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lebkuchen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 01:47 AM
Original message
Europe-U.S. Union Becomes Obstacle Course
Despite all the upbeat talk between President Bush and European leaders last week, the trans-Atlantic alliance has turned into an obstacle course of conflicting goals, approaches and dreams.

<cut>

American author Jeremy Rifkin sees a growing rift between "an American reality and a European one."

Seven-week European holidays, free college education, universal health care, clean city streets and relatively low crime rates are already the envy of Americans, even as Europeans wrestle with the high cost of sustaining welfare and unemployment rates stay well above America's.

<cut>
Today more Fortune 500 companies are European than American. European enterprises Daimler-Benz on the ground, Airbus in the air, the Titan mission to Saturn in space all threaten to usurp traditional American dominance. The United States' GDP was long the world's biggest. Now the EU's is bigger.

<cut>

In his book, "The American Dream," Rifkin outlines an array of characteristics pushing the two peoples apart. "The American Dream puts an emphasis on economic growth, personal wealth and independence," he writes. "The new European Dream focuses more on sustainable development, quality of life, and interdependence."

<cut>

"It's over," said Rifkin of the past trans-Atlantic era. "We're not going to be enemies but more like relatives who have grown apart over the years.


http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050227/ap...
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MrModerate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 01:56 AM
Response to Original message
1. Especially when a "head of the family" . . .
Is a psychopath.

Doesn't lead to family harmony.

I haven't read the article, but this divergence of interests has been going on for years. The EU -- although an emerging superpower -- is likely to always be more diverse and be required to pursue a broader agenda than the US just because of its constituent peoples.

Not to mention that "socialism" is NOT a dirty word over here.
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mermaid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 02:08 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Goddam
I need to find a WARM, ENGLISH-SPEAKING country over in the EU, and become an expatriate!

Fuck the neocon assholes over here. I don't think things are EVER gonna get better over here.

Goodbye, America.
I loved you.
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Enquiringkitty Donating Member (721 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 02:18 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Many people either have gone to Canada or are planning to ...... it's cold
though. Most of the people I have heard of live up north anyway so it isn't much difference. I looked into it. Will have to visit there first ... maybe several times.
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MrModerate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 02:29 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Don't worry about the English-speaking part . . .
One of the side effects of Hollywood and successful cultural imperialism is that English is the "lingua franca" (who says irony is dead) of the world and Europe in particular.

You can get by in English (i.e., feed yourself and find the bathroom, ride the bus etc.) just about anywhere in Europe (including France, though they'll be rude about it), while you're learning the language.
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mermaid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 02:38 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. No That Is Just The Point
I DON'T FUCKING WANT TO LEARN ANOTHER LANGUAGE.

English is good enough for me, it oughta be good enough for everyone else, too. I know, that makes me sound like a jerk, but, oh, well. I'm too old to want to learn another language. I'm confortable with English, and it is all I want to speak.

Besides, I have an excellent vocabulary in English. I might not manage to do as well with a foriegn language.

No offense, but most people ARE most comfortable with, and prefer, their native tongue. And in that, I'm no different. I REFUSE to start speaking another language. English or nothing.
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lebkuchen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 03:49 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. Your sentiment is frequently echoed in Iraq by US military/civilians
Edited on Sun Feb-27-05 04:04 AM by lebkuchen
American-style meals suit GIs

I never cease to be amazed by the Bush bashers and critics who always try to discredit the hard work and services provided by my employer, KBR (KBR needs some healthy competition, column, G. Jefferson Price III, Feb. 11).

Though I cant speak officially about figures and cost, I do know that here in Kuwait and also in Iraq KBR hires dozens of subcontractors to provide goods and services to the military. Locals are hired for those positions and are paid a wage commensurate with that area.

As for the cuisine, our dining facilities in Kuwait and also in Iraq offer nutritious, hot meals. Apparently, G. Jefferson Price III is not in touch with the American soldiers palate when he suggests that Middle Eastern foods be served in our dining facilities because people who eat the same foods get along better. I guess we could then hold hands with the terrorists and all sing We Are The World.

Soldiers want foods theyre familiar with. American-style foods cooked American-style. I have been at this camp for a year and not once have I heard an American soldier say: I sure would enjoy a nice mezze or olives stuffed with grape leaves.

And Price was correct in saying a security concern would be the poisoning of American troops and a food taster would need to be hired. I know just the person for that position: G. Jefferson Price III.

Bob Huffman
Camp Spearhead, Kuwait

http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=125&article...
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MrModerate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 05:06 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. Well . . . if you refuse to change at all . . . you're fucked
On just about any level.

Time's gonna change you even if you don't want to. I suspect it already has. You'll need to get prepared for that.
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gula Donating Member (619 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #10
22. Looks like you're staying put then
as the UK and Ireland are many things but warm is NOT one of them.
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Niccolo_Macchiavelli Donating Member (641 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-28-05 08:35 AM
Response to Reply #10
27. hmmm
with your enthusiasm to adapt to the new area you are right were you belong...why change?
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mutus_frutex Donating Member (469 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-02-05 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #10
38. As a bilingual person I can tell you that you would be missing a lot.
When you learn a new language you usually gain a whole new culture. That happened to me when I learned english. Together with the fact that my native tongue is spanish and I can understand portuguese and italian without much trouble, I have access to many different cultures and it is a very enriching experience.
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lebkuchen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 03:45 AM
Response to Reply #7
13. France, rude?
Edited on Sun Feb-27-05 04:15 AM by lebkuchen
It may apply to Paris, but rarely outside the city limits.

One of the best (and cheapest) ways to experience France is to camp. The French have wonderful campsites in scenic areas. Many of them come with excellent restaurants.

Germans are big campers, and they love the French camping experience as well, likewise the British, who enjoy watching soccer games in the camp restaurant/bar over a beer/wine, cheering on their team (while blasting Beckham) as if in a pub. For a multi-cultural experience, French camping would be hard to top.
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MrModerate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 05:14 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. Well, OK, Paris then.
I haven't camped or gotten to other French cities much. I think it's traditional in Paris ("stereotypical" maybe) to be insulting to Americans. Or maybe it's just waiters.
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lebkuchen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 06:33 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. Not only waiters, but the "helpers" at the train station "information"
Edited on Sun Feb-27-05 06:43 AM by lebkuchen
Admittedly, I haven't been to Paris in 20 years, spending weeks at a time in the countryside. In 1986 I was taking a train out of Paris and needed information, went up to the information kiosk, which posted a sign that read "No, I don't speak English!" (Talk about fulfilling every tourist's stereotype of the rude Frenchman.) So I asked my question in German, and was quickly and rudely told, "No English, no German, ONLY French!"

After my week in Paris, while riding my bicycle to the eastern station, a French policeman directing traffic stopped me and wanted to discuss Ronald Reagan in the middle of the street! By that time I knew a few words of French so was able to communicate my dislike for Reagan's presidency in the most fundamental French. The French policeman agreed w/me. He was very helpful, and wished me a pleasant journey.

Every city/country has its quirks, eh? :)
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solinvictus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #16
24. Paris..
Did they keep the German roadsigns just in case? ;)
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jakpalmer Donating Member (100 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-28-05 05:40 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. Oh the old "surrender monkeys" insult...
thank you I missed that one. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-28-05 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #13
30. It doesn't even apply in Paris
Learn a few words of French. Use them often as you meet people.
They will figure out right quick that:

1. You can't speak their language, but

2. You're willing to at least make some effort.

They'll then speak to you in English that's far better than
that spoken by our Fearless Leader(tm).

Tesha
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VegasWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-02-05 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #13
39. I love France. I've never had a bad experience in Paris. I guess
it's all in how one approches others and a keen intellectual
attempt to understand their language and culture is always appreciated. My wife and I want to get out of the US and
we would love to move to the south of France and take fast
train rides into Paris often.
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D-Notice Donating Member (820 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-28-05 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #3
32. Try Malta
English is one of its official languages
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lebkuchen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 02:37 AM
Response to Reply #1
9. I'm reading "The European Dream" right now
Edited on Sun Feb-27-05 03:36 AM by lebkuchen
and find it relevant to my experience as an American living in Europe.

Yesterday I spent a pleasant afternoon in my city's stadtmitte shopping w/a friend. The streets and shops were full of customers, dressed very "uptown," the men in their long black coats and neck scarfs, women likewise dressed as if for church or the opera rather than a Saturday at "the mall." Old people strolled arm in arm on the cobblestone car-less streets, young people doing the same, while mothers and fathers pushed carriages with babies wrapped in snowsuits watching events from under a pile of blankets. Family-owned coffeeshops/bakeries in preserved rococo buildings with views onto the square surrounded by centuries-old stuccoed pastel architecture were packed with customers of all ages chatting with each other and drinking latte machiatos, watching the show fall and the people stroll by.

Farmers' market stalls were packed with fresh produce and colored hard-boiled eggs. Flower stalls were jammed with rows of tulips, daffodils, and roses, selling for 2.95 euro a bunch, or less. The merchants chatted and exchanged news with customers as if personal friends. It would be difficult to feel alone or lonely in this environment.

At 1700 stores started to close, and shoppers walked to the cities' family-owned restaurants for a meal, reservations strongly suggested.

My friend and I remarked that such a safe, friendly, socially active, economically productive, architecturally attractive, environmentally healthy, age group diverse, product diverse, and generally civilized lifestyle would be hard to find in the U.S.
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cliss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 02:01 AM
Response to Original message
2. I wonder.......just "relatives"?
You can still have blood feuds, even among relatives. I think this is an optimistic assessment. Europe does tend to be fragmented, and lacking in guts, but they have other ways of expressing their discontent.

Call Europe the Passive-Aggressive quiet, nervous relative.

I spent 3 weeks in Sweden last summer. We stayed in Stockholm, and it was beautiful. Everywhere there were attractive, slim, people who were out walking, riding their bikes. Even old people were good-looking. They were slim and were out walking briskly.

I couldn't help but be impressed. The cities were immaculate. People seemed happy. When we went visiting, our relatives said they were happy. They all had Volvos and vacation homes. They told me about their 5 weeks paid vacation every summer and health care and dental care.

They cringed when I told them I had to work 3 years with hardly any vacation in order to come visit them. When I told them 45 million Americans do not have health insurance, they were shocked.

It certainly seems like they are better off over there.
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MrModerate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 02:32 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. They are facing some really serious problems, however . . .
If you think our aging baby boomers are going to be a strain on society, imagine how it's going to be with their more pervasive, evolved welfare states. The vacations and shorter work weeks translate into lower productivity, which impacts their competitiveness vis-a-vis both the US (where we work like dogs) and Asia (where they work for nothing).

It's going to be tough to keep all the promises their societies have made to their people.
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NJCher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 02:50 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. we could easily do the same
If you think our aging baby boomers are going to be a strain on society, imagine how it's going to be with their more pervasive, evolved welfare states.

It's just that our excess capital goes into the war machine. Theirs goes back as an investment into their people.

This is what a real government does. What "our" government does is siphon off our funds and give us nothing in return but shame.


Cher
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lebkuchen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 02:54 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. Many Americans profess doom and gloom for Europe
Edited on Sun Feb-27-05 03:33 AM by lebkuchen
America is living "doom and gloom" right now. What does it plan to do to fix its own festering troubles?

I saw two American families, complete with husband and wife (because the 1ID has just returned from Iraq), enjoying the same European shopping experience I had, though most military families opted to jam themselves into the handful of parking spaces on base and stand in long lines inside the crowded PX. The dollar/euro rate could be one reason. The language barrier could be another.
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-28-05 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #8
31. Promises made...
> It's going to be tough to keep all the promises their societies have made to their people.

As compared to here, where we don't even bother to *MAKE* the promises?
...where we laugh at the very idea of the promises?

Tesha
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lebkuchen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 06:45 AM
Response to Reply #2
18. Which begs the question, "What's so great about America, anyway?"
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98geoduck Donating Member (590 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 02:13 AM
Response to Original message
4. Europe progressed from the 60's revolution, while the US has taken a long
trip back in time to repeat history.
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Enquiringkitty Donating Member (721 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 02:15 AM
Response to Original message
5. They have come to the conclusion that quality of life is better than the
profits of a few. We see a corporation as an entity other than human. When there is a problem and you call or otherwise contact a corporation, no matter how high up the ladder your call gets transfered, it's the same line, "I'm sorry but company policy....." like the company has a say so of it's own and the people don't. They see all growth as a result of the efforts of their citizens, all the way up to the top CEO. No multi million $ bonus' also no working so much families don't know each other. Their government works like one should. Their representative actually represent the real people they are suppose to.
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ConcernedCanuk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 07:05 AM
Response to Original message
19. The headline tells the story - and identifies the problem
.
.
.

the EU is a bloc of 25 countries - the US is a lone wolf

The headline does not indicate "Europe and NORTH AMERICA".

or "Europe and The Americas"

It's Europe-U.S.

One country from the West trying to dictate to dozens in the East

and the "One", a belligerent, murderous one at that.

US has consistently ignored and abused other countries priorities.

Europe banded together with the EU, realizing that Economical strength could beat the beast without bullets.

And the US Admin is getting a wee bit frantic

Too friggen bad

Oh, the Murikkkan War Machine will probably kill a few more million before it's reign is over

But it will fade away as other Empirical Nations have ALL done before them.

It will not be missed

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Wright Patman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 07:35 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. The U.S. war machine
will kill one-third of mankind before it is finished. So it's more like a few billion rather than a few million.

I think even many of the Armageddon Cult "Left Behind"ers in Jesusland would have to agree with me by now, if they stopped waving flags and buying car magnets long enough to ponder it, that "America's finest" represent "The Beast" of Revelation 13.

"Support the troops" and "go to hell" is the only conclusion any deep-thinking fundy (not that there are any) can draw.
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mermaid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Too True!!
Edited on Sun Feb-27-05 05:49 PM by mermaid
I have the incredible misfortune of living in one of those Red States you hear about...though, I am on what you could say was a little blue island, surrounded by a vast Red Sea. My city voted 80-20 for Kerry...my STATE, hoever, voted, I think 60-40 Bush. and i'm smack dead in the middle of my state.

Yes, I live in Austin, Texas...though probably not for much longer. Looks like I will end up back in Pennsylvania at the end of May, because I'm a complete loser at life and can't manage to find decent life-sustaining work, and so, at age 34, have to go back home to Mommy. Thanks, Geee-Dubya!! Thanks for letting me know what a failure I am, that I can't get ahead or even stay afloat in the world of YOUR wet dreams! Thanks for letting me know just how much you'd rather see me drown!

FUCK YOU, GEORGE W BUSH!!!!

P.S. Congrats on (almost) 1000 posts!
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area51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-28-05 07:32 AM
Response to Reply #21
26. No.
mermaid said:

" ...because I'm a complete loser at life and can't manage to find decent life-sustaining work, ..."

No, you're not a loser b/c you can't find a job in this economy. The nazi media isn't reporting just how bad this economy is. We're either still in a recession or it's migrated into the 2nd Great Depression. People who haven't lost their job prob. have no idea of just how hard it is to find a job in this dying economy. I've heard scuttlebutt that the avg. time before getting a new job is at least two years; just how many people have 2 years' worth of savings stacked up with which to survive? And I know of peo. on this board who've been out of work much longer than two years.




"Prosperity is just around the corner." -- Herbert Hoover
"The economy has turned a corner." -- GW Bush

Herbert Hoover = GW Bush

Neither man cared about the Depression their economic policies created.

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Gloria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 11:25 PM
Response to Original message
23. Please check out this thread for an important article on this...even more
in-depth about the growing separation (but not a long read)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...





Up now in the new World Media Watch at http://www.zianet.com/insightanalytical
Tomorrow at Buzzflash.com

It's impossible to snip this piece without losing so much info. Read this, it is really important to understanding the geopolitcs of the world today....



1//GulfNews Online, United Arab Emirates 27/2/2005, 07:50 (UAE)

http://www.gulfnews.com/Articles/OpinionNF.asp?ArticleI ...


OPINION: A SEPARATE EUROPE LOOKS THE BETTER BET



By John O' Sullivan

John O'Sullivan, former adviser to Lady Thatcher, is currently editor of "The National Interest" and a member of Benador Associates.

(SNIP)

But the underlying dispute over the shape of the Atlantic alliance remained.



The United States supports the traditional model: an alliance in which the United States is the leader of middling and smaller powers acting together in world politics.



France and Germany, on the other hand, want the EU to develop into a single superpower with its own foreign policy and armed forces. Such an "equal partner" would inevitably develop as a rival to the United States in world politics.



And the West would gradually separate into two powers both superpowers but neither enjoying the overwhelming dominance of today's West.



Until very recently Washington has largely ignored this threat. How could an EU that spent an average of only 1.5 per cent of its gross domestic product on defence be a rival?



But Europe was never going to invade the United States. It could nonetheless damage US interests in lesser but still serious ways.



I can cite two examples:



1. A French "Green" politician, Noel Mamere, led a recent news broadcast with this statement: "The good thing about the European Constitution is that with it the United Kingdom will not be able to support the United States in a future war."



2. The new head of the European Defence Agency, Nick Witney, who is responsible for co-ordinating European defence procurement, said: "In matters of technology I think Europe is engaged in competition with America."



In other words an EU formed on Franco-German lines would prevent America's closest allies in Europe from cooperating with the United States in major crises and redirect defence spending away from joint Euro-American projects towards wholly European ones.

MORE
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Gasping4Truth Donating Member (199 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-28-05 09:06 AM
Response to Original message
28. Sloppy article
Edited on Mon Feb-28-05 09:17 AM by Gasping4Truth
Rifkin's book is called "The European Dream" and not "The American Dream".

The so-called "Titan mission to Saturn" is in fact the Cassini-Huygens mission.

On a sidenote: a small European lander piggybacking on a large American space probe is IMHO not the example you want to give if your point is about waning American dominance.
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Mountainman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-28-05 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. The greatter technology is in the lander not the booster
We've had boosters around ever since the Redstone put Sheppard in to space. Landing on a planet is far more difficult.
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Gasping4Truth Donating Member (199 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-01-05 06:08 AM
Response to Reply #29
33. Comparing landers with landers
Edited on Tue Mar-01-05 06:16 AM by Gasping4Truth
Landing on a planet is far more difficult

When compared to the American MER rovers on Mars, the Huygens mission comes out as a rather "easy" accomplishment.

The MER project required from its engineers a level of dedication, loyalty and cooperation that in my opinion is still lacking in the European space organization.

I saw a TV documentary on MER once, and it turned out they had to do last-minute wind tunnel tests to get the parachutes right. I don't think ESA's awe factor in Europe is already high enough to cut queue at wind tunnels. Arguments like: "Let me through, the glory of our nation is at stake!" won't do it. Concepts like nation and patriotism haven't shifted enough yet to the European level. Although the attitude of the * administration is helping a lot to accelerate the process! ;)

I hope the landing on Titan can contribute to a new European confidence when it comes to space exploration. But it is by no means the start of an era when ESA outperforms NASA.

At DU the European voice is often considered as a voice of moderation. Let me tell you this: as a convinced European Rifkin's words sound like music to my ears. But Europe has yet to live up to the high expectations stated in his book. It's already telling in that respect that it has to be an American to write for us the book on the European Dream.


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lebkuchen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-02-05 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #33
34. An American writing about the European dream
doesn't indicate to you the growing observable disparities between the haves/have nots in America, with occasional trips to Europe underscoring those differences even further?

It was a big deal to get European countries to agree to a common currency. Cooperation in space will follow. What's key is that Europe has left its medieval feudal system behind, a system the US is just now embracing.
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Gasping4Truth Donating Member (199 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-02-05 04:52 AM
Response to Reply #34
36. The fact that the "European Dream" was coined outside
Edited on Wed Mar-02-05 05:05 AM by Gasping4Truth
of Europe, is a symptom of the current lack of pan-European symbols that rally all its citizens.

The American Dream has been dead for a long time. The blessings enjoyed by many Europeans embody this dream better than anything in the USA. But these blessings are under strain. See message #8 by MrModerate:
If you think our aging baby boomers are going to be a strain on society, imagine how it's going to be with their more pervasive, evolved welfare states. The vacations and shorter work weeks translate into lower productivity, which impacts their competitiveness vis-a-vis both the US (where we work like dogs) and Asia (where they work for nothing).
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lebkuchen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-02-05 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. You don't own an EU umbrella?
Edited on Wed Mar-02-05 01:55 PM by lebkuchen
They are the rage in much of Europe.

Europeans are having fewer children, which will put a strain on any social system. It will make adjustments. What's the US doing? Dismantling social security.

Americans have plenty of social problems to keep themselves occupied on their side of the pond without having to worry about the EU.

German TV broadcast a news brief on auto production. My German isn't all that great, but I can read graphs. Bottom line: despite the weakening of the dollar, Americans are still buying more German cars than Germans are buying American.

Audi and BMW are more than status symbol names. They represent quality on the dollar because of the benefit packages paid to workers that make these cars. US cars are shit by comparison.
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lovuian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-02-05 02:34 AM
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35. American people are going to realize America dream is
B.S.!!!
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