Saturday, June 21, 2008
Europeans have spent a lot of time in recent years asking Americans how they could be dumb enough to make the same mistake twice in electing George W. Bush. But when it comes to sheer electoral crassness, it’s hard to beat what the Irish have just done.
Yet here we have the Irish, in a fit of Euro-bashing pique worthy of the worst of little-Englandism, rejecting the renegotiated Lisbon treaty essential for the functioning of an expanded 27-member E.U. Biting the hand that feeds you does not begin to describe this act of bloody-mindedness.
The Lisbon Treaty is essential. It alone can create a streamlined decision-making mechanism for a 27-member union. It alone can forge the meaningful presidency and foreign-affairs posts that will give the E.U. the increased political clout that its economic weight demands. At a time of flux in global power, with the United States overextended and China and India emergent, Europe needs coherence to count.
Yes, I'm sure that the Lisbon Treaty is the pinnacle of government, the perfect system for the ages, and to disagree with that is to be an ungrateful wench.
More to the point, no one else in Europe has had a chance to disagree, as the treaty is being passed through legislatures rather than through popular elections, so I'm not sure that blaming the Irish will do you much good. Who's to say who else would have voted it down . . .