Monday, December 16, 2002

A Joke: There is a political cartoon from the 1960s showing a coiffed poodle (France) wearing a medal around its neck that reads "Common Market." A scrappy little bulldog (Great Britain) sits at the poodle's feet in a position of begging. The caption has the poodle saying, "It's not that common." Yeah, it's hard to tell a visual joke, but it's worth mentioning, since the EU is still sniffing at Turkey's desire to join. To Britain's credit, the bulldog hasn't forgotten the old days, and has pushed gently for a reconsideration of Turkey as an EU member. Meanwhile, de facto Turkish President Erdogan has asked the US for consideration in NAFTA. If the Europeans are going to continue to stiff arm the Turks, we should not leave them out in the cold. Turkey has the strongest and most diverse economy in the Muslim world, the most stable (and pro-western) government, and the best prospects for a 21st century that doesn't resemble the 13th. With this move, the originally provincial NAFTA could plant a foot firmly in Europe, with a toehold in western Asia. Turkey's neighbors in western Asia, the formerly cosmopolitan, educated, and middle-class nations of Iran and Iraq, may soon end their battles with insular tyranny, not to mention the disaster of central planning that tyranny always brings in its entourage. When that happens, sign them up for NAFTA, too. Our common market is that common. After all, we started it, and god knows the poodle would sniff at us, too, if we wanted to join.

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