political revue


Year XLVI, 2004, Number 3, Page 170



Immediately after the attack of 11 September 2001 the Congress and the Senate of the United States granted President Bush extraordinary powers to lead the War on Terror, with the approval of the Patriot Act.[1] Three years since its introduction, the Patriot Act has shown itself to be inadequate both for definitively removing the danger of new terrorist attacks against America, and for restoring within American society a climate of trust in the institutions and in the possibility of winning the War on Terror. The continuous negative news from the Iraq, the limitation of some individual liberties and the infringement on the privacy of American citizens by federal bodies in the name of national security have fostered doubts about the opportuneness and effectiveness of the measures adopted.[2] Furthermore the subsequent suspension of the right to habeas corpus[3] for hundreds of prisoners captured during the war and detained for years without trial in American prisons and military bases, has provoked such indignation in American public opinion, as to persuade the Supreme Court to criticize the operations of the government through two sentences which ordered the Executive to respect the right to habeas corpus of the detainees Yaser Esam Hamdi and Shafiq Rasul, and to formally notify all those detained of the accusation of having been declared enemy combatants.[4] The Bush Administration responded to the sentences by extraditing Hamdi and Rasul without trial, as per the indications of the Supreme Court, activating special military commissions to clarify the position of the other detainees still in prison. Taking a lead from these sentences, other legal actions and protests have developed in different member states of the Federation.[5] But the situation of emergency, as President Bush and his Administration continue to repeat, is not over and therefore, precisely as a result of the American constitutional provisions, the fundamental freedoms of American citizens continue to be in danger of suspension.[6] The uncertainty of the situation also emerges from the sentences of the Supreme Court Judges in the Hamdi and Rasul cases, and here we would like to propose an interpretation that considers three aspects: a) the historical aspect, to highlight that these sentences, as with all those that preceded them, cannot be separated from the historical moment in which they were passed; b) the technical-practical aspect to underline the will of the judges to pass sentence on the substance and not simply on the form of the cases that were presented to them; c) the political aspect, to place these sentences in the context of the balances of power that are forming within the American system of federal government.
A) On various occasions the sentences of the Supreme Court have marked and signalled crucial turning points for the United States, sometimes anticipating, sometimes guiding or simply registering the changes underway in American society. The regulation of the relations between the federal power and the power of the Member states, the attempts to limit the growth of federal powers in economics and trade primarily but also in the field of foreign policy management, and the extension of civil rights to all citizens independently of their race and origin are a few examples of the issues that the Supreme Court has had to tackle from the founding of the United States to the present On each of these issues its sentences have been definitive judgments and out-and-out orders (It is no accident that “It is so ordered” is the used at the bottom of their resolutions), to which both ordinary citizens and institutions have had to adhere and refer. Precisely for the fact that the voice of the Supreme Court is still obeyed and respected, it is worth taking into consideration its judgments regarding the War on Terror and the considerable powers of the President of the USA, facts that concern two issues of great current interest not only in the United States, but also in the rest of the world. In particular we refer to the judgments the Court during the examination of two appeals amongst many, that we have already mentioned above, lodged by the prisoners Hamdi and Rasul against the government of the United States for the violation of their constitutional right to habeas corpus. When examining these cases the Court reflected on the very nature of the emergency of the War on Terror and on the sovereignty exercised by the USA outside its frontiers. The awareness of America’s role as a world power, as testified in some parts of the sentences, has increased the significance and the value of the sentences, which ruled in favour of the complainants and against the government, but within the limits that we shall discuss below. This was a historical moment that was also well described, and cited, by the passage in The Federalist in which Hamilton warned against the dangers facing a State when it is subjected to external pressures. “Safety from external danger”, wrote Hamilton, “is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates. The violent destruction of life and property incident to war; the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty, to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they, at length, become willing to run the risk of being less free.”[7] In their judgments the Court Judges were well aware that this is the dilemma facing the USA today.
B) Let us examine in more detail however exactly what the Court Judges said and what the immediate results of their judgments were.
The case of Hamdi against the Secretary of Defense of the United States.[8] The Saudi-American citizen Yaser Esam Hamdi had been made a prisoner in Afghanistan by the American army in 2001. Classified as an enemy combatant and taken first to the base at Guantanamo and then — his dual citizenship having been ascertained — transferred to a prison in the USA, Hamdi was detained incommunicado, that is to say held without being able to communicate with anyone and without a trial, until the day of his expulsion to Saudi Arabia in October 2004 following the sentence of the Court. This sentence established that the executive cannot prevent an individual, and especially an American citizen, from pleading innocent before a United States court, by invoking an indefinite emergency situation. To the defenders at the Pentagon who had objected that the War on Terror, “given its unconventional nature, …is unlikely to end with a formal cease-fire agreement”, the Court dryly answered “an emergency power of necessity must at least be limited by the emergency”. If, the Court objected, “the Government does not consider this unconventional war won for two generations, and if it maintains during that time that Hamdi might, if released, rejoin forces fighting against the United States, then the position it has taken throughout the litigation of this case suggests that Hamdi’s detention could last for the rest of his life”. So the Court denied the Administration the power to suspend the right to habeas corpus and established that Hamdi “unquestionably has the right to access to counsel in connection with the proceedings on remand”.
The Court however did not limit itself to denying the Administration the power to suspend the right to habeas corpus for American citizens detained on American soil: they also denied it to non-American citizens detained by US military forces abroad. This is the point of the second important sentence examined below.
The case of Rasul vs. The President of the United States.[9] In adjudicating the case of the British citizen Shafiq Rasul, also classified as an enemy combatant, detained incommunicado in Guantanamo, first of all the Court had to establish how the jurisdiction of the USA should be interpreted and to what extent it was valid outside national boundaries: the legal power of a state only extends to where the dominion of the state ends, replied the Court. Here the Court made an analysis of the international status of the American base at Guantanamo, where hundreds of prisoners from the War on Terror are still being detained, a base, according to the USA government, formally under Cuban sovereignty and therefore outside of the jurisdiction of US federal tribunals.[10] The historical precedent to which the Court made significant reference in formulating the sentence was the British colonial period and the protection of the right to habeas corpus for prisoners detained outside the United Kingdom, in as much as the Court was interested in investigating not the formal notion of territorial sovereignty, but the effective one. “The question now before us”, read the grounds for the Court’s sentence, “is whether the habeas statute confers a right to judicial review of the legality of Executive detention of aliens in a territory over which the United States exercises plenary and exclusive jurisdiction, but not ‘ultimate sovereignty’.”[11] On the very basis of the analysis of the type of power exercised the British Crown in the overseas territories under its control at that time, the Court concluded that the sovereignty of the USA also covers the base at Guantanamo. In the British colonies and protectorates, observes the Court, “there was ‘no doubt’ as to the court’s power to issue writs of habeas corpus if the territory was ‘under the subjection of the Crown’.” Likewise, “the [US] federal courts have jurisdiction to determine the legality of the Executive’s potentially indefinite detention [in Guantanamo] of individuals who claim to be wholly innocent of wrongdoing”. In the case in question the Court therefore has the authority granted to it the Constitution to “reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand for the District Court to consider in the first instance the merits of petitioners’ claims.” The practical effect of this sentence has been the extradition of Rasul to Great Britain.
C) How much effect will these judgments have on the evolution of power relations within the USA and on the exercise of presidential powers in foreign policy? To answer this question we need to look at the past, remembering a symbolic sentence of the Supreme Court from over a century ago. This sentence also took the lead from a case claiming the right to habeas corpus. In those years, also as a consequence of the power vacuum created by the weakness of some European ex-colonial powers (primarily Spain), the United States had begun to expand their influence in the Atlantic (the occupation of Cuba) and in the Pacific (the occupation of the Philippines) and the role of the President of the United States started to undergo profound transformations. The stewardship theory on the role of the President embodied these transformations referring explicitly to the sentence of the Supreme Court of 1890, the Neagle case,[12] with which the judges had established that by now the powers of the Executive should be “enforcing the rights, duties, and obligations growing out of the Constitution itself, our international relations, and all the protection implied by the nature of government under the Constitution”. To measure the importance that these issues played in American society at that time we only need to observe that, still only a few years prior to the Neagle case, the young lawyer and future President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, had proposed to set up a parliamentary government closer to the English model, abandoning the presidential form of government —ineffective and no longer relevant to the times, according to Wilson.[13] Subsequently, over the course of the First World War, President Wilson himself had to make some decisions, concerning the control of the economy and the freedoms of Americans with the creation of the War Industries Commission presided over by Baruch, which no predecessor ever had made.
The fact is that every time the United States has found itself in situations of war or mere threat of war (starting from the near war against revolutionary France a few years after the ratification of the Constitution, and ending with the Cold War years with the USSR), laws and measures have been approved that strictly limit freedoms and individual rights: the Alien and Sedition Acts deliberated by Washington and Hamilton in 1798, scarcely used and immediately repealed in 1800 under the Jefferson presidency, are only the distant predecessors of the provisions introduced on subsequent occasions.[14]
The more the USA have inserted themselves into global balances of power, the less able they have been to avoid the iron laws that regulate relations between States: the raison d’Etat and the supremacy of foreign policy over internal policy.[15] The Patriot Act and the power exercised by President Bush are also to be found in this logic. But they are not the simple rehashing of similar provisions and past policies, with different procedures and on a different scale. It is in fact the very sentences of the Supreme Court that clarify that the War on Terror only appears to be a war. In fact it is a timeless and placeless emergency that can prelude conventional wars, or prepare for them[16] and that, for this very reason, it risks indefinitely increasing the risks of an abuse of power the Executive.
The fact that for the time being the American government has obeyed the dictates of the sentences does not mean that the future of federalism and democracy in the USA is sheltered from every danger. In fact we need to understand the point to which the action of the Court will be sufficient, on its own: 1) to give lasting guarantees on the safeguarding of civil rights in a situation that in any case remains one of emergency for national security and 2) to contain any further expansion of the influence of presidential powers in the federal system.
As regards the first point, the reasoning of the sentences for Hamdi and Rasul by the judges testify to their concern to protect, alongside the rights of the imprisoned citizens to appeal to the judicial system to declare their innocence, the power of the President to act in case of war.[17] In the Hamdi case, for example, the Judge Sandra O’Connor expressed herself thus: “[Hamdi] unquestionably has the right to access to counsel in connection with any further proceedings,” and as with the other prisoners, prior to the start of legal proceedings, he should be notified by a “neutral decision maker” if and because the government considers him to be an enemy combatant. But these “neutral decision makers” are, according to the same Judge O’Connor, nothing other than “appropriately authorized and properly constituted” military commissions and not normal civil or military tribunals. This clearly reverses the burden of proof, putting defendants in a situation of inferiority.[18] In fact, if the government decides — as in effect it did decide for the prisoners of war in — not to reveal, for security reasons, the details and the circumstances in which the enemy combatants were captured, it would be up to the latter to prove that they had nothing to do with terrorism and to produce adequate testimonies in their favour (but what realistic chance do they have if in the meantime they have been transferred thousands of miles away from the place where the events occurred?) and not up to the government to prove their actual guilt. This is a procedure that can be debated on the basis of the Sixth Amendment of the American Constitution, whereas it is specified that every defendant must have the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him and to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor”. It is therefore true that the government has had to obey the Court by extraditing the prisoners that were party to an action, but it is granted discretionary power to capture the prisoners in the various theatres in which military operations are carried out and to classify them as enemy combatants.[19] This attitude by the Court leads us directly to a few considerations on the second aspect of the problem, the form that American executive power is taking.
If it is true, as the facts seem to confirm, that the convolutedness of the American federal system during the last century occurred following the increasing involvement of the USA in international policy, we can absolutely exclude that the action of the Court could, by itself, have a miraculous effect upon the effective rebalancing of powers inside the USA. Since the end of the Second World War the United States have passed from a forty year Cold War — in some cases even physically fought (in Korea and Vietnam) — with the USSR, to the First Gulf War on the eve of the collapse of the USSR and to the interventions in the former Yugoslavia and in Somalia after 1991, to subsequently arrive to the war in Afghanistan, and to the Second Gulf War and the war on Iraq. One cannot be surprised therefore that such an almost permanent state of emergency has reflected on American institutions. In particular, one of its results has been a significant increase in the power of the President of the United States to the detriment of those of the Congress and the Supreme Court itself.[20] This was an imbalance that Arthur Schlesinger did not hesitate to define Imperial.[21] Unfortunately Schlesinger’ s formula, useful for highlighting the drift in the American power system, fosters some illusions when it suggests the possibility of inverting this tendency in the short-term through the only inherently self-corrective force against error in the American system: according to Schlesinger this self-correction could actually take a lead from the recognition of American defeat in Iraq. This train of thought however tends to overestimate the importance of internal dynamics with respect to the logic of international relations as highlighted by Hamilton. We only need to remind ourselves of the difference between the role that American Presidents have had before and after the Second World War. As Schlesinger openly admits, the Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt, to name but a few among the more relevant figures in American history, have often usurped power when managing foreign policy, forcing certain decisions by Congress, guiding public opinion through the use of information accessible only to them, limiting some freedoms etc. But these Presidents have always had to return the power usurped during the state of emergency to their rightful owners, to the American people. They have thus acted with respect to the Roosevelt doctrine according to which “when the war is won, the powers under which [the Presidents] act automatically revert to the people — to whom they belong”. Therefore, since the end of the Second World War this vicious circle has been interrupted and the power has never been entirely returned to the people, since, as Schlesinger again explains, “the assertion of inherent powers… creates precedents for the future”.[22] In this way the Second World War represented a watershed for the abilities and the possibilities of the American federal system to monitor and limit presidential powers: it was the inherent powers accepted and shared the majority of the American people, and legitimised by its institutions to tackle an emergency that had become the norm, that transformed the Presidents into Imperial Presidents. At this point the controlling action of the Court on the legality of the actions of the Executive remains as necessary and important as ever, if for no other reason but to encourage and cultivate the survival, at least in part of American society, of those moral energies that refuse to accept the continuous erosion of values on which the federal State and the State of law in North America are founded. But it cannot be sufficient to dismantle the imperial logic that has seized the American system.
If this logic is above all a reflection of the degree of the present imbalance of power in the world, and not so much of the thoughtless exercise of power of any one American President, we need, as Europeans, to be aware of the serious responsibilities that our countries now hold for having contributed to throwing the world into chaos with two world wars, and for not being capable of contributing to installing a more balanced and secure multipolar order today. Only in such a context could even the United States, finally more secure and less involved at the international level, reorganise their institutions. That such a consciousness fails so badly to emerge, starting from the countries that gave life to the European integration process, and to demonstrate that it can be the next act of will in the creation of a European pole is truly scandalous.[23]
Franco Spoltore

[1]Patriot is an acronym of Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism. The Patriot Act was approved by Congress and the Senate immediately after the attack of 11 September 2001.
[2] By way of example we can mention the action taken by the American Civil Liberties Union against the “unchecked power” exercised by the FBI when collecting information on private citizens and monitoring, for example, the Amazon and eBay files of Internet users. In effect the Patriot Act only extends the powers of investigation of the FBI that, since at least the mid eighties, have been granted to the federal authority for pursuing suspected terrorists and spies. In 1993 Congress had further broadened these powers, allowing the FBI to secretly acquire information even on individuals only suspected of having been in contact with spies and terrorists.
[3] The right to habeas corpus, namely the right of every individual not to be unjustly imprisoned, originates from the English revolution of the Seventeenth Century, when the power to suspend laws, or the execution of laws, by the King’s authority, or by his emissaries, without the approval of the Parliament, was challenged. This right, introduced by the British Parliament with the Habeas Corpus Act and sanctioned with the Bill of Rights, was subsequently introduced into the Constitution of the United States through the Fourth and Sixth Amendments.
[4] The classification by the American government of the prisoners of the war on terror as enemy combatants has been a sleight of hand by the American government to take away for years the powers of the courts to actually conduct the trials of the hundreds of prisoners detained in Guantanamo. After the sentence of the Supreme Court, according to the article “After Terror, a Secret Rewriting of Military Law” in the New York Times of 24 October 2004, the Pentagon simply tried to dispose of the majority of these people and, for a more limited number of them, to start long processes to formalise the counts of indictlnent.
[5] Four States and over three hundred towns and counties have until now approved resolutions and presented petitions against the Patriot Act. Recently the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has declared the control measures for participants in protest demonstrations against the government unlawful. “We cannot simply suspend or restrict civil liberties until the War on Terror is over, because the War on Terror is unlikely ever to be truly over”, wrote Judge Gerald Tjoflat in his sentence, stating that “Sept. 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country”. See article “Screening of Protesters Unconstitutional, Court Rules” in The Washington Post, 17 October 2004.
[6] Since they were well aware of the risks and tensions that a state incurs when it falls prey to internal dangers and external threats and on the basis of their recent experiences of the War of Independence and of the rebellions that had exploded in various states the founding fathers had specified in the Constitution that “the right to habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless required for public safety, in case of rebellion or invasion” (Art. 1 Sect. 9).
[7] A. Hamilton, J. Madison, J. Jay, The Federalist n. 8, cited in the grounds for of the sentence Hamdi et Al. V. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense.
[8] See the sentence of the Supreme Court of the United States, Hamdi et Al. V. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, passed on 28 June 2004. Another sentence, in the Padilla case, concerned a detained American citizen, who had converted to Islam. But in this resolution the Court claimed they could not pass sentence on the right to habeas corpus as they claimed that Padilla had appealed against the wrong body. Even if this sentence has raised various criticisms amongst those who maintain that the Supreme Court had, with its decision, granted too wide a margin of discretion to the government in transferring the prisoners of war to the judicial districts that were most favourable to the government’s point of view, it shall not be covered in this essay, as it does not add any particular clarifications to the issues. For further information see the sentence of the Supreme Court of the United States, Rumsfeld Secretary of State v. Padilla, Decided June 28, 2004.
[9] See the sentence of the Supreme Court of the United States, Rasul et al. V. Bush, President of the United States, Decided June 28, 2004. It is worth quoting the dissenting minority opinion, but one which is signed by the Chief Justice as well as by the judges Scalia and Thomas that deals with the problem, not a negligible one, of considering the impact of this sentence on all the cases that could be submitted to the Court from anywhere in the world where American soldiers are present or operate. Extending the right to all individuals, the Court would in fact operate as a substitute for an international Court under American sovereignty: “The Court today holds that the habeas statute extends to aliens detained by the United States military overseas, outside the sovereign borders of the United States and beyond the territorial jurisdictions of all its courts.This is not only a novel holding; it contradicts a half-century-old precedent on which the military undoubtedly relied, Johnson v. Eisentrager, (1950)… This is an irresponsible overturning of settled law in a matter of extreme importance to our forces currently in the field. I would leave it to Congress to change, and dissent from the Court’s unprecedented holding.”
[10] In the case Ex parte Quirin (1942), and In re Yaulashita (1946), the Supreme Court recognized the power of the Federal Courts to review the application of the right to habeas corpus for enemy detainees, even foreigners, held in the USA or its island possessions. But in the case of the detention of German prisoners of war (Eisentrager (1950)), the Court had established that “aliens detained outside the sovereign territory of the United States [may not] invok[e] a petition for a writ of habeas corpus”. And it is on this sentence that the executive had based the defence of their operations with American prisoners detained abroad.
[11] The Supreme Court quotes the judgment passed by Lord Mansfield as far back as 1759. In other sentences the Court had underlined how the validity of the right to habeas corpus depended “not on formal notions of territorial sovereignty”, but rather on the practical question of “the exact extent and nature of the jurisdiction or dominion exercised in fact by the Crown”. Ex parte Mwenya, [1960].
[12] From the name of the federal official detained by the state of California in violation of habeas corpus. See Fareed Zakaria, From Wealth to Power, The Unusual Origins of America’s World Role, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1998, p. 137.
[13] “Congress is fast becoming the governing body of the nation, and yet the only power which it possesses in perfection is the power which is but a part of government, the power of legislation,” Woodrow Wilson, Congressional Government [1885].
[14] On the fact that in situations of emergency the Courts have propensity the point of view of the government, see the opinion expressed just a year before the attack on the Twin Towers by the Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. In war “laws speak with muted voice” Rehnquist had observed, and “[it] is all too easy to slide from a case of genuine military necessity… to one where the threat is not critical and the power [sought be exercised is] either dubious or nonexistent,” and therefore it was “both desirable and likely that more careful attention will be paid by the courts to the… government’s necessity as a basis for curtailing civil liberty.” Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Remarks at the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association, May 3, 2000 (transcription available at
[15] On the degeneration of power in the state due to the influence of international balances of power, see Gerhard Ritter, Die Dämonie der Macht (The fiendish face of power), München, R. Oldenburg, 1948.
[16] “The model of war is not fully appropriate… We enter a state of conventional war on a date, like December 8, 1941, and we leave it on another date, like August 14, 1945. We fight conventional wars against nations that have boundaries, and leaders with whom we can negotiate truces and surrenders, not against loose organizations whose hierarchies are secret and indistinct and whose officers and soldiers do not wear uniforms. We can conquer Kabul and Baghdad, but there is no place called Terror where the terrorists live,” Ronald Dworkin, “Terror and the Attack on Civil Liberties”, in The New York Review of Books, November 6, 2003. Furthermore it is now impossible for America, as for any other state, to close itself off in splendid isolation. As Michael Ignatieff observed “It has taken three years, but the 9/11 commission and the Supreme Court hearings on enemy combatants have given us our first serious public discussion about how to balance civil liberties and national security in a war on terror. Even so, we have not begun to ask the really hard questions. The hardest one is: could we actually lose the war on terror? Consider the consequences of a second major attack on the mainland United States… After such an attack, a pall of mourning, melancholy, anger and fear would hang over our public life for a generation. An attack of this sort is already in the realm of possibility”, New York Times Magazine, 2 May 2004. To confirm Ignatieff s preoccupations, the report prearranged by a bipartisan commission made up of politicians, academics and various Centers of Study brought together by the Center for Global Development, has classified at least sixty countries worldwide in which the weakness of state institutions makes the birth of similar hotbeds of tension and threat to American security possible and likely. See On the Brink: Weak States and US National Security, Center for Global Development, May 2004.
[17] See Ronald Dworkin, “What the Court Really Said”, in The New York Review of Books, August 12, 2004.
[18] Ibidem.
[19] Ibidem. If the prisoners taken during the war on terror were classified as prisoners of war, they would undergo a different legal treatment and would have more possibilities of appealing to the Supreme Court. In the case of the prisoner Salim Ahmed Hamdan, suspected of having been one of Osama bin Laden’s chauffeurs, the Washington District Court challenged the legitimacy of the discretionary powers of the government when classifying the prisoners, but the government appealed against this sentence and the dispute, at the time of writing this note, has still not been resolved.
[20] On the ambiguities of the exercise of law in America during the war on terror, see the article in the New York Times already cited in note 4.
[21] Arthur M. Schlesinger, War and the American Presidency, Norton, 2004, annotated by James Chace, “Empire, Anyone?”, in The New York Review of Books, October 7, 2004.
[22] Ibidem.
[23] The awareness of this state of affairs, which can partly be found for example in some comments by Chinese observers, is hard to translate into consistent analyses and concrete actions in Europe. See the article by Wang Jisi, director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences as well as the director of the Institute of International Strategic Studies at the central school of the Chinese Communist Party, “Le duel Bush-Kerry vu de Pekin” (the Bush-Kerry duel seen from Peking), in Le Monde, 4 October 2004, in which Jisi affirms: “The absence of significant differences in the foreign policy programs of the Democrats and the Republicans does not allow us to foresee important readjustments in the behaviour of America at the international level for the years to come. What some consider to be a disturbing orientation — indeed a dangerous one — of American foreign policy is deeply rooted in the structural imbalances inside the United States and in the entire world” (italics are mine). On the European continent, only in France is a debate worthy of this name developing on these issues. As Pierre Lellouche, deputy UMP, noted “Many Europeans do not understand this American neo-nationalism, simply because nationalism and power ambition have essentially disappeared from Europe during the long process of the construction of Europe. Thus, we choose other perspectives: sometimes oil imperialism, or even the religious zeal of the Christian fundamentalists, even “neo-conservative” ideology, or a mixture of the three. …If Europe vote 80% in favour of Kerry, it does not consider that American foreign policy will remain nationalist and will hardly change — except maybe in style”, Pierre Lellouche, “Une Amérique nationaliste”, in Le Figaro, 9 October 2004. How European could contribute to neutralising American nationalism, Lellouche does not say. A reply deserves to be quoted from the ranks of the French socialist alliance since it is representative of the dominant but defeatist thought of the political classes and of national public opinion in Europe, Michel Rocard, in an internet chat room publicized by Le Monde on 12 October, to the question “How do you see Europe in fifty years’ time?”, replied: “As a development of what it is today, that is to say that not an area where one makes foreign policy, but a space governed by law which will have developed the best legal defence block for human rights in the world, and a model of economic organization based on free enterprise, the market and competition, but which is out of bounds to monopolies and preserves an important level of public services and social protection. Europe will be a model of social organization that will be the envy of the whole world and for which there will be no reason to limit it to its current geographical borders.





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