EU Periphery Coming Unglued
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  • Argentina over the period from 1999 to 2004 suffered an economic contraction far more severe than any European country has to date. You have political problems in Argentina. You have not had an essential disruption in the political order.

    Greece is the only country in the Balkans with a history of military government.

  • Kenny

    “The US cannot and should not serve as the paymaster, policeman or civics instructor of the Balkans,..”

    Absolutely correct.

    “… but threats of genocidal mayhem dragged US forces into two Balkan wars in the 1990s.”

    Actually it might have been the weakness of the Europeans that dragged us into the Balkans.

  • Corlyss

    “EU expansion into the Balkans, one of the most important foreign policy strategies that the US and Europe jointly pursued after the fall of the Soviet Union, is not working anywhere near as well as once hoped.”

    No question, but the only way it was ever going to work was with lots and lots of stabilizing transfer payments to allow for the building of a middle class that would foster the growth democratic institutions. With the EU barely keeping its nose out of the ocean of economic consequences produced by the delusion that created the euro, there ain’t gonna be any more transfer payments. Meanwhile, Putin lurks.

  • Richard Treitel

    That 87% is not what it seems. ISTR that Basescu’s supporters mostly boycotted the referendum in the hope that its result would not be binding. Constitutions are rarely written by mathematicians, and Romania’s referendum rules have the perverse consequence that, if more of Basescu’s supporters had voted, he might now be out of office.

  • I really could NOT care less what happens in europe. An entire failed demi-continent that does not believe in its own future enough to populate it certainly is not worth our tax dollars, lives or anything else.

    Trade, you say? Bummer. Canada is our largest trade partner, and China will be next. If Japan matures and stops doing to itself what we are doing to ourselves, Japan may have a future – but they, too, are not populating it, so maybe not.

    Looks to me like a Great Power future: Russia, China, US (MAYBE), period. The periphery will ebb & flow (S. America, SE Asia, AusNZ), and the islamic world will remain in the Dark Ages where its clerics have brought that once intelligent and artful civilization. Soon, perhaps, the Great Powers of either Russia or China will tamp it down mercilessly as we have refused to tamp it down with intelligent foresight. Either way, the culture that now exports nothing but death and oil (which N America is replacing), WILL be tamped down.

    Africa? Other than some metals, there is no there there, and nothing exists of strategic value to any Great Power to cause that to change.

    For a time America advanced Liberty, Freedom and Democracy and many nations prospered. Before that Britain colonized and brought the Rule of Law to many and sundry nations. But now Britain has brought herself low, and the Left – destroyers of the world – have decried colonization, evidently preferring a Bangladesh to an India…

    … and America? Well, I guess we’ll find out late on the 6th of November if we are to continue leading the world toward liberty, peace and freedom, or if we have been overwhelmed by the Left and its teachers, and will follow islam and the regressive “Progressives” of Greece, Italy, Spain, et al, into history’s dustbin.

  • Kris

    “Historically, the Balkans and the Middle East were seen as not all that different”

    I guess Ottoman imperialism didn’t work out that well.

    [email protected]: “Greece is the only country in the Balkans with a history of military government.”

    Somewhere, Jerry Ford is smiling.

  • Sigurd

    I’m sure Mead didn’t write this. One of his interns did. How could anyone compare Greece with ex-communist Hungary and the Balkan countries?

    Greek corruption is more like the Italian/Sicilian variety. And while modern Greece did have an eventful 20th century which included a military junta, it also has an impressive parliamentary tradition dating to the 1830s-1840s, matched by very few other countries in the world.

  • Somewhere, Jerry Ford is smiling.


    Roumania had military governments between Sept. 1940 and March 1945. Otherwise, my statement was accurate. You had Royal authoritarianism in the Balkans during the latter part of the inter-war period (and during the war in Bulgaria). You had Communist governments in the post-war period. There are no monarchies at this time and the Communist governments were a foreign imposition without qualification in six of the nine states of Eastern Europe; no Balkan state had a vigorous Communist Party prior to the War.

    If you wish to posit a resurgence of authoritarian rule in the Balkans, your safest wager might be a local equivalent of Alexander Lukashenko or one of the Baltic autocrats of the inter-war period. That did not happen in Argentina; in spite of severe economic dislocation, that did not happen in most of Eastern Europe after 1989, Russia and White Russia the exceptions.

    So what’s your point?

  • Looks to me like a Great Power future: Russia, China, US (MAYBE), period. The periphery will ebb & flow (S. America, SE Asia, AusNZ)

    Looks to you? At what are you looking?

    The United States has a per capita income 3-4x that of Russia (depending on what metric you use), a population twice as large, and a higher fertility rate. China has a population about 4x that of the United States, but we have a per capita income 6-9x higher; China’s economic statistics are regarded as dubious by many observers.

    Britain and France, which you write off, have per capita incomes 4-8x that of China and (in contrast to China) have replacement levels of fertility. Britain is not part of the burning Eurozone. Britain and France have non-ornamental militaries to boot.

  • Kris

    [email protected]: I wish the Balkan countries all the best. I remain agnostic on whether they’ll avoid significant political disorder.

    My sole point was that the Balkan countries don’t have a long history of democratic governance (they are hardly unique in that), and your comment regarding Greece was an extremely thin slice of truth.

    But again, I hope your analysis is correct.

  • My sole point was that the Balkan countries don’t have a long history of democratic governance

    From about 1867 to about 1928, electoral institutions were standard equipment in Europe outside of the Russian and Ottoman realms. Political forms were less corrupted in some loci than in others and the formal architecture was more democratic in some loci than others, but constitutional monarchy was the order of the day. The most notable breach in lawful political life was the assassination of the King of Serbia in 1903.

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