Clinton says EU political integration is in US interests

He3

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In an interview with Denis Staunton of the IT today Hillary Clinton gives the US view on where the EU is going.

Deeper European political integration, including the enhanced EU foreign policy role envisaged in the Lisbon Treaty, are in the United States national interest, according to secretary of state Hillary Clinton. In an interview with The Irish Times , Mrs Clinton said that, while treaty changes are strictly a matter for EU member-states to decide, the Obama administration would welcome a more coherent foreign policy role.

“I think there would be advantages in having an interlocutor who represented decisions taken by the EU. It wouldn’t in any way eliminate the bilateral relations which the United States pursues with individual countries but on a number of matters, the EU being organised in that way could facilitate decisions,” she said.

“I believe [political integration is] in Europe’s interest and I believe that is in the United States interest because we want a strong Europe . We want a strong transatlantic alliance. So again, we don’t have any vote or voice in these internal European matters but the Obama administration welcomes actions that strengthen Europe and relations among European nations, a commitment on the part of Europe to be a full participant and leader in a lot of these global challenges.”


http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0320/breaking59.htm

Those who portray some Irish opponents to EU political integration as being proxy US agents might have to decide whether Clinton is lying, or whether they have been wrong in their assumptions.
 


Rocky

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The argument could be made that Bush was against EU integration while Obama is for it because of course they are two completely different people with two administrations.

However I would disagree with that argument and with the notion that the US is opposed to EU integration or ever was and that Gangley is working for the CIA or anything like that.

As Clinton outlines herself it is in the US's interest to have a strong EU.

It would be better for the US economically, as it would lead to a more stable and therefore wealthier EU, which would help the US sell goods in the EU.

Politically a strong EU would act as a counter-balance to Russia in Eastern Europe and on top of that the US and the EU could achieve more working together on issues that they agree on, which to be honest is most things i.e. stopping Iran getting nuclear weapons, an end to the Israeli-Arab conflict etc.
 

Big Bobo

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The argument could be made that Bush was against EU integration while Obama is for it because of course they are two completely different people with two administrations.

However I would disagree with that argument and with the notion that the US is opposed to EU integration or ever was and that Gangley is working for the CIA or anything like that.

As Clinton outlines herself it is in the US's interest to have a strong EU.

It would be better for the US economically, as it would lead to a more stable and therefore wealthier EU, which would help the US sell goods in the EU.

Politically a strong EU would act as a counter-balance to Russia in Eastern Europe and on top of that the US and the EU could achieve more working together on issues that they agree on, which to be honest is most things i.e. stopping Iran getting nuclear weapons, an end to the Israeli-Arab conflict etc.
What a load of waffle. How would further integration lead to a wealthier EU? and why do want to start a new cold war?
 

Rocky

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What a load of waffle. How would further integration lead to a wealthier EU? and why do want to start a new cold war?
I'm not, however Russia have been putting their weight around quite a lot in the last year year or so.
 

Gadfly

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The US position on the EU in general and on the major EU issues has always been nuanced.

Clinton and the entire Obama team are keen to put clear water between themselves and the nightmarish Bush experience, and these comments are part of that. No bad idea, given Bush’s deserved unpopularity in Europe. Even to change the tone of the discourse helps, whether or not the political substance changes.

The Obama administrations will continue to push US interests, full stop; the question is whether there is a genuine rethink on the merits and the objectives of EU integration.

Bush, a master of the disguised agenda, was relentlessly ambiguous on this. There was no overriding conception of EU integration as a good thing. Instead we had an a la carte approach. On trade, the EU is an awful headache where US and Europe are in competition, though useful when it comes to keeping the rest of the world in their place. The approach here has been to divide and conquer. Pick off the weak ones of the herd and work on them. Ireland plays a bit part here, as a willing Trojan horse for nonsense like GMO.

On the great game, the cold war continuance, the priority was to get as many former Russian satellites into the EU as possible. This had the useful side effect of putting a bunch of grateful and pliant lightweights into the EU mix. Their job was to push the EU consensus closer to US positions. The payoff included the outflanking of “old Europe” in the matter of seizing control of Iraqi oil. This was one of very few instances where France and Germany found themselves together on the losing side in any serious issue.

Rumsfeld’s contemptuous reference to old Europe, by the way, could be the signature phrase of the whole period. After that, no one ever needed reminding that Washington only listened to people that agreed with them in the first place.

The push to rope in former Russian dominions, by the way, had its limits. Only the Tories, the original lunatic fringe, are on board with the idea of including Ukraine and Georgia in the EU.

On economic affairs generally, the Bush project was from the beginning to orchestrate what may prove to be the most massive transfer of wealth from the many to the few in human history. The EU was a potential obstacle here, but it proved easy meat. One key move was to install the host of the Azores summit – a final transatlantic coordination before the Iraq invasion – as President of the Commission. More outflanking was well underway. Trusty and proven neoliberals outnumbered those tainted by French or German-style social market ideas. It was no accident that McCreevy got a central financial portfolio.

The project has of course succeeded. The inside job has emptied the coffers, the conspirators have made off with the loot, and the job of cleaning up the mess has been left to the other lot.

In this context, Clinton might as well steer a new course. The focus now has to be economic recovery, and the logic of coordination among the leading economies is currently stronger than a beggar thy neighbour logic. This may change (and if it does, we are in even deeper doodoo). On foreign policy, Clinton is smarter than Bush's with-us-or-against-us nonsense. She is probably comfortable with a hard cop-soft cop partnership, for instance on Iran, and she probably realises that cohesion within the EU strengthens the possibility of pushing “Western” interests in international fora.

None of these has any particular bearing on Lisbon, but we can expect to hear that Obama/Clinton would really want us to vote yes. This might even influence some voters.
 

He3

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Very interesting observations in that post Gadfly. Thanks.
 

He3

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No, this can't be true, I've read several thousand threads here saying that a no vote was a vote for American hegemony, that no voters were stooges of CIA agents. Shurely shome mishtake...
Yes, Clinton clearly does not know the real story. Where are Gay Mitchell and Lucinda Creighton when you need them?
 

McDave

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In an interview with Denis Staunton of the IT today Hillary Clinton gives the US view on where the EU is going.

...

Those who portray some Irish opponents to EU political integration as being proxy US agents might have to decide whether Clinton is lying, or whether they have been wrong in their assumptions.
Generally speaking the US has supported EU economic integration. What it has not appreciated is challenges to its preeminent global role. Since it has now lost it's unique post-WW2 status, the more conciliatory (read less hawkish) among their number now realise that in a world with a billion Chinese, a billion Indians and a billion Muslims, maybe it's best to operate alongside a politically and economically strong Europe with which it shares at least some values. In a multipolar world, US and EU power-bases will reinforce each other, at least where they pursue similar goals using broadly peaceful means.

There are still of course strong interests in the US who believe they alone should rule the world, but that neocon ship has sailed, with it's shortlived new-right Irish proxies on board.
 
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ibis

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Those who portray some Irish opponents to EU political integration as being proxy US agents might have to decide whether Clinton is lying, or whether they have been wrong in their assumptions.
Or the choice you have mysteriously failed to mention, but Rocky picked up on, that it's a different administration. Also lostexpectation's point:

she said it clear enough don't ******************** with our bilateral agreements designed to ******************** with you
That was indeed the selling point on the US not liking Lisbon:

New EU treaty worries US intel services

As EU governments focus on securing ratification of the proposed Lisbon Reform Treaty in 2008, United States policymakers are concerned its provisions could present serious challenges to transatlantic intelligence and homeland security co-operation. The main US reservation is that, by transferring additional law and justice functions from the individual EU member states to EU institutions, the treaty could disrupt existing bilateral relations between US and EU governments without establishing anything better.
Courtesy of Jane's Intelligence Review - not exactly a lightweight source, for those who might be unfamiliar enough to think that's a blog...

Now, let's think - was Bush closely connected to the US intelligence services, those permanently paranoid defenders of all things apple pie? Why, I think he was!
 

FutureTaoiseach

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Makes a mockery of the claims Libertas is backed by the CIA/US. :roll:
 

He3

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Let's look at the third possibility - that the new administration has reversed a Bush administration policy which opposed EU political integration.

Is there any evidence of such a policy? We know that the US is capable of formulating secret policy goals, but that it is incapable of keeping them secret for very long - the administration leaks like a sieve. So has anything come into the public domain that establishes the existence of such a policy?

If not, and if this secret policy has stayed hush-hush against all odds, maybe the claim can be tested in another way - if policy has been reversed under Obama, and if Libertas is a US proxy, can we expect Libertas to campaign for Lisbon in the Neverendum?
 

Thac0man

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Those who portray some Irish opponents to EU political integration as being proxy US agents might have to decide whether Clinton is lying, or whether they have been wrong in their assumptions.
Why simply assume that anyone involved in the Lisbon debate in Europe is a US proxy? That US interests coincide with the some aspects of Lisbon makes sense, but it remains an issue after the fact. It would be easier for the close US/EU relationship to work if the US did not have to court every single EU member individually when trying to get consensus. The result of that consensus though would not necessarily favour US interests.

I see absolutly no US dimension to the Lisbon debate. Zero. Any attempt to graft one on is simple denial of the complexity, power and worldwide influance the combined EU has in global affairs.
 

ibis

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Let's look at the third possibility - that the new administration has reversed a Bush administration policy which opposed EU political integration.

Is there any evidence of such a policy? We know that the US is capable of formulating secret policy goals, but that it is incapable of keeping them secret for very long - the administration leaks like a sieve. So has anything come into the public domain that establishes the existence of such a policy?

If not, and if this secret policy has stayed hush-hush against all odds, maybe the claim can be tested in another way - if policy has been reversed under Obama, and if Libertas is a US proxy, can we expect Libertas to campaign for Lisbon in the Neverendum?
OK - well, leaving aside the question of whether the whole idea is reasonable in the first place, that still doesn't follow, since it leaves out the option of simply reversing the policy of using/backing Libertas.

Of course, it also leaves out the option of Libertas being backed by some entirely unofficial group or individuals - say wealthy Republicans - or not even being backed, but merely encouraged by consideration of favourable business treatment.

Thac0man said:
Why simply assume that anyone involved in the Lisbon debate in Europe is a US proxy? That US interests coincide with the some aspects of Lisbon makes sense, but it remains an issue after the fact. It would be easier for the close US/EU relationship to work if the US did not have to court every single EU member individually when trying to get consensus. The result of that consensus though would not necessarily favour US interests.

I see absolutly no US dimension to the Lisbon debate. Zero. Any attempt to graft one on is simple denial of the complexity, power and worldwide influance the combined EU has in global affairs.
Hmm. OK, well, my estimation of the plausibility of US involvement has just gone up.
 

McDave

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Let's look at the third possibility - that the new administration has reversed a Bush administration policy which opposed EU political integration.

Is there any evidence of such a policy? We know that the US is capable of formulating secret policy goals, but that it is incapable of keeping them secret for very long - the administration leaks like a sieve. So has anything come into the public domain that establishes the existence of such a policy?
There was plenty of evidence of the Bush regime's hostility to EU political integration.

By definition political integration can only be built on a platform of values, and in the EU that has traditionally meant the integrationist philosophy and drive of Germany and France (something which has irked US WASPs' EU counterpart, England and its own brand of hostility to continentally-driven political initiatives and compacts). G, F and many other EU states gave Bush a bloody nose over the invasion of Iraq, and when it became clear the the US could not control the EU Bush and Rumsfeld became very hostile. There was that whole Old Europe thing which was a direct attempt to drive a wedge between Western European countries and the US-compliant new accession states. The missile defence plan was another attempt to amplify this difference.

On top of that, throughout the whole Bush regime there was a sneering tone in the (largely "patriotic" pro-Bush) US media towards all things European - freedom fries, the futility of the Euro (the single biggest threat to US hegemony over the West), Lisbon, low military spend etc., etc.

I for one wouldn't underestimate the lack of perspective in the neocon Bush regime nor how far it was prepared to go to get its way. It thought that trampling over EU political integration was going to be the the easiest of it's tasks, especially after Bush declared "mission accomplished" in his cute little flyboy suit.
 
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Gadfly

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Let's look at the third possibility - that the new administration has reversed a Bush administration policy which opposed EU political integration.

Is there any evidence of such a policy? We know that the US is capable of formulating secret policy goals, but that it is incapable of keeping them secret for very long - the administration leaks like a sieve. So has anything come into the public domain that establishes the existence of such a policy?

If not, and if this secret policy has stayed hush-hush against all odds, maybe the claim can be tested in another way - if policy has been reversed under Obama, and if Libertas is a US proxy, can we expect Libertas to campaign for Lisbon in the Neverendum?
Hilary has no particular incentive to falsely characterise this administration's attitude to EU political integration. It is not electorally sensitive - her answer is not going to win or lose votes. And it is not strategically sensitive, in contrast to a question like "will you invade Iran if they don't shape up?"

But how does Hilary define EU political integration, and what would successful integration mean?

“I think there would be advantages in having an interlocutor who represented decisions taken by the EU. It wouldn’t in any way eliminate the bilateral relations which the United States pursues with individual countries but on a number of matters, the EU being organised in that way could facilitate decisions,” she said.

I ran this through my realpolitik translation programme, and this is what came out:
“An EU that is uniformly in line with US positions would be an improvement on the divided EU that made the Iraq job even trickier; but if the EU as a group lands on the wrong side, we will continue to work through bilateral channels to undermine this.”

Bush was solidly in line with US conservative attitudes on the wider world. This was the logic:
1. the US is top dog, hallelujah;
2. all others are either followers or rivals;
3. mulitlateralism by definition is a threat to US dominance;
4. we don't like others forming alliances outside of our direct control; this applies both to friends and enemies. The EU has become a bit uppity.

Obama and Clinton have a different attitude. I think there is a significant difference, but this does not mean a complete change of direction. The logic now runs:
1. the US is top dog, aw shucks.
2. wanna be in may gang?
3. mulitlateralism can be used to further US dominance;
4. we don't like others forming alliances outside of our direct control, but we are fairly sure we can control the EU.

On the question of Libertas and the US, Libertas has always been pretty much in line with US conservative thinking in general. I wouldn't expect this to change, but I would expect the appeal of the message to lose traction as people register the different emphasis coming out of Washington.
 

He3

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You could licence your realpolitik translation programme Gadfly.
 

Catalpa

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Maybe a better way of looking at it is that a fragmented Europe is not in the interest of the USA.

Three times in the 20th Century the US had to intervene in Europe's Wars to secure a (more or less) positive result.

The third time is one Mrs Clinton would be personally quite familiar with.

Since 1905 the problem/s of Russia and her place in Europe & the wider World has exercised the minds of Washington Diplomats and politicians and as things stand right now she cannot be ignored nor fully included in a pan European Alliance.

A European Union working in cohesion with its member states and bearing strong cultural and political ties with the USA is something that any American President should favour.

The Economic angle is more problematical but manageable - - its a by product of the existence of Sovereign States that has to be tackled on a case by case basis - it also tends to be symbiotic when large Power Blocks are in contention.

The end result of greater integration for Ireland though is we will end up as a minor province situated on the outer rim of the Greater European Empire.

No Thanks!

EUROPA CONVENTUS DELENDA EST
 

He3

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Continuing its recent spasm of bashing the US (started by Lucinda and Gay last year) FG's Jim Higgins now tells us that Ganley is a 'puppet of the US Military'.
 


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