S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Catching up with our EU friends -

United States-Germany-Palestine-Australia relations: Can leaders of other countries be friends with our current president (OCP)? Who will emerge as leaders in the vacuum left by the decline in influence of the U.S president?
EU today - Yesterday at S/SW I blogged about about how OCP has been weakened and how he missed leadership opportunities at "The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland." Saturdays are planned to be about the European Union here at South by Southwest. Attending the forum was a very important new leader to watch, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She will hold European Union and G-8 leadership for the next year, the EU presidency for the first six months.
What is the current news from our friends in the European Union? For that I have linked to a good resource, EU News: (1/26/07), for their headlines, ending with a recent Merkel quote about Germany's economic relationship with the United States:
  • EU Gives €600+ to Afghanistan

  • European Commission Vice President Frattini: International Day of Commemoration of the Victims of the Holocaust, January 27

  • EU Sustainable Energy Week

  • EU at Lebanon Aid Conference; EUR 400 Million More to Lebanon

  • EU at the World Economic Forum (a Merkel quote):
    EU German Presidency's German Chancellor Merkel: "The US continues to be the European Union's most important trading partner, indeed we are also each other's most important investment partner. I believe the potential for cooperation hasn't been fully exhausted yet. I am talking here about non-tariff trade barriers, for example technical standards, rules for financial markets, issues in the spheres of energy, the environment and intellectual property. I see much need and scope for action here. The different regulatory approaches on both sides of the Atlantic generate totally unnecessary transaction costs. These can be reduced. We should aim to create structures similar to those of an internal market. These issues will be addressed at the European Union's summit with the US in Washington on 30 April."
Global Warming in the EU - Last week at S/SW I titled my EU-Saturday post "Big Tracks in the Carbon World." Today I found an excellent and very pertinint article on just this subject at The Australian - Business. Written by Robert Gottliebsen -also from Davos - on January 26, 2007, he headlined it "Merkel's carbon master plan." I quote in bold the portions of the rather extensive exerpt that gives insight into the declining influence of OCP abroad:

WITH US President George W.Bush wounded by mistakes in Iraq, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a dramatic bid to fill the void at the World Economic Forum in Davos and assume global leadership.And because the east German born and educated Chancellor is also president of the European Union and the G8, she is in a unique position.
The Merkel master plan has at its core the need for the world to embrace carbon emission restrictions to minimise climate change. British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a similar appeal two years ago at the WEF, but this year Merkel went one step further - she offered incentives to every part of the world to join the effort.
. . . The Merkel vision underlines the importance of Prime Minister John Howard distancing himself from the policies of George Bush, the obstinate US President who will not be easy to move on carbon emissions, especially given that his intention to use ethanol to reduce the use of petrol will create more problems than it solves unless there is a technology breakthrough.But Merkel offered the US a carrot in the form of a new transatlantic partnership where the European Union and the US streamline their rules to foster trade. The EU is America's biggest trading partner, so this was a big offer for a region where anti-Americanism runs high.She was immediately supported on climate change by the chief executive of Atlanta-based Coca-Cola, Neville Isdell. This prompted the German Chancellor to half-jokingly suggest that the top 200 US companies should march on Congress demanding government action on carbon emissions.. . . Merkel invited India, China Mexico, Brazil and South Africa to the next G8 meeting to discuss the issues. But she rejected the suggestion that the G8 be converted to the G13, saying that at this stage there were two separate problems - developed countries' need to adjust their emissions, and the need for developing countries to continue to grow rapidly while cutting emissions.
But to convince the US and the developing countries to back her plan, Merkel has a lot of work to do. Increasingly there are community backlashes against globalisation because of the fear of job losses.
In the forum it was described as the clash between the "cosmopolitans" in developed countries and the "locals" who are afraid of losing their jobs.
The "locals" are gaining traction in both the US and Europe, partly because of the growing disparity of incomes and the rise of the proportion of income going to capital rather than labour.
. . . In a strange way, all the elements of the package - European reform, a US change of attitude and the willingness of less developed countries to play - are linked. Australia needs to make sure it is not left behind.
German thinking on international relations - Recently, powerful insight became available from another German thinker. Dr. Werner Hoyer spoke via C-SPAN at Steve Clemons' New America Foundation on the topic, “Has the American Era Ended? Is the West on a Downward Skid?” To summarize,
Werner Hoyer, Germany Free Democratic Party member, talked about the West’s downward trends and what we can do to remedy it. He argued that the West is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the Islamic world. This event at the New America Foundation was co-sponsored by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.
C-SPAN - 1/25/2007: WASHINGTON, DC: 1 hr. 17 min

Davos follow-up: Mid-east peace hopes dim - As part of my yesterday's Davos Economic Forum focus, I also watched C-SPAN's rebroadcast of a fascinating Forum meeting on Thursday titled, World Economic Forum on Israel and Palestine. Two Israeli leaders talked with Palestine's president Abu Mazen/Mahmoud Abbas about how they all could move further towards a lasting peace. At the end of this post I have linked to a related news story* about the most recent Fata-Hamas clash resulting in actual loss of life.
Related news story - This morning I read this very disappointing news item at *Mideast Daily headlined, "Hamas-Fatah Clash Ends Peace Talks Palestine." Who will step in to help with this core decades-long conflict? It does not seem that OCP understands how clearly this is the lynchpin issue, in my opinion, to his success in the Middle East. I wonder how Chancellor Merkel would feel about helping us out?
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My "creative post" today at Southwest Blogger is about Mars.


Anonymous said...

As she was not Chacellor wanted Mrs Merkel help GW Bush to invade Irak. Mrs Merkel is a bad European Politician. She doenst represent the 80 percents of peaceloving People in Europe. said...

What is the current news from our friends in the European Union?"
Let me tell you.

Mrs Merkel is calling for the forced imposition of a European Constitution on the peoples of Europe which threatens to remove the independence and freedoms of the nation states of Europe. This.. despite it having been soundly rejected by the people of Europe.
Do not be fooled. Mrs Merkel is no friend of the United States and no friend of the peoples of Europe.
The EU is anti-democratic, anti-Freedom, and very very anti-American.
The over-regulated, over bureacratised, un-elected and provably corrupt EU should be consigned to the dustbin of history along woth the Soviet Union on which it was modelled!

Carol Gee said...

Thank you to both who commented. As you can tell, I am critical of our current president. If Merkel does not have it as a leader either, where should we look next for ideas for our world? I'd love suggestions.