Wednesday, February 19, 2003[posted by jaed at 2:32 PM]
Pop goes the weasel:
Reaction to Chirac's scolding of pro-American EU accession countries (via Instapundit):
Diplomats and commentators likened Mr Chirac's comments to Soviet-era edicts to Warsaw Pact countries and warned they would have a lasting impact on France's standing and authority in Europe.
We have quotes, too:
Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Foreign Minister of Poland: "In the European family there are no mummies, no daddies and no kids - it is a family of equals."
Eduard Kukan, Foreign Minister of Slovakia: "I do not comprehend why Mr Chirac is not criticizing Italy, Spain or Portugal. After all, they said exactly the same ... I do not like it, and I do not think this way of marking us out is justified."
Ion Iliescu, President of Romania: "Such reproaches are totally unjustified, unwise and undemocratic."
Cyril Svoboda, Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic: "We are not joining the EU so we can sit and shut up."
I'm heartened to see Eastern Europe standing up to Chirac's (really shameless) bullying, all the more so that their doing so is over the issue of anti-American policy. But I also worry that all this is sowing the seeds for future trouble. The EU (apart from the easily-mocked antics of Brussels bureaucrats in serious need of lives) has the potential to be enormously beneficial to members. I have a hard time seeing Eastern European countries backing out now. They want a common market, they want freedom of movement and trade with Western Europe, and these things will likely overcome an argument about a war neither France nor Eastern Europe is on the front lines of.
But what happens in ten or twenty years? This rebellion by the "lesser nations" may well cause France and Germany to take steps to ensure their control of EU foreign policy is ironclad (and it's already clear that that policy will be explicitly anti-American). The new EU constitution proposes to take foreign policy out of the hands of member states entirely. When a crisis comes around, and the security of one or more of the member states is thrown overboard by French and German interests*, those members are going to want to go their own way - at best a constitutional crisis, at worst a civil war.
I don't like the idea of yet another European war. I truly don't.
*Think that will never happen? Tell it to the Turks.
Update: USS Clueless explains the ramifications much more clearly than I do, though he's not pessimistic about the longterm possibilities.