we can't just cut off relations with Uzbekistan, but work subtly to improve matters. I agree. The United States Government could easily influence matters privately without doing things like this which inevitably irritate far more people.

Er... just to clarify, I'm not saying the European Union is A Force For Evil and boils people alive. I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure we're nicer than that. On the whole. Though I did see an annoying person on the train today.

James,

Did Bush's comments irritate Germany, Italy and Britain?

Edward, impossible to tell. When we don't like things other countries say, on the whole we try to avoid saying so outright. Chirac is wrong for being as blunt as he was, because that wasn't diplomatic, but that doesn't make his point wrong.

"because that wasn't diplomatic, but that doesn't make his point wrong."

Which could just as well be said (and was, in so many words) about Bush.

Pox on both yadda yadda

"Okay, so I'm annoyed right now, and probably blinkered, but at least let me know that isn't your point."

Not really - more like "We will, because we're, like, already involved and stuff" - but I'm still of the opinion that Bush didn't do anything wrong in articulating American policy on the issue at hand.

And as I said above, I agree with Bush on this issue. Just not with the public announcement of it.

but I'm still of the opinion that Bush didn't do anything wrong in articulating American policy on the issue at hand.

Okay, well, I think that to get into any further discussion on why we disagree would probably dredge up the ghost of W J Clinton, and How To Conduct Foreign Policy, and that's just a discussion that's... too, too much.

I see this as two questions, both of which I tried to address in the original post.

1. Does an American president have the right to dictate European policy or actions.

Absolutely not. I noted "Normally, I'd jump all over an American President (of either party) who had the cajones to tell Europe how to conduct their business."

But in this instance I don't feel the faux pas made by Bush is anywhere near as dangerous or harmful as the political posturing made by Chirac. And yes, my personal interest here makes me more impatient than diplomatic. To anyone who has a problem with that, I say "Plfffffft!"

2. Should Chirac play politics with Turkey's EU application?

If, as many here are suggesting, Chirac is actually more pro-entry than not, his stance is pure politics and shameful.

Fair enough, James.

Chirac is actually more pro-entry than not, his stance is pure politics and shameful.

Pure politics? No! Only 96.5%! 96.5%, I tells ye!

>;-P

Hmm, that smiley looks a lot better in Courier New or whatever you have in the comments text box.

Whatever Chirac's motivation, is it really wise for the EU to expand to include a Muslim nation without at least confronting the problem of mass unassimilable Muslim immigration? Turkey would provide an easy conduit into the European mainland for immigrants from Islamic nations, many of whom are up to no good.

France, Italy, Britain and other European country already have an enormous problem, in that the immigrants whom they rely on for labor and to prop up their extravagant welfare states are generally and deeply hostile to everything European.

immigrants from Islamic nations, many of whom are up to no good.

The nationality of the headline insult is interchangeable Paul.

Normally, I'd jump all over an American President (of either party) who had the cajones to tell Europe how to conduct their business,

Cajones means "large shipping crates." Cojones means "balls".

This bit of drive-by pedantry wasn't meant to be mean-spirited; but it is one of my pet peeves and I couldn't resist.

nachos grasses, Alex...

; )

Actually, the large shipping crate version is even more appropriate.

Edward:

Shall I take that to mean that this line of inquiry is off limits, on pain of being called a Frickin' American Idjit?

Paul,

I overreacted. Sorry about that.

After I posted my snippy remark I thought through a bit more clearly what you were saying, and it's a valid line of inquiry.

I'd rather the presumption were "some immigrants from Islamic nations might be up to no good" but other than that, your comment is definitely something to consider.

Chirac does have a mess on his hands with regards to crime among Muslims in France, but it's an age old problem where richer countries import cheap labor and then try to blame the immigrants for not turning "French" (or whatever) fast enough.

Paul, while I believe your overall thesis has merit, I think you overreach in looking to tie it to Turkey.

First, there's already an easy conduit for immigrants to France through North Africa. Turkey could hardly be easier. Second, there's nothing about Muslim immigrants in this context that sets them apart from any other. The lead anecdote of the article you linked to refers to Romanians (who, admittedly, may have been Muslim, but there's no reason to think so). The theory seems predicated on the idea that these immigrants come to France by and large to steal from parking meters, which is a reach. It should be quite clear that they come to France for the opportunity (European opportunity). Their later disaffection comes not from cultural differences, but from economic hardship or stagnation. It's the same story in the American ghetto, where I'm sure you'll agree religion (largely Christian) is not the deciding factor.

"whom they rely on for labor and to prop up their extravagant welfare states"

Can you elaborate on this? From the stories I see, immigrants are largely the recipients of welfare, so they aren't doing much propping.

The age-old problem of importing cheap labor is indeed pretty old, but it is complicated immensely here by the religious affliation of the cheap labor. It is not particularly pleasant to say such things, but this one is true.

I am quite solidly opposed to the American policy of importing cheap Christian labor (it is morbidly fascinating to watch Mr. John Kerry rail against the depression of wages for the American working man, without ever even touching on the primary cause of this), but I am not so foolish as to fancy that we are worse off that Europe.

Another unpleasant fact to face for modern man is that religion matters. It is true that Islam at times has been quiescent, but for the great bulk of history Islam and Christendom have been at war. Only one fact obscures this huge truth from our view; the fact that it has been a religious war, waged over souls and for the souls of whole nations; therefore it has been slow and erratically conducted. It began in what we call the Dark Age and has not yet ended; and we would do well not to sneer at a war that has gazed with patient eyes on the fall of Constantinpole, and the rise of Feudalism, Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy.

Modern man does not think much of religious war; but perhaps he ought to consider that religious war thinks quite less of him.

I remember reading somewhere that immigrants can never become full citizens in Germany. Is that correct? If so it is a terrible, terrible idea.

And does France have similar rules, or is naturalization there more like it is in the U.S.?

I'm not going to touch the religious war stuff right now.

I think Chirac reaction is justified. Just a few comments:

1)This is an internal issue for Europe. Just imagine if Chirac was lecturing the US about the fact that Porto-Rico has still not been admitted as a US state. Chirac's statement reflect the feeling of most Europeans. Previous US declarations on Turkey membership had not been well received.

2)Having the most impopular US President in history making this kind of declaration is very counter productive. The Turks don't need this kind of help, and I am not aware that they have asked for it. Moreover, an overhelming majority of European public opinion is probably against Turkey membership. It really will not help European governments to have GWB doing the PR.

3)The official position of the French government is not markedly different from other European countries. If the EU commission decides to recommend starting adhesion negotiations with Turkey, it has said it will vote in favour.

One overlooked angle: I always thought that Turkey's last-minute decision to sit out the Iraq war was in part due to French pressure.

Given that France got what it wanted, it's rather surprising to see Chirac behaving this way towards Turkey.

Or further proof that Chirac will happily stab allies in the back.

And why shouldn't he? It isn't as if anyone's holding him (or France) accountable.

Sidereal:

Dalrymple writes, Where does the increase in crime come from? The geographical answer: from the public housing projects that encircle and increasingly besiege every French city or town of any size, Paris especially. In these housing projects lives an immigrant population numbering several million, from North and West Africa mostly, along with their French-born descendants and a smattering of the least successful members of the French working class. From these projects, the excellence of the French public transport system ensures that the most fashionable arrondissements are within easy reach of the most inveterate thief and vandal.

I think the Romanians were an exception used for ancedotal purposes.

It is true that high numbers of immigrants already come to Europe from North Africa, but most of these come illegally, and must cross a large body of water to do so. Turkey is contiguous, and, after acceptance into the EU, would likely lose a sizeable amount of its sovereignty on things like immigration. In short, Turkey would be forced to liberalize her immigration laws* to comport properly with European multiculturalism.

My broader point is that bringing an Islamic nation like Turkey into the EU ought to spark some debate about the Muslim populations already in Europe, their role and their duties there, and the idea of mass immigration itself.

______
* I confess that I do not know what those laws are like now; I'd imagine pretty strict.

"This is an internal issue for Europe. Just imagine if Chirac was lecturing the US about the fact that Porto-Rico has still not been admitted as a US state."

Two fairly major distinctions:

Thus far relations between European nations is not 'internal' it is 'international'.

Puerto Rico doesn't want to be a state while Turkey would love to be in the EU.

The whole religious aspect plays a role, but Turks on the wole are rather secular and not very fundamentalistic (though there are extreme groups as well). The economic impact plays at least as big a role - as does the humanrights issue and the uncertainty about the 'democratic stability'.
We just admitted 10 new members, Rumenia will probabely enter in 2007 and it is frequently stated that giving Rumenia a fixed date was not smart. Of the current members only 6 or 7 are actual nett contributors, so adding 70 million people in bad economic circumstances is not the easiest choice.

The EU is currently in a process of becoming more of an entity (or less, if some parties get their way) and should put lots of effort in building up its own democratic procedures. The "constitution" is only a first step and needs to be accepted via referenda in quite some countries.

I think that it would be good for Turkey to become a member, but it needs lots of discussion and thinking through. And Edward: even if it became a member that would be years in the future and thus no help for the next quake.

Chirac is not that anti-Turkey (Greece is the biggest hindrance I think, though there is ample discussion in every country afaik). Berlusconi suggested that Russia and Israel could become members too, after Turkey, so his idea about the EU seems to differ greatly from the view most other members have.

And Bush should refrain from telling the EU how to conduct their internal affairs. It is none of his business and frankly, seeing how much he knows about the subjects he *is* responsible for I have to assume that he nows nothing at all about the complexity of such a merger. Let him stick to NAFTA and why it does not do what it is supposed to do if he feels a need to comment about the various forms of cooperation with neighbours.

Believe or not, I actually remember people criticizing Reagan's "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" as being stupid diplomacy and "not America's place". Ahh, the more things change...

Chirac is an idiot and he is the one foolishly lacking diplomacy.

Katherine,

I remember reading somewhere that immigrants can never become full citizens in Germany. Is that correct? If so it is a terrible, terrible idea....And does France have similar rules, or is naturalization there more like it is in the U.S.?

It's my understanding that in Germany, one must be a third-generation immigrant to qualify for citizenship. It's insane. France, to its credit, does not.

Taken from
http://www.germany-info.org/relaunch/info/consular_services/citizenship/generalinformation.html

Question 2
How do I obtain German citizenship ?
- by birth to a German parent
[...]
-by birth in Germany
If you were born after December 31, 1999 to foreign parents in Germany.
One of the parents must have been a legal resident in Germany for at least eight years at the time of your birth. [...]

You can also become a german citizen by staying in the country long enough (I seem to recall 10 years), asking for it and laying down your old citizenship.

It's not easy, but entirely possible and usual. The problem with turks in germany was that they didn't want to give up turkish citizenship. And even that is not a problem nowadays, when you're born inm germany.

Just to clear up any misunderstandings

It's not easy, but entirely possible and usual. The problem with turks in germany was that they didn't want to give up turkish citizenship. And even that is not a problem nowadays, when you're born in germany.
AFAIK Turks loose there right to inherit if they give up their citizenship. Sometimes giving up citizenship (if possibe, Katherine just tought us all that Syria f.i. does not recognize that) is 'unfairly disadvantageous', which is why a lot of countries acknowledge dual citizenship for some groups.

"Believe or not, I actually remember people criticizing Reagan's 'Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!' as being stupid diplomacy and 'not America's place'. Ahh, the more things change..."

Getting off the subject of France, I think that's a fair comparison in only one way: that both statements of diplomatic position (Reagan's and W's) don't really amount to much. I think that gestures along the lines of the Reagan quote had so very little (if anything) to do with the dissolution of the USSR. American military buildups were an influence (moreso the resultant technology advances), to be sure. But, whatever the U.S. did or didn't do pales in comparison to all kinds of internal factors old and new (de-Stalinization, availability of consumer goods, parasitic nomenklatura, etc., etc.). Gorby was a true believer and child of the 20th congress who did not forsee the consequences of his own policy tourniquets.

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
"Oh, ok. Sorry, Ron, our bad."

BTW, I agree with W. on this one. To put it simplistically (my specialty), Turkey's been bending over backwards for years on this, and Chirac's a punk just like so many of his Grande Ecole buddies. Talk about nomenklatura.

"Bush held up Turkey"

Ah, but was it a plastic turkey?

This reminds me of the time in high school when, at a summer int'l studies program where we all were divided into country-teams, my fellow fake Germans and I repatriated 1,000,0000 Turks. When we told the German embassy folks about this on our field trip to Washington, they said, "Good job!"

While Syria doesn't recognize renouncing your citizenship, it is still good enough for Germany to naturalize Syrians. Dad was there, did that, got the passport. And that was before the new dual citizenship laws.

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