The Corner

The Third Stooge

John Kerry wants everyone to remember that he stands with Barack Obama and Tennessee senator Bob Corker (R!) in their efforts to keep Britain in the EU.

The BBC:

Mr Kerry…spoke about the EU while at security conference in Munich, said Europe was facing a number of challenges including the UK’s potential exit.

“Here again however, I want to express the confidence of President Obama and all of us in America that, just as it has so many times before, Europe is going to emerge stronger than ever, provided it stays united and builds common responses to these challenges,” he said.

“Now obviously, the United States has a profound interest in your success as we do in very strong United Kingdom staying in a strong EU.”

As the Financial Times reported earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Lew has a rather keener appreciation for what the EU really is.

Jack Lew, US Treasury secretary, has accused the EU of unfairly targeting American companies in its investigation into possible corporate tax avoidance, warning it could jeopardise investment in the bloc.In what amounts to Washington’s highest-level attack so far on the EU’s far-reaching tax probe, Mr Lew said Brussels was creating a “disturbing” precedent with its examination of whether US companies such as Apple, are benefiting from illegal state aid in their European operations.

In the letter addressed to the president of the European Commission, Mr Lew warned that he had “serious concerns about fundamental fairness” of the EU’s tax policy. The Treasury secretary added that the uncertainty created by the investigations “could damage the business climate in Europe and deter foreign direct investment”.

Mr Lew’s intervention makes him the most senior official yet to criticise the recent spate of tax investigations into a series of American companies, which includes Starbucks and Amazon as well as Apple.

A spokesperson for the commission dismissed the accusation of bias against US groups. “EU law applies indiscriminately to all companies operating in Europe — there is absolutely no bias against US companies,” she said. Previous cases have “mostly” involved European companies, she added.

Lew is quite right. And the spokesperson for the European Commission is doing what spokespeople for the European Commission do.

From the get-go, what evolved into the EU was anti-American, both ideologically (in its contempt for ‘Anglo-Saxon’ capitalism) and geopolitically (it was designed partly as a rival to American power).

Britain, it should be remembered, only signed up for the European project when it was already well underway. For a while, mainly in the Thatcher years, it was able to steer the EU in a somewhat better direction, but that time has long since passed. David Cameron, may, rather embarrassingly, be claiming that the changes he is seeking to UK membership as part of his ‘renegotiation’ would make Europe “more outward-looking, competitive and dynamic”, but he cannot possibly believe that. His sad little collection of half-promised quarter-measures will not make any significant difference: The EU is what it is. It’s not going to change.

Obama and Kerry might not have too much objection to that, but that Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee appears to feel the same way, well…

Being charitable, as one must be, I can only assume that poor Senator Corker does not understand what the EU really is. Which is fine and all that, but should he then head up the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations? 

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