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Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 12:37 AM PST

Joining the Third World

by 1stilkairs

The term "third-world" was coined early in the period of the Cold War and referred to the countries, mainly recently post-colonial, aligned with neither the industrial West (the "first world,") or the Communist East (the "second world.") Since most of these countries were pre-industrial or industrializing, they were thought of as "underdeveloped" countries or "developing" countries. In other words. poor.

 Stereotypically, they were thought of as having a mass of poverty stricken people, ruled and dominated by a small, wealthy elite. High birth rates, lack of mobility, unequal access to education and wealth (such as land), lack of health care, high unemployment and hunger were all considered "typical" for the "third world."

Reality, as always, was far more complex than this simple stereotype. The influence of this stereotype, however, underlines the kind of struggles faced by these countries, especially the newly post-colonial countries which were carved out by the colonial powers for their own interests, giving little or no thought to the interests or needs of the colonized peoples. In varying degrees, the defining features of this stereotype became part of the American worldview, such that referring to a country as "third-world" indicated poverty, backwardness, disease, hunger, etc.

Right-wing talkers, especially one well -known for many years in New York, complained that the U. S. was "becoming a third-world country" because of immigration from non-European origins. Obviously, his reference was racist. He may, however, have been correct in his assertion for far different reasons.

Over the last 3 decades, changes have been accumulating in the United States that do not bode well for the future. The growth of economic inequality between a small elite and the majority has increased. Poverty has increased. Unemployment has become endemic, access to health care has declined as costs have increased. Public education, a cornerstone of American social and economic success, is in trouble. When 25% of American children live in poverty, where "food insecurity" (read as "hunger") persists and is widespread, where the rate of social mobility is among the lowest in the industrial world, America, truly, is becoming a third world country.

The Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") is an attempt to modify one part of the trend, but whether we look at hunger, education, unemployment (and their cousin, poverty), there don't appear to be any serious attempts to reverse the decline. The Right complains about "throwing money at problems," but seems okay about "throwing money" at large, successful corporations. What passes for their "new" ideology "Objectivism," as promoted by the atheist loony-tune Ayn Rand, is little more than re-heated left-overs of Social Darwinism. The conditions they advocate would be familiar to Charles Dickens. Just listen to hypocrite par-excellence Rand Paul who hates Big Government so much that he refused to accept Medicare when he was in medical practice.

 Oh, wait. he made most of his income from "Big Government" payments for his patients!

If one looks at the great successes of 20th century America, rapid social mobility, the beginnings of racial justice (just beginnings), access to public education, such programs as the Space Program, the Interstate Highway system, the GI Bill, etc., they all involved "throwing money at problems" with astounding results. Scientific research, medical developments, economic expansion all thrived under generous public financing.

If, in fact, America was becoming poor through lack of wealth or lack of resources, if the wealth of the country was actually flowing out, it might be possible to comprehend the reasons for this trend. The fact is, however, that the wealth and potential of the United States is not declining. What is changing is the lop-sided distribution of wealth and the growing income disparity between the small elite and everyone else. That is, in its own way, a recipe for disaster for most of us.

Discuss

Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 02:45 PM PST

Either/ Or? Iran and Nukes

by 1stilkairs

Having written a diary about the tentative, interim, 6 month agreement between the "P5+1" and the Iranian government regarding the Iranian nuclear program, I was astounded by some of the responses and comments. Clearly, some people struggle to comprehend what they read. Some seem to react to "key words" and "dogwhistles," missing the main point of the diary. I suppose in the land of echo chambers and opinion bubbles, that's to be expected.

What I find disturbing, however, is the tendency of some readers and almost all the media talkers to see the issue in strictly black and white terms. The assumption seems to be that anyone not enthusiastic about this agreement wants war with Iran and opposes diplomacy.

Surely, that does apply to some. We, in America, have our vocal claque of neocon war mongers and jingoists. The Iraq War crowd was on TV in force after years of blessed silence. The "America is always wrong" crowd was less obtrusive and less vocal, but not entirely silent. What unites the two groups is the lack of any awareness
of nuance. Very few situations are clearly binary, good/evil, right/wrong, yes/no. The issue of policy towards Iran is not one of those.

Being opposed to this agreement - emphasis on THIS - does not presuppose a desire for war. It is not a morally clear position, nor is it the obvious solution to a problem. One, including myself, can favor diplomacy and oppose war - and still oppose this particular agreement and this particular policy.

There is good news and bad news in the outcome of these meetings, public and secret. The good news is simply the fact that the American and Iranian governments are talking to each other directly. Talk is usually better than no-talk. That in itself does not indicate a good outcome. I made reference to Neville Chamberlain, which elicited scoffing. Unlike some who referred to the Munich Pact, I was referring not to "appeasement" but to the mistaken frame of mind seemingly exhibited by Chamberlain. He, it appears, assumed Hitler was, like himself, reasonable, even as Hitler's behavior up to that point indicated otherwise.

Similarly, I am cautious about ascribing to the theocratic dictatorship of Iran the same goals and purposes as the American policy makers and negotiators. The goal of any negotiation is to find common ground and some degree of concurrence. If the goal of the Iranian rulers is to obfuscate their continuing development of nuclear weapons while easing the sanctions to save their economy, and therefore their rule, failing to do more than delay the achievement of that goal is not a desirable outcome for the United States. On the other hand, If return to the wider world and the lifting of sanctions is their primary goal, then some indication of willingness to give up nuclear weapons development for economic growth will result.

On the other hand, withholding relief in the face of tangible indications of a change in Iranian policy would prove counter-productive, hardening the resolve of the Ayatollahs to produce nuclear weapons. What would constitute tangible indications needs to be viewed in the context of stated policy goals and on-the-ground actions by the Iranian rulers.

The size and scope of the nuclear project in Iran is far beyond what would be necessary for peaceful applications. Twenty percent enriched U-235 is not appropriate for either medical applications or power generation. It is "breakout" level enrichment.  The construction of a heavy water reactor, used to produce plutonium, is a strictly military technology. Taken with the active support of Bashir Al-Assad's Alawite regime  in Syria, the arming and training of Hezbollah fighters,  interference in Iraq, the holocaust denial, the open threat against Israel, the more veiled threats against other religious despots (of the Sunni denomination), taken together, do not speak well of Iranian intentions.

Given all these considerations, my concern is that the "P5+1" were too anxious to reach some agreement and may have given up too much for too little. I do not oppose bargaining, just bad bargaining.

Time will tell whether Obama's approach will bear sweet fruit, but the world does not need more fruit of the bitter kind. I suspect that a tougher negotiating line and longer time line would have produced a more salutary outcome as a first step.

No, I am not for another war, and sometimes Obama can be wrong. It is not either/or. it always is "sorta/kinda."

Discuss

For all the fuss around the latest news about Iran, the spin-meistering about the ACA ("Obamacare") "roll-out" and, God help us, the 2016 election (!!!),a very disturbing issue is getting "inside the paper" treatment in the New York Times and little mention on the other media.

Hobby Lobby, a for-profit corporation, claims that the corporation, as a "person," is being denied its (his/her?) right to religious freedom by being coerced to offer health insurance to employees which includes contraception coverage it (he/she?) objects to on religious grounds. The corporation has already won at the Appeals Court level and is likely to be brought to the SCOTUS. Given the already demonstrated tendency to put corporate "persons" above corporeal people and the attitude of the four legs of one pantomime horse (four bodies of one mind?)  toward reproductive choice, the chances are, at best, even that a five-to-four decision may be in the offing against the ACA and reproductive choice in one fell swoop. Once a fiction is declared a legal "person" the mischief it can cause knows no bounds. If a legal fiction has the right of free speech, why not freedom of religion?

Even worse, underlying the suit is the assumption that certain methods of contraception (e. g.  birth-control pills and "Plan B") are designed to prevent the development of fertilized eggs, and therefore are tantamount to abortion.  It also slips into the "fetal personhood" realm of lunacy.

Whatever happens in Iran, what is happening here at home is less exciting but much more profound in its impact on daily life in the U. S. A. It is also why judicial appointments are one of the most vital (and least appreciated) duties of the President.

Discuss

Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 12:48 AM PST

Iran Creates Strange Bedfellows

by 1stilkairs

Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, France and Israel on the same team? Who but the Iranian theocracy could have pulled that one off! What does that say about any deal with the Iranian government regarding  nukes?

On this one, I have to go with the opponents of a deal while the centrifuges spin and the "water gets heavy." (A stopped clock is right twice a day.)  Some people are going to oppose the deal because Obama is behind it, but others are genuinely concerned. Whatever the motivation for Iran's antipathy toward the West,  especially America, the development of nuclear weapons is too much to grant.

Of course the Israel haters will point to Israel's nuclear arsenal, but that has existed for decades, it seems, without use or threat of use. Israel denies, or at least refuses to admit, that it possesses nuclear capability, and has not made it a factor in its conflicts. Unlike Pakistan, India and North Korea, Israel does not rattle the nuclear sabre, even though it is has faced, and continues to face, a genuine existential threat.

An Iranian bomb would be catastrophically de-stabilizing, even more than the North Korean sort-off bomb or the South Asian bombs.  Unlike India and Pakistan, who are actually in confrontation (with Pakistan facing the greater potential threat), the Iranian bomb would serve only to make Iran the big thug in that part of the world. In terms of the real division which is a threat to peace, the Iranian bomb would be the "Shia bomb," requiring an answering "Sunni bomb." The arms race to follow, in a terribly unstable and fragile region, could be the beginning of the end.

I genuinely believe that Iran is stalling for time, and trying to finesse a lifting of the sanctions while retaining the ability to "race to the bomb" of short notice once the sanctions are removed. They have not invested so much time, energy, money and prestige simply to give it all up so they can sell some oil openly.

I am concerned that President Obama is too trusting and too willing to be "reasonable." If it didn't work with the Republicans, why does he think it will work with the Ayatollahs?

A hostile theocracy with a nuclear capability frightens me more than the old cold-war threat. During the cold-war, both nuclear powers were motivated by some degree of rational thought (as during the Cuban Missile Crisis). But a bomb in the hands of people who think they speak for God makes me shiver. If religion can motivate people to blow themselves up to get into heaven, why could not a whole government of zealots blow themselves, and their country, up to kill the infidels. After all, they would all end up in Paradise, wouldn't they?

One could only hope that they are as hypocritical about their own lives, as they seem to be.

Discuss

Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 10:53 AM PST

China - The Capitalist Wet Dream

by 1stilkairs

    A recent news item, treated as "fluff" in the reporting, stated that the amount of internet sales for November 11 in China surpassed "Cyber Monday" sales in the U. S. (November 11, or 11/11, is treated as a day of commiseration for lonely singles in China, and has become a day devoted to internet commerce, much as "Cyber Monday" in the U. S.) This set me to re-thinking something that has bothered me for some time.    
     How is it that "Communist" China can be the answer to every "western capitalist's" dream of a "perfect world"?
     First, ask the question, is China a communist country? Certainly not in the Maoist sense, the Marxist sense, or even the Leninist sense. China is dominated and ruled by an elite which calls itself a "Communist Party," but, clearly, is just another tyrannical oligarchy in a world of many countries ruled by similar elites. It has even devolved into an hereditary aristocracy, mainly the descendants of the old revolutionaries and communist despots.
     Second, consider the sheer size of the Chinese population. Current estimates put it at about 1.5 billion people, in a world of approximately 7.5 billion humans. Of the entire population of humanity, one in five lives in China.
     Third, the great mass of Chinese are poor and will work in unspeakable conditions for long hours at low pay. China's greatest economic asset is virtually unlimited cheap labor. International corporations do not flock to China for its advanced technology, enlightened politics or scientific acumen. The great draw is, simply, lots and lots of cheap labor.
     Finally, China has the potential to become its own vast consumer market. China does not need to spread the wealth, through high wages, to very many people to create what may be the largest consumer market ever seen. If five percent of the population has a "middle class" or higher purchasing capacity, that is 75 million people. If ten percent are permitted to reach that level (in a centrally controlled dictatorship), that is 150 million customers.
     A dictatorship ruled by a (relatively) small hereditary elite controlling most of the country's wealth, commanding a virtually unlimited supply of cheap labor, and dominating a consumer economy of 150 million customers is the "capitalist wet dream."
     Who needs Europe? Who needs America? A small cadre of people wealthy enough to buy the goods produced  in China (and in other cheap labor countries dominated by the Chinese economy) is sufficient to "supplement" the Chinese market. Since "multinational" businesses (better, perhaps, "super-national" businesses) are almost sovereignties in their own right, the people who run them will make decisions based on what will further the wealth and power of those businesses. We already see so-called "American" corporations acting in their own self-interest, even at the expense of their supposed "homeland."
     I have always believed that the reason the members of world's elites stay in power, even when the rest of us are suffering, is that they have a different perspective than the hoi-pallois. We think billions, they think trillions. We think years, they think decades. We have to concern ourselves with the day-to-day, they have the leisure to concern themselves mainly with the grand and distant. The rich-and-powerful are always ten steps ahead of the rest of us.
     Perhaps that news item should be taken more seriously. It may represent something far more important than mere "fluff."

Discuss

    Someone wants to see America default on its debts. Someone wants to tank the economy, or at least force the U. S. to offer higher interest rates for its debt. Who might that be?
     Tough question, but, as Deep Throat told Woodward and Bernstein, "follow trhe money." Who is financing the looneytoons in the House of Reps? Where does their money originate?
     I doubt the original sources are identifiable. Most likely the money is "laundered," as per Citizens United, through various third parties and organizations.
     Let some latter day Woodward or Bernstein investigate some of the most prominent members of the "A" team (A is for...). Most of these people seems to have crawled out of the political woodwork, fully funded and supported. They are clearly independent of the GOP committees and regular organization.
     So, back to the question, who owns them? Who are the puppet masters moving their mouths?(Start with Ted Cruz?) Most are too stupid to think this stuff up themselves, and they clearly have the GOP and Boehner by the throat. (If Boehner was as much a patriot as an opportunist, he would sacrifice his speakership for the good of the nation.) They certainly represent some very powerful "interests" (read as "people").
      Follow the money.

Discuss

In Mary Shelley’s novel, when Victor Frankenstein brought his creature to life, he hoped to advance knowledge and control of nature. Instead, he created an ugly, miserable, murderous monster beyond his understanding and control. From recent events, it would seem that the GOP has accomplished the same end when it fostered the emergence of the “Tea Party” while pursuing a goal of unfettered control of the political system through unlimited political financing.

In this calamity, the Supreme Court has played a critical role in advancing this cause, and driving this dangerous dash toward oligarchy. For the most part, the Supreme Court has been central to the promotion of democracy and justice in the United States, but has also been central to historical tragedies. Certain decisions have had serious negative consequences for many Americans. Among these might be included the decision which became the basis for claiming that corporations are people, the decision that separate could be equal and the interference in Florida’s recount that assured G. W. Bush the presidency. In terms of potential impact on history, however, the Citizens United decision ranks with the decision that changed American history forever, the Dredd Scott decision. As a crushing defeat for the abolitionists, and the more moderate views on the issue of slavery, the Dredd Scott decision almost guaranteed a civil war. Denying the humanity of black people and decisively establishing slaves as chattel, i.e. property, any hope of mitigation was smashed. Any hope of moderation and elimination of slavery by law was eliminated for the, then, foreseeable future, and all that was left was a confrontation between slavery and abolition which would result in a civil war.

Similarly, the long term consequences of unlimited, anonymous money entering the political process (not in the form of lobbying, but in the form of payment-for-service) means that “freedom of speech” is defined as “ability to spend.” The Vox Populi gets drowned out by the “Vox Mammoni.”

One consequence is the decline of political parties, especially the party that seeks to represent the ultra-rich. Where once money went to party committees for distribution to candidates (in addition to what candidates raised for themselves), now any fruitcake with a billionaire sugar-daddy can run for office (often successfully) without recourse to the party.

Coupled with this growing phenomenon is the rise of bitter, frightened, extremist right-wing populists, collectively referred to as the “Tea Party.” This movement was cultivated and bankrolled by Republicans as a tactical device to expand the party’s activist base, but having sown the wind, the Republican Party is reaping the whirlwind.  To mix metaphors, the monster they created to advance their cause has turned out to be a “Frankenstein’s monster,” out of control and running amok, financed directly by a comparatively small number of very rich people seeking to control the political process directly and personally without regard to the greater good or the “general welfare,” as stated in the Preamble to the Constitution. (See Robert Reich, Supercapitalism , 2007, for a discussion of the uncoupling of wealth and community in the U. S.)

Left to its own devices, the Roberts court’s effect on history, with regard to democracy, may turn out to be as disastrous as was the Taney court with regard to slavery. Let me draw the analogy thus:

Roberts:destruction of democracy::Taney:protection of slavery.

Discuss

Where to begin? Well, one bit of punditry is as good as any other, so...
Let's begin with certain assumptions.
1) Money has always meant power or access to power.
2) Citizens United opened the floodgates for money to politicians from anonymous sources.
3) Parties, especially the Republican one, no longer control their candidates, if those candidates have sugardaddies, or small groups of sugardaddies, spending huge sums on their behalf.
4) Officials elected this way are bought and owned by their patrons to an extent not seen in this country in more than a century.
5) Clearly, the internecine fight being waged in the GOP between the Grand OLD Party and the "Tea Baggers" must reflect the interests of competing elites who own the various politicos thus engaged.

This "analysis" begs the question, who are these elites? Better yet, what are these interests?

Both sides want to reduce taxes on the rich, remove regulations from corporations and eliminate the social safety net. Only one really, really wants to tank the economy.

It has been my experience that if a terrible situation is permitted to persist without attempt to make improvements, someone, with power, is benefiting from the existing situation.

Who (i. e., what elite) would benefit from the tanking of the American economy, say, by causing the U. S. to default on its debts, forcing the Government to raise interest on its debt? That, in turn would raise interest rates all around.

By the same token, what elite would want interest rates to remain low?

My hypothesis is as follows: The business interests that make their money by making loans would like to see interest rates climb. The business interests which borrow money to invest in their businesses would like interest rates to remain low.

Testing this hypothesis would require knowing who owns the various politicos, especially those most determined to threaten the faith and credit of the government. Even patriotism, ususally "the last refuge of the scoundrel" is not flouted to cover up the insidious motivation here.

For other politicians, the threat may be a tactic to extract concessions from the Pesident and the other party, but the leaders of the pack seem interested in actually causing a default. If so, something that crazy cannot be a simple aberration, especially when it keeps coming back.

Then again, maybe we just have a bunch of "whacko birds" (to quote John McCain) in high places.

Discuss

Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 07:22 PM PDT

The New Europe

by 1stilkairs

With apologies to Mel Brooks, et. al. -

Springtime for Merkel and Germany,
Winter for Greece and
For Spain.
Pleasure for Austere old Germany,
And for poor Spain and poor Greece,
Just Pain.

Discuss

    I heard Congressman Jason Chafetz, (R -Utah) interviewed on TV today. He did the usual negative Republican song-and-dance abouty taxes, but made one comment that made me perk up.
     He stated that the U.S. was "one tax cut away from prosperity." Not that the sentiment isn't Repub boilerplate, but the way he said it struck a cord. Thinking about it, I realized that prosperity isn't  the issue in the United States. We are far from destitute. We are a long way from becoming a failed state. We are not even on the brink of economic calamity.
     There is lots of "prosperity" in the U. S. The problem is that all the "prosperity" has concentrated in the hands of a minute few. A small number of people, proportionately, have managed to amass greater wealth than anyone could have imagined a few decades ago. Their wealth has grown by leaps and bounds.  The problem is not the lack of "prosperity," but the lack of access to it by the 99%. There is, and has been since 1945, plenty for everyone in an ever expanding economy. What changed is who benefits from this growth and who ends up left in the dust.
     That the U. S. has the highest incarceration rate in the "Developed" world, the highest, or one of the highest, poverty rates and is near, or at, the bottom of the list in social and economic mobility should make everyone upset and angry. That kind of "exceptionalism" should be the stuff of social movements, or dare I say, revolution? In South America and Europe people go into the streets and raise their voices (and bang pots and pans) but the silence in the streets of America is deafening.
     The journalist, author and social commentator, Studs Terkel, had a deep understanding of the American "national character." He said in one interview about his book about the 1930's (Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression . New Press, 2005) that people who were faced with disaster, when the factory closed and they were out of work, tended to blame themselves for their situation, when they had done nothing but work hard all their lives, as if the closing was their own personal failure.
    That certainly plays to the cynical right-wing, inspired by Ayn Rand, who seem to have convinced a lot of people that they are the authors of their own fate, and not the victims of a corrupt system.
     We are, in fact, "one tax cut away from prosperity," or, perhaps, "more prosperity," except it will be more prosperity for the prosperous, and another bucket of ashes for the rest of us.

     

Discuss

Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 06:34 PM PDT

Differences are not Equivalence

by 1stilkairs

    A good reason to read real news sources, such as the New York Times (on line or on paper), is the time and thought that goes into the features. Time and thought by the writers and editors can stimulate thought over time. So much of what passes for "news" either on line or on-the-air sacrifices speed for accuracy, reaction for reason and sensation for analysis.
     This is especially true in emotionally charged topics of serious consequence, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict. Too often, in this and other conflict situations, such as political differences, the easy way out of thoughtful analysis is to declare equivalence and treat both sides as "the same." The simplistic notion that both sides of any controversy are morally and ethically equal, just competing for the same ends, leads to the "they're all the same" thinking error, making life easy for the cognitively lazy. It does not shed light on the nuances and subtleties of the real human condition.
     Such was the case, for me, reading a feature article in the TIMES
     The article discusses the case of Natan Blanc, an Israel conscientious objector. Mr. Blanc refused military induction into the Israeli army because he opposed the occupation of the West Bank. He admitted that he was not a pacifist, but an ideological objector. He informed the authorities that he did not oppose serving to defend his country, but in good conscience, would not serve to occupy Palestinian territories. In the end, rather than serving two or three years in jail, he was rejected by the army as unfit for service, and avoided an extended stay behind bars. He has demonstrated his patriotism by doing volunteer service in community work, and continues to do so.
     What strikes me is the way Israeli society has treated someone who, for a large number of Israelis, is a trouble maker at best and a traitor at worst. The question raised for me is the equivalence of treatment of a Palestinian youth in similar circumstances. Would he be found dead  in a field? Would he be thrown off a roof (see Hamas' handling of the opponents in Gaza)? Would he be the focus of intense argument and discussion in the public sphere? Or would he simply disappear?
     Whether either side is right or wrong on any (or all) facets of the conflict, difference is not equivalence, unless someone can produce evidence of that equivalence.
     That is not to say that either manner of dealing with dissent is universally right or wrong. I can think of pros and cons in both instances, from various points of view. If survival and cohesion are key, then tolerance of dissent may, in the short term, be dangerous. If quality of life is the concern, then tolerance, in the long term, is appropriate. From my own perspective, obviously, I vote for tolerance, but I have the luxury of distance.
     Before declaring "a pox on both your houses" in a conflict situation, some reason and logic, applied in deep thought, would be useful. The world already has too many cognitively lazy people in it.

Discuss

Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 10:57 PM PDT

European Unity?

by 1stilkairs

Some rambling thoughts...

So, the finacial elite of Europe thinks they might have pushed "austerity" a little too hard, especially on Greece. I suppose causing formerly gainfully employed people to satisfy their hunger by dumpster diving was a bit "over-the-top," but how else would the bond-holders get their money?

I doubt if grammy and grampy would have gone broke if Greece was unable to keep up the payments on their loans. The bond-holders of sovereign debt tend to be major financial institutions, and any small-holders likely were not entirely dependent on the interest payments. Anyhow, isn't risk a part of investing?

Greece is a small country with a relatively weak economy. It is not the United States. The risk of investing in Greek bonds is not the same as investing in U. S. Treasury paper. If interest rates on Amercian debt is close to zero, and still attracts customers, investors are clearly certain that their money is safe. Greece had to offer higher rates to attract bond buyers, so clearly, their was some fear of default from the get-go.

What really irks me is the loss of sovreignty evidenced by the reaction of the global oligarchy to the decision of the Greek government to put the rescue plan to a referendum. The howling could be heard across oceans. How could the interests of the Masters of the Universe be left to the whim of the Great (Greek) Unwashed? Clearly, the concerns of ordinary people were irrelevant. So much for democracy in the place of its origin.

The flailing of the Eurozone institutions also reveal the limits of European unification. The deeply ingrained cultural differences of the people of europe, their distinct national and ethnic identities, far outweigh any sense of commonality which the term "european" invokes. Eash group clings to its identity with a ferocity Americans, of whatever ethnic extraction, cannot understand. The closest thing in America is not nationality or ethnicity, but race. A common currency does not unify the continent, but puts those countries with more of it in a position to dictate to those with less. Those with less resent the power of those with more. Where these resentments follow along the same fault lines as nationality, the situation does not bode well for unity, and resembles the political fault lines of the past.

Discuss
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