There’s something faintly nauseating about a president of the United States leaning over to his Russian counterpart to remind him that he just needs to get through his “last election” before he can deal with Russia in, what, terms they will love? You make the call: “After my election I have more flexibility,” the president told Dmitri Medvedev.
Equally nauseating, to those of us schooled in the reality of Europe today, is BHO’s steady campaign to transform the United States into a card-carrying member of the European Union, complete with stronger union control on the economy and stronger central control on the lives of citizens even as the post-war European model shows unmistakable signs of shaking to its foundations. It taxes too much, spends too much, issues too much debt and spends too little in its own defense, to name just four obvious examples.
And yet, it’s the exemplar for 21st-century American society in today’s White House — a worthy goal, perhaps, if you accept the deeply held notion of the Left that what matters most are good intentions and not real results. Because the results — high debt-to-GDP ratios, groaning public budgets, rigid labor laws unhinged from competitive economic reality, lower standards of living, ineffective militaries amid a dangerous world — in the Old Country don’t make a very compelling case, as Mark Helprin writes in today’s Wall Street Journal:
Both in his re-election campaign and as the core principle of his presidency, Barack Obama asks America to cast off reliance on the free market—because, in his characterization, the free market “doesn’t work”—in favor of the European model of ever-tightening, ever-regulating, ever-expanding governance. This he does, astonishingly, at the very moment of the European model’s long-predictable crisis, collapse, bankruptcy, and devolution.
Remarkably like the leaders of the bankrupt states of Europe, President Obama believes that the key to prosperity is to regulate, engineer, and direct the economy; to raise taxes; to augment the powers of government; to substitute collective largess for family cohesion; to spend money that does not exist; and, to paraphrase Macbeth, to borrow, to borrow, and to borrow.
In supposedly enlightened Europe, political polarization still finds expression in fascism and communism, as illustrated by the French elections of 2002, when, before the economic crisis, parties of the extreme right and left took nearly one vote in five. Should we emulate this, or the devolution of the United Kingdom, Spain and Belgium? The wars in Northern Ireland and the Balkans? The burning cities of France and Greece? Lacking the balance of our federal system, the European Union brutally overrides local preferences, and should Europe unite it will be so dirigiste and brittle a concoction it will disintegrate as surely as any empire. Shall we emulate that?
Not if we expect a different result.