Monday, April 03, 2006

Trouble brewing on the European horizon

Vasko Kohlmayer at American Thinker says:

The way things are taking shape in Europe could soon result in a situation which would leave the US with no major supporter. We have repeatedly warned about the likely shift in Britain's foreign policy once Tony Blair steps down and is replaced by his heir apparent and a well-known leftist Gordon Brown, who is currently his Chancellor of Exchequer.

Next month there will be an important general election in Italy which will pit the current Prime Minister and America's close ally Silvio Berlusconi against leftwing Romano Prodi, the former President of the European Commission. Prodi is ahead in the polls and his victory would appreciably weaken America's support in Europe which is already tenuous at best. The stakes are well summed up in a piece in this week's British weekly The Business:

With Blair and Berlusconi gone, President Bush's administration would lose its two main friends in Europe. While hardly anti-American, their successors in Italy and the UK […] would be compelled by their supporters to take a much less accommodating view towards the floundering US President, at least in the short term. Within the EU the effect will also be considerable, coming after the victory of Spain's Jose Luis Zapatero over President Bush's other main European ally, Jose Maria Aznar.

In the relatively near future, then, we could have a situation where the governments of nearly all of Europe's major powers – Great Britain, Italy, Spain, and France – are in the hands of leftwing politicians intrinsically unfriendly to the United States (I include Chirac among the left-wingers because that's what he really is).

This would leave only Angela Merkel, the moderately right-of-center German Chancellor as America's natural ally among the principal European players. Merkel's position, however, is weak, leading as she is a fragile coalition with social democrats who hold eight seats in her sixteen-seat cabinet. To keep her government together, Merkel cannot offer her wholehearted support even if she wanted to. To show her independence, she has already crossed swords with President Bush on issues such as Guantánamo and protectionism.

There is potential trouble brewing for the United States on the European horizon. We will keep a sharp eye on these events as they unfold.

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