MESOP NEWS EUROPE “JUNCKER – THE COMPLETE IDIOT!” – How The E.U.’s Boss Is Making A Joke of The E.U.
Simon Constable – Contributor – 3 April 2017 – FORBES MAGAZINE
Last week’s outburst by the European Union’s boss is comical at best. Worst than that, it’s only his latest diplomatic snafu. He’s making the whole organization look desperate. I write of course of Jean-Claude Juncker who threatened that he would help Ohio campaign for independence from the U.S. if Donald Trump didn’t stop encouraging European countries to follow Britain out of the E.U.
But there’s where Juncker sounds like a hick who just showed up on the world stage rather than the master of realpolitik that one would hope for from a world leader.
The problems with Juncker’s rant are as multi-layered as the E.U.’s bureaucracy.
First, Ohio is America. It is as American as apple pie. It isn’t just one of 50 states. It is possibly the most American state that there exists, although others may disagree. This Americaness plays out in every national election. Other states, such as California and Texas may have a different vibe that could eventually lead to them to break away. Ohio, not so much. Ohio can no more leave the U.S. than Germany could leave the E.U.
Second, threats to interfere with America’s political system are hollow at best. The E.U. relies on Washington for defense as president Trump has mentioned repeatedly. Trying to engineer an Ohio breakaway would raise tensions even further.
Third, Juncker’s ridiculous outburst only adds to the image of the E.U. as a desperate and mean spirited institution. His remarks come on the heels of his demand that Britain pays 50 billion pounds (around $62 billion) to get out of the E.U. As former president Obama found out last year, foreigners making demands (with menaces) of the British people usually don’t work out well. In Obama’s case, the threat was that if Britons voted to leave the E.U. the country would be back of the queue for a new trade deal with the U.S. Voters gave Obama the middle finger. It will likely be worse than that with Juncker. British voters really don’t want to be dictated to by a man with a German-sounding name. Expect the bill to come down dramatically.
Fourth, making threats against countries who want to leave makes the whole E.U. look diabolical. The Brexit (Britain’s exit) is being likened to a divorce, so let’s stick with that analogy. So your partner is a control freak and you want to breakup. What’s the best response of the said partner? Probably to behave better. The worst response? Probably to promise worse treatment and confirm to the world that you are indeed a control freak, just like Juncker is doing to Britain. By implication, he is also saying he’ll behave the same to any other country that wishes to leave the bloc. In short, a club that makes threats against those who wish to leave isn’t exactly an awesome club.
Simon Constable is a writer, economics commentator, and a fellow at The Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health and the Study of Business Enterprise