The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The EU Needs To Get Clear On Its Interests

One of the more useful neoliberal writers I’ve been reading recently is Kishore Mahbubani. A point he made about US and European foreign interests really came home to me recently, seeing news of a refugee crisis at the Belarus/Poland border, where Belarus has deliberately released migrants in retaliation for EU sanctions and, this

Readers may remember that Turkey, during the last refugee crisis (still ongoing, but much reduced) used holding and releasing refugees as part of its negotiation with the EU, similar but not identical to what Belarus is doing. Those refugees, of course, came from countries like Libya and Syria which the EU had helped devastate, as well as other countries in the Middle East and Africa which could not give their residents decent lives. So the people fled to Europe.

Which brings us back to Kishore’s points. The US has no significant interests in most of Africa and none in the Middle East now that it is a net producer of oil. It should disengage from places it has no significant interests in (this includes Afghanistan.)

The EU, on the other hand, shuddered under the relatively mild recent refugee crisis. It is where refugees will go when their countries blow up, especially countries nearby, because it offers the best quality of life in Eurasia.

This means it is not in the interest of the EU to destabilize countries, to sanction them or to even to see them stagnate or fail economically. If they do, Europe is who gets the refugees, and Europe cannot handle refugees, politically or economically. (Arguably Europe might figure out how to economically, but Europe is wedded to doctrinaire technocratic neoliberalism and incapable of meaningful policy outside that framework.)

This is why the EU screamed so loudly when the US unilaterally left Afghanistan: they knew they would get the refugees.

The EU is the world’s second or third largest economy, depending on how you measure it. They could have provided sufficient aid to Afghanistan to reduce the refugee flow. They didn’t. They couldn’t continue occupying Afghanistan themselves, because their militaries are set up as auxiliaries for US troops: they aren’t capable of long term, long distance, large scale operations though France manages some in its old African possessions.

After World War II Western Europe was a US satrapy, and Eastern Europe belonged to the USSR. This was simply a fact: huge numbers of US and Russian troops were stationed in Europe.

The Europeans have never recovered from this: they still act as if the US rules them; they act as if satrapies, expecting the US to take the lead.

But the US does not have the same interests as Europe any more. Not only is Europe far more subject to refugee issues, as already noted, but it’s far more integrated into the Eurasian (and Chinese) economy, and its future is within that economy, not with the US.

So Europe needs to get off its knees, and stop pretending it isn’t a great power. It needs to stop damaging countries that will send refugees to it; it needs to support countries so that they don’t shed refugees, including helping them develop; and it needs to build a reasonable military, capable of operating where it has interests and certainly big enough to credibly deter Russia without American help. (That the EU is scared of Russia, a country with a much smaller population and economy, is ludicrous and pathetic.)

It may be that for its own reasons (its commitment to technocratic rules) the EU will come to oppose the rise of China, or it may be that the EU will decide to cooperate with China in developing countries whose undevelopment is a threat to the EU, but whatever Europe decides should be based on a clear-eyed look at its own interests.

If Europe continues acting weak, putting its defense off on the US (which no longer has the same interests) and refuses to look after its unique interests, there’s a good chance the EU will eventually collapse or be reduced back to its western core (German, France, hangers on). It already lost the UK, the eastern provinces are restive, and its prestige is weak compared to 20 years ago.

It’s time for the EU to either decide to be a great power, or to simply buckle under to whoever offers the best combination of threats and blandishments: the US or China.

(My writing helps pay my rent and buys me food. So please consider subscribing or donating if you like my writing.)


The ACA (Obamacare) Has Performed As Predicted


Privatization Is Always A Ripoff


  1. bruce wilder

    There is a lot that could be said about the issues you raise:
    1. a lot under the heading “long history” — to wit, Europe’s colonial relations with Africa and Asia matter and continue;
    2. neoliberalism is a pretense — it is hard to speak or even think realistically in neoliberal terms and this is a feature of neoliberalism that makes (perhaps ironically or contradictorily) it an attractive framework for political coordination. “It’s complicated . . .” is a neoliberal mantra.
    3. the EU is hardly a monolith: it does not have unitary interests and it is simply foolish, even on an elementary level of discourse, to speak as if it does.
    3a Under cover of the rhetoric of neoliberal coordination cum obscurantism, various subterreanean ideas and interests are constantly burrowing. See 1. for one set which is easier to identify from afar because the history of colonial exploitation is clearer. (Europeans themselves can be amazingly self-deceived about colonial relationships — think of the Brits who think India misses them.)
    3b The EU is divided against itself: the creditors against the debtors; the top-income countries against those in the middle-income trap; the complex and ambivalent national histories, especially in relation to liberal democracy and nationalism.

    Immigration is an impossible issue for the EU on so many dimensions at once, it almost cannot be described. Of course, Turkey and Belarus, among others, use border control as a cudgel or lever.

    Both China and Russia, which have political structures that can rationalize a national interest and coherent strategies, will look to exploit the “underbelly” of European contradiction. The Chinese road-and-belt strategy is systematically taking over neglected southern ports in Greece, Portugal, Trieste? Fiume? The Russian gas is vital to Germany (where the younger generation is being slowly screwed).

    There are more than a few obstacles to the EU “getting clear on its interests”.

  2. Plague Species

    I believe Syria was the last Big Hoorah as far as the Coalition Wars are concerned so you don’t have to worry about the EU joining forces with a major power to aid an invasion and occupation. Oh sure, destabilization efforts will always continue until man is no more, but they are taking a new shape, i.e. Over the Horizon.

    What’s of equal or greater concern is the imminent refugee crisis prompted by environmental destruction. Is there a plan in place on how to manage what is coming? If there is, they’re keeping it secret which is ominous to say the least. If there is not, well, destabilization will continue at home just as surely as its waged against countries that have no capacity to defend against it.

  3. Hugh

    The EU is a joke. It was based on the con that if European countries integrated their economies their political systems would follow, and one day everyone would wake up and there would be a Europe, all shiny and new and so much better than those vulgar Americans. But it never happened.

    There is an unelected Euro-trash bureaucracy that makes rules and regulations but there was never any plan. Most of the commonsense regularization was done years ago. Now it mostly persists because that’s what bureaucracies do.

    Brexit wasn’t just a case of “What can you expect from those crazy Brits?” The exit of the EU’s second largest economy was a major failure of the EU which the EU didn’t prevent, duly ignored, and learned nothing from.

    In a lot of ways, it is the story of a screwup foretold. It has been largely airbrushed out of history but France the super EU country almost rejected the founding EU Maastricht treaty in 1992 with it passing in a referendum with only 50.8% voting yes. Then there was the adoption of the euro in 1999 which heavily favored exporting countries like Germany and screwed everyone else. Then there was the Greek debt crisis that began shortly after the 2008 financial meltdown where Germany hung out to dry and managed to kill off a fair number of Greeks, all for a backdoor bailout of some of its banks. This was followed by a bank crisis that has never really ended in most of the EU’s southern tier of countries. Negative and non-existent German leadership and aid as well as the complete absence of any European leadership has led to the the EU’s whole eastern tier going increasingly authoritarian. Add into this Germany’s disastrous and cynical handling of the 2015 immigration crisis, and top it off with the arrival of covid. With covid, the EU essentially disappeared –with its individual countries thrown back on themselves to deal with it.

    The EU needs to stand up and go its own way? Seriously? Germany pays 1.4% of its GDP on defense. And why not? Real leadership takes commitment. And it takes money. Germans and Germany just find it cheaper to leave all that lowly stuff to those silly and often obnoxious Americans, or in a crunch those arrogant French,

    The point of this screed is that Europe has bad neoliberal leadership like the rest of us. They are just even more reality disconnected even than we are.

  4. Hugh

    I should say that I agree with Plague that climate change is going to send tens of millions of climate migrants and political refugees from failed and failing states toward Europe. Europe can’t handle them and won’t. It is already at its breaking point and the great migrations have not yet even begun.

    Meanwhile Glasgow has turned into a fiddling while Rome burns festival. China the world’s biggest emitter did a no show because it intends to pollute and burn carbon for as long as it can. and doesn’t want to go to any venue where people can point this out. Russia another big emitter led by that great statesman Putin did a similar cut and run. China, India, and the US will continue to burn coal. China, the US, and Germany will continue to build carbon producing vehicles. Asia and China produce most of the world’s methane and will continue to do so. Countries are underestimating the amounts of carbon they are producing by between 25% and 40%. So we are looking at a 3 degrees Celsius rise because it is business as usual and no one can be bothered.

  5. different clue

    There is a difference between ” the EUropean countries” and the EU bureaucracy system of rule ( and probably the Corporate Globalonial Plantation Lords it exists to serve).

    In other words, EUrope harbors a vampire succubus on its body called the “EU Commission OverLord Government” or whatever the vampire succubus is called. If EUrope cannot exterminate this entity, the EUropean countries can never make any national sovereignty or even Greater Regional sovereignty decisions. If the EU vampire succubus feels that it can get the most long term power for itself by selling EUrope to China, that is what the EU vampire succubus will do. And China will graciously allow Europe to live on as a cultural petting zoo for the delight of Chinese tourists and branch managers of China’s New Euro Plantation. And that may be a better deal than anything the US can offer.

    Meanwhile, Russia will try to preserve its separate sovereign existence in the teeth of all this. Russia will try to keep its relationship with China as an alliance of equals. If Russia can prevent hundreds of millions of illegal Chinese settlers from building illegal Chinese settlements all over Siberia, we will know that Russia is succeeding. If China starts calling Siberia the ” North Bank of the Amur River” (or just the “North Bank” for short) then we and Russia will know what China intends for Siberia and for the relationship.

    There are Americans who would like to abolish burning coal for electricity. Right now, they have zero power at the national level. Regionloads of them may have some “cultural economic warfare” power at their regional levels, if they decide to adopt the mission of developing separate secession-ready political-economic societies in their own regions, featuring the zero-use of coal derived electricity.

    Ian Welsh has viewed with dismay the fitful rise of “exterminationist rhetoric” in American society. As it becomes more clear that the only way to solve certain problems is to exterminate the groups and classes of people who are causing these problems for their own profit and power, Ian Welsh will hear more “exterminationist rhetoric” coming from America.

    Communazi China is playing a game of Skycarbon Chicken, as I have noted before. The Communazi Chinese goal is to exterminate all industry existing outside of China, and especially all renewable industry existing outside of China. Since the International Free Trade Conspirators will keep money serving this Communazi goal until all industry has been exterminated outside of China, the only way to save any industry and especially renewable energy technology industry outside of China is to win the kind of civil war which would allow us to round up and physically exterminate every free trade perpetrator and supporter, in their millions, to remove their opposition from restoring Protectionism and Autarky to big countries and multi-small-country regions. That is the sort of “exterminations rhetoric” which people will hear more and more of until it becomes accepted as analysis and then becomes put into practice.

    If not, America will become one of Communazi China’s “overseas Tibets” and EUrope will become Communazi China’s cultural petting zoo.

  6. Mark Pontin

    ‘China the world’s biggest emitter did a no show because it intends to pollute and burn carbon for as long as it can. ‘

    China is already geoengineering in a massive area around the Himalayas, something that is not getting reported in the Western media — which latter is just as interesting as the fact itself. So they are not putting their heads in the sand.

    ‘The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is often called the water tower of the world. As the source of most of Asia’s significant rivers—the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, Salween, Mekong, Yangtze, and Yellow Rivers—the plateau provides water for more than two billion people downstream. In the Yellow River’s catchment, traditional—if extraordinary—water management techniques are reaching their upper limits. Severe stress on available water in the North China Plain, nearly half of which comes from Qinghai-Tibet, is tied to burgeoning consumption, water-intensive agricultural production, and industrial activities. Fears over its future scarcity due to climate change and the depletion of glacial reserves in the Himalayas have led the Chinese government to implement water precipitation enhancement technologies at a dramatically increasing scale.’

    The Chinese have form in this, not incidentally. Here’s an article I wrote in 2008.

  7. Hugh

    I am sure the Tibetans are happy to donate their water to China, just as those who live along the Mekong are proud to see this once river turning into a mudflat all for the betterment of China. And no doubt those farseeing Chinese have already factored in how much of their landmass will become uninhabitable from their wise, wise decision not to let climate change get in the way of their profit margins.

  8. elkern

    Paul Krugman won’t carry a lot of cred here, but I have to give him credit for having recognized that Currency unification before political unification was a big mistake for Europe.

    I’m a USAmerican, but fairly Europhilic, having grown up in an East-Coast University town. Academics are naturally globalist (because Science) and optimistic (from comfortable Class); I grew up expecting the governments of the world to eventually cooperate within a structure like the UN. When the EU was formed, it looked like a great step in that direction; Continental Governance seemed like an important intermediate layer between (small) Nations & the inevitable Global Government.

    Sadly, I’ve come to see the EU as being governed by the ECB rather than it’s Parliament. I trust some of their Bureaucracies (food safety?) more than their US equivalents, but I understand that they are all easy targets for Corporatist-funded right-wing propaganda (see: Brexit).

    I had hoped that the EU would recognize that it needed an independent (and coordinated) Military when the US went completely nuts & invaded Iraq; there was some resistance to the US, but the cost of leaving NATO was more than the EU was ready to bear.

    But it was the financial strangulation of Greece (then Spain & Italy) that finally made me see that the “U” in “EU” is a farce. If the ECB cares about political unity at all, it must only be in the negative, recognizing that a functional Government of Europe would attempt to reverse their suicidal – but temporarily profitable – plans.

    And yes, immigration is & will be a big problem for Europe, and yes, Global Warming will make current migrations look trivial. Sadly, Europe will need to maintain & strengthen limits on migration. Currently, nazi-adjacent rightwing parties are winning on this issue, but at least this pits them against the ECB – globalist banksters will always favor migration as a “cure” for high wages.

    Unfortunately, left & Liberal parties tend to side with the ECB on this, out of compassion for the people screwed by getting born in the wrong place. This compassion is admirable and morally just, but has some terrible consequences.

    Economically, immigrants inherently increase the pool of Labor, which decreases wages, especially at the low end of the scale. This is great for Upper/Owner Class (business is more profitable, servants are cheaper) and generally good for Middle/Salary Class (stuff is cheaper) but terrible for Lower/Working Class (wages down, rents up). In case anyone hasn’t noticed, this creates dangerous political tensions…

    Also, when someone migrates from a “bad” place, it often leaves that place worse. Generally, the poorest people don’t have resources to move; migrants are mostly from the “middle” class (in home country), with (1) enough education to recognize problems and (2) enough money to move. These are exactly the people who might be able to move the home country toward more sensible policies. What they need is international support for better Government; what they get is international (corporate, financial, and governmental) support for lousy governments who make sure that exports have higher priority than people.

    Let’s fix THAT first.

  9. someofparts

    You know Hugh, the shame of it is that sometimes you have interesting things to say. I only realized that recently because I make it a habit to scroll past the things you post because you have such a sour, petty, pointless negativity toward anyone who presumes to have information or a perspective that varies from your rigidly held biases. If you could just make your points and then leave other people enough breathing room to make theirs, you could be a delightful addition to the conversation. Chill out and have a beer maybe.

  10. Hugh

    someofparts, please feel free to continue to scroll past my comments.

  11. bruce wilder

    The EU was a constitutional project, but its proponents were always reluctant to engage with hostile national publics or adapt their design to enable democracies. An idealism of sorts insisted on a nominal EU Parliament in Strasbourg, but its members are never allowed to do anything. And, national governments are limited by the Courts and the Euro. The European Courts have assumed a judicial supremacy that is hard to find anywhere in the constitutive treaties. And, the Euro!

    Krugman in questioning the wisdom of the Euro is not endorsing Wynne Godley and the accessible insights of MMT, no he is invoking the high esoterica of “optimal currency areas”, an impenetrable doctrine that, if it does anything endorses constraint of government fiscal capacity. At this point, when a neoliberal like Krugman is wringing his hands, he is not offering any kind of viable solution, any path out of the destruction of Greece or the slow-motion grinding down of Italy.

    The Euro is problematic not because of its use across many countries, but because its design deprived national governments of fiscal sovereignty and the Euro itself has no fiscal agency to create a hedge instrument of “zero-risk” bonds or to spend Euros into existence as needed. That creates, as in Italy, a deflationary cycle that depresses activity and exacerbates risk in the banking system.

    Years ago on Crooked Timber I was asked directly by another commenter, what a real, non-neoliberal fix might look like. We were all feeling the weight of the practical impossibility of the kind of pie-in-the-sky solution being pressed in vague outline by people like Krugman: a centralized “spender” on the EU federal level. My answer was simple and direct: let national governments manipulate their harmonized VAT to impose what in effect would be modest tariffs on intra-EU trade and to use the funds flow to finance Euro bonds. A chronic-deficit country like Greece could right the balance of their terms of trade with Germany. The smooth flow of goods would continue but with a thumb on the scale of the balance of trade that would mitigate the financial problems caused.

    Of course, such a fiscal regime would empower democratically controlled national governments to act to solve economic problems and chart a strategic course. It would arguably change fundamentally the nature of the EU as an anti-democratic neoliberal project.

    I am not touting that particular idea. I am just using it as an example of what a non-neoliberal “solution” might look like, if one could make it into the public discourse.

    The EU could be restructured from a debtors’ prison and its democratic deficit remedied if European leaders could accept that the optimal democracy area might be quite small. Create a structure that decentralized and let Scotland, Catalonia and Bavaria lead the way.

  12. Hugh

    If Germany were still on the mark, the mark would be a lot stronger than the euro, making German export goods a lot more expensive. This would encourage other countries to compete because their currencies would be cheaper making their exports more attractive. The euro short-circuits this. Germany starts with an advantage and only keeps and increases it. It sucks money out of everyone else.

    In the US, the federal government can direct its spending and investment from states that are richer to ones that are poorer. Some states like New York and California always send a lot more money to Washington than they get back from it. For poorer states it’s the reverse. This works because we still see ourselves as a country. The difference is the EU only pretends to be one, some of the time, and only under certain circumstances. That’s not sustainable.

  13. dealwithit

    I’ve got news for you Hugh. You’re not as smart as you think you are. China emits far less carbons per capita than the US and also serves as 30% of the world’s manufacturing. Most importantly their population will drop to about 700 million by 2100.

  14. Hugh

    Thank you, dealwithit or whoever you are. I hate to break this to you but climate change is a product of the total of greenhouse gases. It is pointless and idiotic to try to recast it in other terms, like your per capita whinery. I have said for some years now that world population which is currently predicted to be around 10 billion by 2050 will likely fall to a billion or less by 2100. And it will do so because people like you either can’t do the math, deny it, or try to play games with it rather than take responsibility for what is happening and trying to change it. Deal with that.

  15. Astrid

    Hugh’s position, taken logically, also argue that the US should not emit more total carbon than Canada or Luxembourg, since population doesn’t matter and each country is only judged on its bulk emissions. I believe Plague Species is another one here who regularly argues upon those lines. I supposed if they actually walked their talk and emitted Luxembourg carbon footprint divided by US population, they might be something other than just nasty, racist trolls using ostensible green arguments to keep the global South from developing and while handwaving the US’s active sabotage of useful curbing of carbon emissions. Of course, they would have to be stationary trees to manage that, because the US military, by itself, emits more carbon than most countries, so one would have to be a carbon sink just to make up for the US carbon expenditures on the military and infrastructure maintenance.

    In addition to demographics and the fact that the US exports its carbon emissions through outsourcing, China is also coming towards the end of its major building boom and made official announcement to that effect. They’ve built enough roads, rail, subways, and residential blocks to more or less serve its population. So I suspect there will be tapering of carbon emissions from domestic consumption too. Even wealthy Chinese urbanites (and Europeans) typically don’t pollutes nearly as much as North Americans, since they have smaller homes and have good public transit for both short and long distance travel and they eat a lot less meat/dairy per capital. Their major carbon footprint contribution comes from international travel and imported foods, and Covid is actually doing a lot to curb that.

  16. Astrid

    The gap between per capital North American/Australian carbon emissions and the rest of the world, is even more extreme when one considers how little is actually manufactured in the US. All the carbon is going towards maintenance of existing (deteriorating) life style and (crumbling) infrastructure. It’s heating our poorly insulated homes and commuting 3 hours per day, single occupancy, to our crappy soul sucking jobs, because it’s impossible to find affordable housing and liveable wages closer to each other. So much of it is used in a way that brings no joy or utility to the carbon consumer, but counts towards the GDP.

  17. Astrid

    Mahbubani is asking a sensible question, but he spent his career working for Singapore, which is on the opposite extreme of the spectrum as the EU project. Singapore has singular clarity of purpose. Bruce’s excellent points highlight that the EU has multitudes of contradictions and is burdened with a framework that cannot tackle those contradictions.

    Singapore is intentionally and mindfully authoritarian. Singapore is dominated by one ethnicity and one family. Singapore knows it must act nimbly amongst its larger neighbors to survive. Singapore has no prehistory before Stamford Raffles and knows no history before Lee Kuan Yew. Sunday May yet fail for all kinds of reasons, but probably not because it has too much history and culture.

    The EU cannot do what seems natural and reasonable to objective outsiders, because of the cussedness of large groupings of human beings with different histories and interests.

  18. Hugh

    I thought in Chinese culture there was a big emphasis on taking responsibility, but all I see here are attempts, often very lame and childish ones, to dodge it at all costs. China’s carbon emissions are number one in the world and twice those of the US which is number two on the list. So then we get the weird retort that we forced China to steal/take all the technology and jobs they got from us. In other words when it suits their purpose they get the praise for all the good stuff, and when it doesn’t, we get the blame for all the bad. How convenient. While dishonest and irresponsible, it also diverts attention away from the fact that China’s export sector doesn’t account for that much of its carbon emissions. Nor does it explain why most of the rest of the world has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 2030, but China, already the largest carbon emitter in the world by far, has said it won’t stop increasing its emissions until 2040.

    Rather than spending our time and energy holding countries to their pledges, and getting them to accelerate and increase their cuts in carbon emissions even more. In the face of a worldwide existential threat, we get these profoundly dishonest and irresponsible defenses for why the biggest source of carbon emissions in the world should be given a pass and not held to the same standards as everyone else, and why we, not the Chinese, should be blamed for their cowardice and failure in the face of that threat.


  19. Plague Species

    Excellent retort, Hugh.

  20. Trinity

    An interesting paper on the factors that lead to migration:

    “‘Perhaps the most surprising finding from our study is that, when we look at the overall picture, social factors are more important than environmental factors in explaining migration. And regardless of the level of income involved, gross national income was the key factor in explaining net-migration in half of countries,’ says Venla Niva, a doctoral student at Aalto University and lead author of the study published in Environmental Research Letters.“

    Note that their data ends in 2000, and a (much needed) update is planned. I hope they find the data.

    The paper is open access:

  21. Hvd

    Of course Hugh you failed to respond to Astrid’s logically correct invocation of per capita pollution. You also neglect to account for off shored pollution. This doesn’t make China into saints but it certainly represents a reasonable starting point for discussion. Of course we would like to see massive emissions cuts globally but isn’t it reasonable that every person share equally in the burden. When Americans reduce their per capita footprint to that of the Chinese accounting as well for the off shored pollution then you might be right in criticizing the Chinese for any recalcitrance shown. But my guess is that they will have already started reducing long before we get anywhere near sharing person to person the pain. Astrid made perfectly clear the absurdity of your do called logic. I bet you would argue that the American senate with two senators from each state is a fairer distribution of power then is the House of Representatives.

  22. Hugh

    The Chinese hasbara doesn’t rain but it pours. I know, the per capita production of carbon emissions looking at just Chinese speakers in the US and forgetting about everyone else must be ginormous. How do Chinese speaking Americans live with themselves? Here’s a clue…global warming doesn’t care about per capita production of greenhouse gases. It only reacts to the total amount of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere. And right now the Chinese are putting twice as much into it as we are, and they intend to put more in and for longer than we or anyone else. Oh sorry, that’s reality, and you guys don’t deal with that.

    These ridiculous defenses of China do show what we are up against. We have the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases. They dwarf everyone else, and all we get are lies and lame attempts to shift blame. No thought about solving any of the problems we face just deny them, and if that doesn’t work, blame somebody, anybody else. But actually look at a problem, analyze it, take responsibility for it, do something about it??? No way. That’s our age and the people who live in it.

  23. js

    But what is anyone supposed to do about China’s carbon pollution? Tariffs? Well that is possible I suppose.

    And then there is the problem that almost any state that would do something are themselves bad faith actors as seen at Cop26. I mean maybe somewhere like Denmark isn’t, but they are bit players. So we either have bad faith actors or bit players in the cast that might “do something” pretty much.

    China is complex because in so many ways it’s so innovative, so advanced. Almost all it’s cities run on electric busses. Is the U.S. even capable of that. Laughable. An authoritarian state can beat a fake democracy anytime. But even with all that the carbon output can still be too high.

  24. js

    The per capita concern is mostly about “climate justice” as it were. But by that measure, the U.S. and China might both take more than their fair share, compared to many 3rd world countries. But regardless the carbon budget for even 2 degrees is approaching nothing globally regardless.

  25. Hvd

    So Hugh am I right that you think the us senate is a fairer distribution of power?

  26. Hvd

    And Hugh by the way what about cumulative historical emissions?

  27. Hugh

    Hvd, you aren’t right about much of anything. You are rather an example of the noise that accompanies discussion of so many modern problems. You aren’t interested in climate change. You are only interested in China getting any blame for its being by far the biggest carbon emitter on the planet. All you’ve got is look over there distraction. China produces far more CO2 than anyone else. So let’s look at per capita. Is it particularly relevant to climate change actually happening? No, but it does change the subject. Oh wait, that didn’t shut down the China criticism? Well, let’s not look at how much carbon China is and will put in the atmosphere. Let’s change the subject again and talk about it in historical terms. You will do anything to Not look at the problem here and now, because you can’t do that without making China the centerpiece of it.

    As I said, this is the affliction of our age. Trump, the anti-vaxxers, the China is wonderful crowd, it is not about solving problems. It is about avoiding blame for them. It is about lying as the natural response to any inconvenient question or stubborn fact. It isn’t just where we are. It is where too many want and feel entitled to be.

  28. Hugh

    I would note that the topic is Europe, and today is Veteran’s Day, originally Armistice Day commemorating the enormous losses of the First World War. The Europeans learned so much from that tragic experience and got so clear on their interests that they repeated it on an even bigger scale twenty years later. European leadership has been dreadful for more than a century. Yet the EU is portrayed as this great institution even as it lurches from one major failure to the next. Perhaps it would be more useful to ask what changes it needs to work for all of its citizens

  29. Mark Pontin

    Hugh: ‘The Europeans learned so much from that tragic experience and got so clear on their interests that they repeated it on an even bigger scale twenty years later. ‘

    Historically, a better way to understand it is that WWI and WWII were the same war, with the combatants suffering so much attrition and destruction in the first phase that they had to take twenty years off to rebuild and recoup before they could go at it again.

  30. Mark Pontin

    js: ‘An authoritarian state can beat a fake democracy anytime.’

    Eh. That’s an unwarranted assumption if ever I heard one. Historically, there have been many more incompetent authoritarian states than competent ones.

  31. Jim Harmoln

    “they might be something other than just nasty, racist trolls”

    Do they have mirrors where you’re from, Astrid?

  32. Hugh

    Mark, I agree. My point is that European leadership is abysmal. The two areas where it wasn’t are in national healthcare and social security, but even with them there are attempts to roll them back or underfund them.

  33. Hvd

    Hugh so once again you childishly resort to name calling rather than addressing your conspicuous logical fallacy. Why is it that you believe that the senate represents a fairer distribution of power than does the house? Well actually I know that you don’t believe that just as I know that you recognize the logical fallacy of your argument re: china. What I can’t figure out is why you keep blustering and calling names rather than actually engaging the argument. Not that our discussion here will actually do a damn thing about climate change but don’t you think the Chinese would be more amenable to reducing their carbon output if we actually acted on the fact that they haven’t yet caught up to the carbon load we are responsible for and if we actually made a dent in the carbon load each of our citizens adds as compared to each of theirs. Or is equity not a word you are familiar with?

  34. Hugh

    Hvd, do trolls like you get paid by the comment or by the hour. As we aren’t in China I don’t have to obey your orders or treat your BS seriously. You need to work on your style. You shouldn’t use terms like logical fallacy when you don’t know what a logical fallacy is. And no, disagreeing with you does not constitute one. You shouldn’t say people said something when they didn’t, especially when it is extraneous to the whole topic. Then there are the standard things like don’t call people names for calling people names, unless you are being ironic. But irony is way out of your league. So I would advise against it. Just things to mull over under your bridge.

  35. Mark Pontin

    Back on topic, and as if on cue —

    ‘Belarus threatens to cut gas deliveries to EU if sanctioned over border crisis’

    ‘Alexander Lukashenko has threatened to cut deliveries of gas to Europe via a major pipeline as the Belarusian leader promised to retaliate against any new EU sanctions imposed in response to the crisis at the Poland-Belarus border.

    ‘Backed by the Kremlin, Lukashenko has struck a defiant note after inciting a migrant crisis at the border, where thousands of people, mainly from Middle Eastern countries, are camped out as temperatures plunge below freezing.

    ‘Meanwhile thousands marched through the streets of Warsaw to mark Poland’s Independence Day, including far-right groups calling for the government to prevent migrants from entering the country illegally. The city government had banned the march but those orders were overturned by the national government, which is dominated by the conservative Law and Justice party.’

  36. Hugh

    The eastern tier of the EU is authoritarian. Lukashenko with Putin’s backing merely shows that Russia can’t be trusted on energy supplies. The immigrant crisis in Belarus is of Lukashenko’s own making. The Europeans have enough problems and divisions of their own. They can’t handle the coming immigration crises even under the best of conditions, and these are not the best of conditions.

  37. different clue

    If the EU wants to prevent several hundred thousand immigrants arriving through Belarus, the EU is going to have to authorise Poland to build a Big Beautiful Wall. And the EU is going to have to pay for it.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén