Friday, June 4, 2010

Foreign Updates: Iraqi Elections, the Decline of the Euro, and Italian Crucifixes in Schools

Iraqi Elections
Iraq’s election commission has certified the results of its parliamentary elections. The party of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Sunni Muslim, won two more seats than the party of incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a secular Shi’ite Muslim, with neither attaining a majority. Maliki had alleged fraud, but none was found, meaning that the Iraqi elections were fair. A coalition will have to be formed in order for a prime minister to form a government.

As I observed in April, the minority Sunnis participated in the elections as never before, which led to a record voter turnout. Many of them voted for Allawi instead of boycotting the elections again and allowing the majority Shi’ites to dominate Iraqi politics. The close results because of the greater number of Sunnis coming out to vote hardly appear to represent a public repudiation of Maliki, who is credited with defeating the militant Muslim insurgency. Maliki, or at least his party, could even join in a secular Shi’ite-Sunni governing coalition. Indeed, the elections results demonstrate the clear rejection by Iraqi voters of militant religious parties such as pro-Iranian Shi’ite parties or pro-al-Qaeda Sunni parties.

The Decline of the Euro
The euro has lost 25% of its value from its high and is now barely worth more than its original value established in 1999 as a rival to the U.S. dollar. Since my last update in May, there continues to be much discussion about the possible contraction of the European Monetary Union (EMU) through the elimination of members like Greece or even the dissolution of the union entirely and abolishment of the euro. The experiment of a single currency without a single monetary policy has been revealed as a mistake by European centralizers who do not respect the sovereignty of diverse states which they encouraged to surrender their sovereign right as states over their own monetary policy to the EMU, but failed to account for different fiscal policies, some of which, like Greece’s overspending, undermine the foundation of the monetary union. The European centralizers apparently assumed, based on their political idealogy, that all of the member states were alike and therefore would adopt similar economic policies, which, for example, failed to recognize the different lifestyle of the southern Mediterranean.

Italian Crucifixes in Schools
The Second Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Italy violated the European Council’s Convention of Human Rights in keeping Crucifixes in its schools, the Philadelphia Bulletin reported. The ruling overturns that of the Italian courts that they could remain. According to the Bulletin, the Court concluded that a Crucifix, a symbol of Jesus, Who is revered even by many non-Christians, constitutes indoctrination into Christianity. The secular European centralizers thus are not only violating the sovereignty of overwhelmingly Catholic Italy, where parties on both the right and left of the state formerly ruled by totalitarian Fascists understand the necessity of acknowledging that human rights come not from the state, but from God, but undermining the very foundation of liberty.

As I have noted in previous updates, this case demonstrates the many dangers of European centralization. The European experiment of federalism is failing compared to the American experiment of federalism, despite the ever-growing centralization of the American federal government. The American system depends upon the shared beliefs by its member states in the American Creed, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, that men’s rights come from their Creator, but with a respect for the diversity of those states. The European system fails to acknowledge that Christianity – not simply “Europeanness” – is the unitive force in Western Civilization, despite the even greater diversity between European states.

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