Tuesday, June 17, 2003

This time it's personal. That's not only the tag-line from "Jaws: The Revenge", truly one of the worst movies of all time. It also describes the continuing deterioration of the ties that bind the trans-Atlantic business class together. The verbal war has now expanded from governments and defense industry executives to the leaders of the class itself. Case in point -- Thomas Donohue, President and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce:
I am very concerned about Europe . . . We're worried about the over-regulation; the demographic situation; economic growth rates; European trade rules; employment rules and environmental costs. It hurts us all.
Donohue characterizes EU regulatory policy in chemicals as nothing more than "trade blockage" and complained that "[w]hat most Europeans seem to be interested in is whether the US economy will grow so they can sell us more products". The final point at least is true enough, and demonstrates the ugly truth lying at the foundation of the contemporary global economy: rampant American overconsumption and inordinate US absorbtion of global capital investment.

On a political note, a rather interesting excerpt from the FT story:
He also criticised the interest taken by Europeans in the handing out of contracts for rebuilding Iraq. "The US and Britain didn't go to war for the contracts," he said. But he added: "The president of the United States knows how this thing got done, and it will all be taken care of. . . George Bush is a very simple guy: he helps his friends."
Is this a threat? A gloat? A Monty Pythonesque "nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more"?

Suffice to say that the trans-Atlantic struggle over parsing out the costs from the impasse of globalization has now entered the verbal jockeying phase. The battle has been engaged.


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