Without the EU, we'd have no choice but to join the Anglosphere and promote the idea of the US as hyperpower, making a unipolar world more likely. With the EU, we have a different option. It's not perfect, but at least we're a fairly big player within it, at least we're actually listened to, and not just a junior partner, a 'poodle' to use the current vernacular.
The other part of Chris' analysis is about Chirac. Can we all, across the blogosphere agree that we just don't like the man? He won his election by default, he's not popular in France and is increasingly marginalised. So, while this:
In the words of Jacques Chirac:Is true, but it's only one perspective. Chirac's vision is losing ground; 'New Europe', the people Thatcher et al worked hard (and rightly so) to get in, aren't particular fans of Chirac's social model, nor necessarily agree with his worldview. However, Chirac does have a point."Reasons of international balance justify strengthening links between Europe and China, I’d even say between Europe, Russia and China."So one of the current leaders of the EU, and a good representaive of a strong current within it's rulign structures, want's an EU that is the exact opposite
of what Mat is proposing
China is not a nice place, it doesn't have a nice government, and the Chinese Firewall is just nasty. But things are changing in China, things are improving, and, as in the UK in the 19th Century, the growth of an urban middle class will, eventually (I hope), bring democratic changes. Is France's playing of realpolitic necessarily moral or correct? No.
But it is undertandable. The whole point of a multipolar world is that with multiple powers, changing alliances of mutual advantage are necessary. The EU, with China and Russia, can balance American hegemonic tendencies (and if anyone doubts that elements within the US administration has hegemonic tendencies, I give you PNAC), but it doesn't mean a permanent alliance with the illiberal powers; it means we have other options ither than simply allying ourselves with one power. The Americans know there are other options.
So, essentially, the EU is a chance to be a global player, and Britain has the opportunity to be a leading light within the EU. If we want a say in the globalised world, we need to be allied with or part of a big player. I, personally, prefer to be part of the EU, and reform its problems. If you prefer the Anglosphere, fine, I respectfully disagree. But I can't see any other player in town. If you do, please feel free to let me know...