Western European News Digest
Grand Coalition Could Still Fail To Materialize
The obsession of leading German politicians in the country's two major opposing partiesthe CDU-CSU of Angela Merkel and the SPD of Chancellor Gerhard Schroederto make "budget consolidation" the number one priority on the agenda of the incoming government of a "Grand Coalition" between the two parties, has provoked friction in both camps. Those who are insisting that job creation be a priority, still have gotten no hint of what the new government wants to do about it. There are several crisis indicators in the ongoing inter-party talks about the formation of a coalition government.
First, Edmund Stoiber, designated Minister of Economics, has leaked to the media that he might still decide to stay on as Governor of Bavaria and not join the cabinet. Then, outgoing Chancellor Schroeder, who is on the inter-party talks team, said last night in a speech before the American Chamber of Commerce in Berlin, that he was just coming from "inharmonious" talks, where the music was "heavy metal rather than Bach," because of the "many considerable differences in views that still exist" among the SPD, CDU, and CSU. Schroeder said that more effort had to be invested, to have the coalition ready by late November, adding that he was generally optimistic it would work, in the end.
Designated Chancellor Merkel, however, said after the same talks to which Schroeder had referred, that the coalition was still not secure, that "it might also fail," and that an enormous effort still had to be invested to make the Grand Coalition happen and make her Chancellor on Nov. 22.
Tory David Cameron Has Solid Neocon Credentials
British neocons have pushed "Young Toff" David Cameron towards leadership of the Tory Party, out of fear that Kenneth Clark might otherwise take over the party, wrote commentator Neil Clark in the London Guardian Oct. 24. Cameron is being retooled as a "Tory moderate," but in reality he is a total neocon, Clark wrote.
On domestic policy, Cameron has supported the (totally discredited) flat tax and more generally supports "a classic Thatcherite economic agenda of tax cuts and deregulation." On foreign policy, Cameron is "an unreconstructed hawk." The masterminds of the Cameron campaign have been Tory MPs George Osborne (supporter of the flat tax), Michael Gove, and Ed Vaizey. Gove wrote the article, "The Very British Roots of Neoconservatism," published in Irwin Stelzer's "Neocon Reader," which endorses Tony Blair as a true neocon on the model of Lord Palmerston, George Canning, and Winston Churchill.
Gove and Vaizey are both big supporters of the U.K. branch of the "Henry [Scoop] Jackson Society," which will be formally launched in London in November. Cameron, like Osborne, supported the Iraq war from the beginning.
Henry Jackson Society To Launch British Branch
The British branch of the Henry Jackson Society will be formally launched at the houses of Parliament on Nov. 22. The "Statement of Principles" of the British Jackson groupies is pure Neocon Thought: They endorse "modern liberal democracies" as the example for the entire world, and support a "'forward strategy' to assist those countries that are not yet liberal and democratic to become so. This would involve the full spectrum of our 'carrot' capacities, be they diplomatic, economic, cultural or political, but also, when necessary, those 'sticks' of the military domain."
This statement comes right out of the long-term fight in the British Empire between the "forward school" lunatics epitomized by Lord Curzon, who pushed Britain into every military adventure possible, and the moderates who tried to curb these adventures, which often ended up in disaster, such as Afghanistan in 1841.
Otherwise, the "Principles" say that the supposed success of the "Western policies of strength and human rights" in bringing down the "Soviet dictatorship" are due greatly to Jackson. In the post-Cold War era, the West has "to engage, robustly and sometimes preventatively."
Jackson Society "International Patrons" are the usual crew: William Kristol, Richard Perle, James Woolsey, Robert Kagan, Bruce P. Jackson of the Project for Transitional Democracies, Gen. Jack Sheehan, Vytautas Landsbergis, and Joshua Muravchik.
British signers include MPs Michael Ancram, Michael Gove, Edward Vaizey, and David Willetts; Times assistant editor Gerard Baker; Col. Tim Collins (who recently told the Telegraph that Iraq was descending into open civil war); Paul Cornish of the Royal Institute of International Affairs; and former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove.
Polish Elections Signal Rejection of Neoliberal Economics
The second round of the Polish Presidential elections was won with an overwhelming majority by national conservative candidate Lech Kaczynski from the PiS (Party of Law and Solidarity), who got more than 55% of the electoral vote. The vote was a clear rejection of neoliberal economic policies; it is a vote in defense of the social sovereign nation-state; it is "Euroskeptical" and will have an impact on the future debate within the EU.
Political observers in Poland told EIR that a question remains as to the new President's foreign policy orientation. As to his domestic policy, a political observer in Poland told EIR that Kaczynski, in a recent Presidential candidate debate on Polish TVN, made reference to the dissertation which he had written about labor law, in which he referred to the excellent insurance system which was developed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the U.S., and the social laws developed under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in Germany. Donald Tusk, from the liberal PO, had answered that he was glad, since this showed that Kaczynski would not be as anti-German as portrayed.
Wall of Silence on 'Cheneygate' Breaks in European Press
After building for a week, the explosion occurred on Oct. 25, after the New York Times broke the story identifying Vice President Dick Cheney as the source of the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame as a CIA officer.
The nature of the coverage suggests how strongly most European countries want Cheney to be driven from office. Leading examples follow by country: - Germany -
* Die Welt has the headline with a photo of Cheney: "Bush advisor Rove about to be indicted. Libby accused of perjury and treason; speculation that Cheney will resign."
Suddeutsche Zeitung has the most extensive coverage of all German papers, and writes that "all roads are leading to the Office of Dick Cheney."
* A report in the Suedwest-Radio implying that Cheney will be indicted this morning, was broadcast hourly, all day long.
* The Sueddeutsche Zeitung Junge Welt daily wrote that the "noose is tightening in the office of the Vice President."
* The Wiesbadener Kurier spoke of the "new Watergate."
* The Frankfurter Allgemeine daily and the online page of Spiegel carried longer items on the issue, with many details, although they played down the implications for Cheney. - Switzerland -
* The Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung carries the headline "Bush's Vice President in center of leak investigation."
* The U.K.: Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian that the issue is one "in which we all have a stake. Now America has its own David Kelly affair." The entire Bush Administration is at "a moment of exceptional weakness.... But it's more important than that. Now there is a chance to discredit not just Bush's Presidency, but the ideology which led to the disastrous adventure in Iraq." - Spain -
* Under the headline "New revelations put Cheney in the center of the spy scandal," the Spanish daily El Pais for the first time carries an almost full-page article on the evolving Cheneygate.
Labor-Industry Lobby Backs Nuclear Power Plants in Germany
In a cautiously worded statement issued Oct. 26, the two labor unions Ver.di (services) and IGBCE (mining, energy) and the four leading power-producing firms E.ON, EnBW, RWE, and Vattenfall, state that to secure power supplies for the future, "no source of energy should be excluded," which refers to nuclear power.
The statement says that the aim of reducing pollution can only be reached, if existing nuclear reactors are not replaced by plants operating with gas, oil, or coal. Existing nuclear power plants should be licensed, as long as safety standards are met, which implies (although not stated explicitly) that power plants should be operated as long as technically possiblenot for a maximum of 30 years, as the SPD/Green Party government's nuclear exit decision says; such plants could run for 40, 50, even 60 years.