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Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

January 3, 2014
by James Clive-Matthews
5 Comments

Lessons from writing about the Habsburgs for writing about the EU

A review of a book I’ve been meaning to pick up (Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe,  by Simon Winder)  has some useful passages: “Austria-Hungary seems rarely to be taken seriously, appearing as ‘genial, backward and ineffectual, in a … Continue reading

January 1, 2014
by James Clive-Matthews
2 Comments

The Myth Of Western Civilization

What is ostensibly a review of Tony Judt’s astounding Postwar ends up something rather wonderful: http://m.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/the-myth-of-western-civilization/282704/ “Nations seem to require myth… the European super-nation has long needed to believe itself above the world, above native America, above Asia, and particularly … Continue reading

January 1, 2014
by James Clive-Matthews
3 Comments

Anaximander and the importance of finding new perspectives

From Jerry Brotton’s promising A History of the World in Twelve Maps (got for Christmas, currently reading, good so far, but too soon to properly rate it): “virtually all Greek wtiters point to Anaximander as the first thinker to provide … Continue reading

July 14, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
26 Comments

Why the UK’s “audit” of EU law is a waste of time

So, supposedly in a bid to allow any future in-out referendum on UK membership of the EU to be based on facts rather than ideology (fat chance), Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced an “audit” of the influence of EU … Continue reading

June 19, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
3 Comments

The eurocrisis: Politics without policy choice

This piece on Crooked Timber really is superb. A few highlights – but do read it in full: “the fuzzy compromise between supposedly depoliticized trans-national rules (run by the ECB), and national-level responsibility for compliance, is now increasingly problematic. Countries … Continue reading

June 18, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
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The FP Twitterati 100 – including me, it seems…

I appear to have been listed among prestigious company in Foreign Policy magazine’s Twitterati Top 100. I’m rather flattered, it must be said – not least because Foreign Policy’s been rather good of late. In fact, I have a draft … Continue reading

June 14, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
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A rare non-hyperbolic take on the likelihood of a Grexit

Good stuff from European economics think tank Bruegel: “Commentators, especially from North America, take it for granted that Greece will exit the euro area and will be followed by others… But is a Greek exit really inevitable? “…If we look … Continue reading

June 12, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
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Excellent teacherly putdown in this post from thinktank Bruegel’s blog:

“Europe has already expressed its intention to focus [the upcoming G20 summit] on growth and jobs; the deliverable should foreseeably be yet another ‘plan’ without specific deadlines or commitments, along the lines of previous summit discussions. Growth and jobs are obviously fine in principle, but adopting such broad focus is likely to divert attention from the immediate challenges and even more from the actions to be undertaken. It is a pity, because Europe, while being ultimately responsible for its own actions, badly needs to explain itself and convince the global community that it is doing its best to resolve its problems.”

Reads like many a school report*: “It is a pity… Must try harder… We wouldn’t mind if it were only himself this behaviour was affecting, but he’s disrupting the whole class…” (etc. etc. etc.)

* Not one of mine, obviously… *ahem*

June 12, 2012
by James Clive-Matthews
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An American view of Europe the UK would be sensible to note

Once again, no one knows what’s going to happen – yet everyone knows it’s going to be bad. This from The Atlantic makes some good points amidst the “eurogeddon” worst-case scenario act – but this time from an American perspective, … Continue reading