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Ireland approves Lisbon Treaty

It appears Ireland has sold her sovereignty to the EU. The arrangement known as the Lisbon Treaty, despite its predecessor treaty having been rejected in 2007, met with the approval of Irish voters in a referendum today.

Why has Ireland done this? Why has she changed her mind so dramatically? The answer to that, according to most reports, is not much in doubt: The Eurozone is a refuge from the tumult of world finance. In other words, the driver for this shift in opinion is the usury crisis, which I gather Irish banks were up to their ears in; so much so that, as an FT columnist put it, the place had started to resemble Reykjavik-on-the-Liffey (Lex column, Oct. 2). As in the Dylan song, the EU stands there beckoning to the Irish:

Come in, she said, I'll give ya
Shelter from the storm

There is an almost insulting presumption in much of the promotion of EU consolidation. Fears from local patriots and conservatives about the loss of sovereignty are sort of sneered at and not much addressed.

And then, of course, there is this ingenious device, as seen today. The European plutocracy, if it cannot win a first referendum granting it new elements of sovereignty, need not fear; another will be held some years down the road. Lisbon is said to include important concessions to Irish sovereignty on abortion and taxation. Fair enough. But if the EU, some time from now, fails to honor its commitments on those points, will Ireland have recourse to her own new referendum? Risible. Why American policy vis-a-vis the EU has been so muted about these difficulties is a puzzle for diplomatic historians to sort out.

But Americans of all peoples on earth ought to be keen on this intense conundrum of confederated government. Any American can see the pretense in the notion that Ireland can be sovereign, and yet the EU, too, can be sovereign. The Irish shall give away their sovereignty and keep it? Nonsense on stilts.

All that said, it does seem to me, intuitively, that there is more sense in Irish alliance and combination with France and other Continental powers, than with many of the other EU combinations being attempted. That is to say, fusing the sovereignty and culture of Ireland with France is a daunting notion indeed; but not nearly so daunting as fusing France and Germany, much less Spain and Poland or England and Italy.

Comments (7)

Ths is a very interesting development, for many reasons, some good, some craven.
The EU as a system for removing violent conflict between member states is worthy, since clashes of European egos resulted in the most horrific wars in history. Having just returned from a pleasant trip to Hungary, I bear witness to the costs of Austo-Hungarian recklessness. The free trade gains are worthy as well. However, those two goals can be achieved without the Lisbon Treaty, so why is that document necessary?
Craven power-seeking seems the answer to me. Power to resist the will of the United States seems the goal, even if the US has been a most beneficent guardian, dutifully cleaning up and bleeding for the causes Europeans caused and then walked away from. Resisting Russian imperialism is not an issue to EU politicians, as only the US provided a real means to ward Russia away from the Czech Republic and Poland, even if our President sees benefit in signaling to our enemies that we will not defend our allies. In ordert to effect the accumulation of enough clout to be a significant counterweight to the US, however, the EU has to be able to force compliance with it's preferences upon it's diverse membership, many of which prefer US ties to Brussels. It just can't do to have members running off the plantation in political confrontations and siding with America.
I find it interesting the determination to continue to put the treaty to a vote as well, after the Irish and several others rejected it only a few years ago. Had they not made clear their opinion in the first vote? Why press for the second vote? If this one had also been a resounding "no", how long until the third vote would be held? Why continue to push the issue on people that had already decided the issue? For the pushers, there had to be a reward at the end of the rainbow, and that is almost always one of greater power. Our own Democrats are like that, continuing to push and achieve, by hook or crook, policies the people of America do not want and have already clearly articulated their preferences. Thus, rather than bow to the will of the people, which true democrats would do, they keep asking the question until they get the answer they want.
I'll close with a humorous anecdote a captain friend shared with me came from his study abroad experience in Europe. He had the opportunity to speak with a member of the EU Parliament, and he asked how clear were his loyalties when it came to voting on policy proposals at the EU level. This Parliamentarian did not hesitate when he said, "My constituent country doesn't matter. I'm in the EU Parliament, so I will do what's best for the EU." This narcissism is telling: this man did not care about serving the interests of the state, let alone the people, that put him there. He was concerned with lining his nest in Brussels, and he didn't blink an eye in saying so. The Irish giving more power to people like that was a poor decision, to state the obvious.

Why has Ireland done this? Why has she changed her mind so dramatically? The answer to that, according to most reports, is not much in doubt: The Eurozone is a refuge from the tumult of world finance.

Daniel Hannan agrees with your analysis as to why the Irish, of all people, would consent to their own colonization; despair (that sinful emotional state suffocating Western Man)and a desire to shuffle the deck at home; Instead of voting “No” to punish Fianna Fáil, Ireland is gearing up to vote “Yes” so as to remove powers permanently from the hands of a distrusted political class.

Makes about as much sense as voting for the presidential candidate financed by Goldman Sachs, and then expecting Obama to take the plutocracy on once in office.

Why American policy vis-a-vis the EU has been so muted about these difficulties is a puzzle for diplomatic historians to sort out.

Aside from the fact that our foreign policy establishment no longer understands, let alone pursues something as parochial and pedestrian as "national interest", what standing would they have in lecturing Brussels on circumventing constitutional norms, engaging in Board Room thuggery and violating the sovereignty of other peoples? Most of the scented Eurocrats learned their dark craft studying at U.S. universities and through internships in Washington, D.C.

As for the Irish, a race that has long embraced lost causes and taken great joy in clogging the spokes of Progress and throwing popcorn at imperial Masters, it appears the riches of the Celtic Tiger years served only to dislodge their spines for slouching towards their Continental cousins and joining them in the next stage of cultural bondage.

Have to hope Cameron's Tories will man up, and put the EU to a vote in what remains of the U.K.

Oh, no. Another Dylan fan--

Every vote is one step closer to the "European" countries being ejected from the U.N. and the EU being admitted, since only the EU is sovereign.

Tehag, that wouldn't make political sense. If the ruling classes of individual EU countries are Europhiles, their ambassadors to the UN will do the bidding of the EU. More EU countries seated in the UN equals more collective clout for the EU.

Sometimes the best thing to do in the face of a juggernaut like the EU is to just give in and let the cunning of history punish it for overreach. A small country like Ireland could not be expected to stand up to the blandishments and threats from the EU and multinational corporations. Now that the Irish have voted yes, the common man would be expecting some kind of payoff. The problem though is that the poorer EU countries like Greece and Spain with their record unemployment are at the trough too. I don't think the Germans and the Nordics are ready with the cheques this time around. In the nature of things great bitterness will creep in. It parallels the American situation in that, the ruling elites have promised too much without being truthful of the sacrifices needed in return.

Every vote is one step closer to the "European" countries being ejected from the U.N. and the EU being admitted, since only the EU is sovereign.

The E.U. represents an expansion of the public sector, not its consolidation. There are still enough conflicting interests and egos (do you think Sarkozy and Merkel will stay home and let Blair play Emperor at all the international summits?)and the natural desire for the political classes of each country to retain their salaries, diplomatic fun-houses and all the perks of power, for much to change on the surface of European life. What will be different, is that national assemblies and Parliaments will be largely ceremonial and relieved of the responsibility for power as political rule gradually shifts to a distant and obscure entity.

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