Towards A Good Samaritan World

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Good for Blair:

[T]hree... important messages have been sent to the whole of Europe. First, with France and Germany economically moribund and destined for a long period of introspection, the Franco-German alliance can no longer lead Europe, even if it could agree on the way forward, which it no longer can. Secondly, the EU founding fathers’ vision of a forced march to “ever-closer union”, driven by the Brussels bureaucracy and the French political elite, is no longer democratically acceptable. Thirdly, Europe’s need for strong but pragmatic leadership is greater than ever because the present course points straight to economic ruin.

The obvious candidate to fill this leadership vacuum is Britain under Tony Blair. Mr Blair’s Third Way rhetoric may seem half-baked and self-contradictory in the context of British or American politics, but trying to find a compromise between capitalism and social democracy is what mainstream politics in every European country is about. Moreover, Mr Blair, while he may be no great economic or political theorist, has a track record unique among the major European leaders, of running a Third Way model with a modicum of success.

It is not surprising, therefore, that Europe’s dominant parties from across the political spectrum — from the Right in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands to the Left in Sweden, Poland and Portugal — are converging on Mr Blair as the potential standard-bearer for a new vision of Europe which is less politically ambitious but more economically dynamic, a Europe in which many different “social models” can operate, and thrive.

Tony, the proof that a (fairly) small nation and its leader can still matter on the world stage in an age of globalization and American hegemony, if they are brave and clever-- and right. Let all minor powers take note.


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