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Friday, 27 February 2009

Niall Ferguson: Europe in chaos

H/T Sackerson

It's well worth reading the original Globe and Mail interview in full; Ferguson thinks the US is best placed to weather the storm, but things are not so rosy for Europe.
"There will be blood, in the sense that a crisis of this magnitude is bound to increase political as well as economic [conflict]. It is bound to destabilize some countries. It will cause civil wars to break out, that have been dormant. It will topple governments that were moderate and bring in governments that are extreme."

"I was more struck Putin's bluster than his potential to bite, when he spoke at Davos. But he made a really good point, which I keep coming back to. In his speech, he said crises like this will encourage governments to engage in foreign policy aggression."

"European banks are far more leveraged than American banks. I don't see Europe as offering up any particularly good model in any respect. In fact, I think Europe's prospects could get a whole lot worse this year, to the extent that it could be very, very hard indeed to keep the Euro zone together. I think it will be possible because the costs of leaving will be so high. There will be howling anguish, all kinds of pain, conflict between Germans and the others. It's going to get very uncomfortable indeed. No, I wouldn't look to Europe for inspiration."

"The two great zones of conflict in the 20th century were central and eastern Europe, and a critical part of northeast Asia – Manchuria, Korea. It makes me a little nervous that those are also places that are going to take a very heavy share of the pain."
Despite the gloom, Ferguson is dismissive of the prospects of global conflict - no World War III - but doesn't rule out military conflict in Europe. It's at times of crisis that our nation needs to look to its defences, and to our abilities to defend our interests. As Europe's only militarily competent nation, you can bet that when it goes pear-shaped we'll be the first that they cry for help to.


Anonymous said...

"Europe's only military competent nation"

Not sure we are, any more. Under-manned, ill-equipped, a mere memory of former glory and competence.

And don't forget, we don't even manufacture our ammunition any more, it all comes from Belgium. Belgium! Because they'll always be reliable suppliers, whatever happens, oh yeah.

Lions answerable to political donkeys. And not many lions, at that. We won't be able to defend ourselves, never mind anyone else, if real trouble comes.

Anonymous said...

Ferguson shouldn't be taken seriously. He's abandoned honest academic enquiry in favour of showbiz and all his work is geared towards telling right-wing, insular, poorly informed Middle Americans what they want to hear (viz., that Europe is eeeevil because of The Libruhls and that America is superior in every conceivable way).

Look back at his many (many, many, many) predictions over the past nine years and you see a man who has two characteristics:
(1) his predictions are, without exception, wrong.
(2) his predictions conform, without exception, to the worst American stereotypes.

Now, I won't condemn him too much - he's found a niche in the market and he's exploiting it for his own financial and professional advantage and I heartily endorse that. But he's always shown to be wrong in the end and, what's worse, his arguments are generally not based upon the same reality the rest of us live in and always proceed to the same end: America Good, Europe Bad.

subrosa said...

The quality of our military personnel is higher than it's ever been but they are severely constrained by the political posturing and disdain shown to them by successive governments.

Many will be leaving without signing on for more service. It's a nonsense that our forces have no protection - they're not even protected by the Human Rights Act when they're serving overseas.

Budgie said...

Anon 13:40 said..."Ferguson shouldn't be taken seriously."

What, and you should? What is your track record then?

The facts are that our armed forces are smaller than they were - for example we could not mount a Falklands war at the moment. And our equipment procedure, from bullets to aircraft carriers, is riddled with incompetence and subservience to the EU.

Anonymous said...

Go fuck yourself, Budgie. Having met Ferguson on more than one occasion, having listened to several of his papers and having published one academic article on his work, I think I'm a bit better placed to comment on him.

In fact, having ever actually fucking *read* his work at all, I'm a bit better placed to comment on him than you are.

Anonymous said...

England as a competant military force?
riddled with political correctness. A people who dare not upset anyone.
And with built in 7% of persons who will say 'what me' if serious dying started.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:46.

I'm afraid we are. After us the only other nation with an army approaching anywhere near military preparedness is Netherlands.

The Italians always surrender, the French always lose their appetite early on, and the Germans are no longer allowed to fight after sunset.

Budgie said...

Anon 19:35 said..."Go fuck yourself, Budgie. Having met Ferguson on more than one .... blah blah ..."

So you are just a self opinionated jerk who cannot contain either his swearing or his bile? Ferguson is wider read and better respected than you are - get over it.

it's either banned or compulsory said...

Anon said
"And don't forget, we don't even manufacture our ammunition any more, it all comes from Belgium."

That would be the Belgium that denied us supplies during the Falklands war ?

Span Ows said...

Budgie...waste of effort: you'll note he (Anon 19:35) says these things posting as Anon meaning that he/she can say what they like and we'll all just have to assume that it is most probably bullshit.