Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Howelling - 25th March 2003,

Lord Howell writes yet again in the Japan Times on the approach that Britain should take towards Europe. He argues that the drive by France and Germany to dominate the European Union is now at an end and that the structures will have to be rebalanced towards a "gentler, more democratic" continent. In order for this to take effect, Britain has to act as a bridge-builder and coax Germany back towards an Atlanticist position.

The problem that Howell avoids is, of course, that Blair's attempt to form a troika in Europe has ended in ignominy with the continental powers actively attempting to bring down his government. Those are not the acts of longstanding allies. Moreover, Germany does not appear to be in a position where they can be coaxed...

Joschka Fischer, German foreign minister, said yesterday that Germany would flatly oppose a new world order emerging from the Iraq war, based on an all-powerful US dictating terms to the international community. Referring to Britain and Spain, he said: "One must ask whether the countries that are such close partners of the US had or have an influence [over Washington's Iraq policy]."
He said the positions taken by the British and Spanish governments had led to "major [domestic] problems that bordered on the destabilisation of democratic systems".

The combination of hyperbole and transnationalism places Germany on the side of the idealists who view international law as the moral standard. Britain, under New Labour, recognises the primacy of international law, but still views it as a tool for moral and political ends, rather than as an end in itself. If there's one thing we can be thankful for, it is that we are not yet infected by Teutonic Transnationalism, a virulent and pacifistic version of the disease.


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