- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Examining the EU

Marian Tupy’s column “An uncoupled Europe ahead?” (Commentary, yesterday) offers a bleak analysis of the current economic situation in the European Union. However, not only is the analysis narrow-minded, for it focuses solely on the economic dimension of the European Union, but it also comes up short of producing a convincing argument for the European Union’s probable breakup.

The European Union is continuing its consolidation of power in the international arena with a total population of 400 million and economic output upward of $9 trillion. Twenty-five members strong, the “new” European Union would have a better chance of mending the trans-Atlantic rift as a working team, not fragmented as Mr. Tupy suggests. The United States also will benefit economically from a cohesive European Union, not a collection of separate European states. This will only work, however, if free and fair trade occurs between the powerful and less powerful member states. Nevertheless, economic matters must not be overstated; the political, social and military facets of the EU society also must be taken into account. When this approach is taken, it is clear that the European Union is far from breaking apart.

CHRISTOPHER G. SHEERON

Research assistant

National Defense Council Foundation

Alexandria

Marian L. Tupy is certainly wise to worry about the economic effect on Eastern Europe if it is brought under the socialist policies of the European Union. However, it was not clear what he meant when he advised the Bush administration to fashion U.S. foreign policy to minimize the negative consequences of Europe’s probable breakup. An EU dissolution would itself be a great benefit to the United States, as it would allow Washington to deal more effectively with individual European governments in an array of coalitions of the willing to deal with issues as they arise.

On the same day Mr. Tupy’s column appeared, the front page reported French President Jacques Chirac’s veto of a U.S.-backed plan to use NATO to safeguard elections in Afghanistan. Even during the Cold War, France’s ties to NATO were often in doubt, and there were question marks about Germany whenever the Social Democrats were in power (as they are today). Past American support for a unified Europe was meant to strengthen resistance to the Soviet Union, but the strategic situation today is much different.

The bedrock of American policy is the special relationship with the United Kingdom, which would be jeopardized by a stronger European Union that pulled London under its influence. Like traditional British policy, the United States should work against the unification of the continent under an adversarial regime. Before there was a Soviet threat, the danger came from the ambitions of Germany and France. Perhaps the inclusion of the “New Europe” (and Turkey) in the European Union would dilute the Paris-Berlin axis that now calls the shots, but it still would be better to see the European Union devolve back to independent nation-states. In a more fluid environment of traditional diplomacy, the United States could work to isolate critics while moving ahead in concert with those countries that share its concerns. For example, with Turkey again having been rebuffed by France in regard to EU membership, the United States should pursue closer ties with Ankara outside a focus on Europe.

WILLIAM R. HAWKINS

Senior fellow

U.S. Business and Industry Council

Washington, D.C.

Take another look

While I understand that the brunt of Romanian President Ion Iliescu’s comments in Monday’s Op-Ed column “Reagan’s legacy” were directed toward military issues rather than Romania’s domestic problems, I must take exception to some of his statements. In particular, “In the years since [the overthrow of Nicolai Ceausescu in 1989] we have made tremendous progress in building a society based on the universal values of democracy, human rights and free markets espoused so effectively by [President] Reagan.”

This statement comes from the president of a country who last week blocked the legally completed international adoptions of abandoned children. The country further blocked future international adoption from Romania, except in cases where the grandparent is the foreign relative.

Meanwhile, Romania does not have an effective working child welfare system or family-welfare system in place, even after 14 years of hands-on assistance and foreign aid. I know; I volunteered in that system and saw firsthand the corruption (and not just around adoption) and apathy.

Mr. Iliescu further states: “We… promoted a free press and vibrant civic society and took long-overdue steps to protect our ethnic minorities and fight corruption.”

As a person who lived in Romania and is married to a Romanian citizen, I can personally attest to the lack of any real effort in those areas. That’s not just my opinion. Every year, journalists from around the world complain about the lack of freedom of the press in Romania. Human-rights organizations cite incidents involving mistreatment of minorities. Transparency International regularly ranks Romania high on its list of corrupt countries.

NANCY WELLHOUSEN

Tulsa, Okla.

Naval contributions

To give the Navy its complete due in the historic air defense mission: Its “picket ships” and WV-2 “Willie Vickers” aircraft also were supplemented by the ZPG-2W and ZPG-3 Navy blimps of the Airship Airborne Early Warning Squadron 1(ZW1), flying out of Lakehurst, N.J.

The airships normally patrolled the Atlantic Inshore Barrier off the northeastern coast of New Jersey. They were equipped with a search radar in the gas envelope and a height-finding radar on top. They carried a crew of 21 and had an endurance of more than 200 hours. The 2W was about 342 feet long, and the 3W was 404 feet long. The Navy terminated its airship program on Aug. 31, 1962.During the height of the Cold War, these historic Navy assets (picket ships, WV-2 “Willie Vickers” and the airships) sent their radar signals to a coastal radar station and to an Air Defense Sector like the one where Lt. Col. Darl Stephenson (“Rebuilding air defenses,” Op-Ed, June 21) worked.

ROBERT SPIERS

Rome, N.Y.

Mike O’Rourke’s contribution, “Air defense” (Letters, June 24), needs a supplement. The Navy’s seaward extension of the DEW Line included 16 Liberty Ships from the Maritime Administration’s reserve fleet. Designated AGR (first YAGR), eight ships stood far off each coast and were called Radron 1 and Radron 2.

For details and ships’ histories, see http://members.tripod.com/~YAGRS/.

MIKE MCMORROW

Arlington

Foreign combatants and the Constitution

Wesley Pruden considers Monday’s Supreme Court decisions a victory for the Constitution. (“A good day’s work by the Supremes,” Pruden on Politics, Tuesday). While it is arguable that that might be the case with respect to the two cases involving U.S. citizens, it is certainly not the case with the detainees held at Guantanamo in Cuba.

Mr. Pruden should cite the sections in the Constitution which contemplate that foreign combatants captured by U.S. military forces on a foreign battlefield are entitled to the protections of the Constitution as specified in the court’s decision.

Would Mr. Pruden have advocated these constitutional privileges for the millions of German and Japanese POWs in World War II?

JULIUS SOTER

Fairfax Station, Va.

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