Speaker 2: Well I think very well in the sense that as you say the manners are excellent, the rhetoric is fine, saying all the right things.  On the other hand we have to remember that it was Bush in his own election campaign who said you know, we are far too interfering with the rest of the world, who are we supposed to tell, who are we to tell other people how to manage their affair so I think there is an enormous bias to this continuing American role.  I mean you know this better than anybody and we have this colossal pentagon even if, you know, I mean I think it is wonderful since it seems to me that military budget is an example of a political system which is really out of control so it is marvelous that Gates has pulled himself together to try to do something about this, but it is very early days it seems to me and you know, it remains to be seen where all this ends up.  As I mentioned I am not sure we have is yet a very realistic notion of what way he can are likely to accomplish in the middle east.  You know, I mean exchanging the Iraq war for a war in Afghanistan, which then sort of casually encompasses Pakistan, you know, is not a very promising direction.  I think we all know the tactical reasons why one thing maybe exchanged for another but the problem is that you get trapped in these things so I think Obama has done very well, but it is early days.  The economic side of all is, I mean the enormous creation of credit will certainly create a big crises for the dollar.  You know, nobody can predict how these things unfold, but there is a kind of overwhelming logic in all of this and the rest of the world doesn’t have the same geopolitical necessity for supporting the dollar as it did during the cold wars, I tried to explain and there are alternatives, I mean obviously not just the Euro, but maybe the [???] I mean who knows or gold.  I mean the things which seemed that was rather preposterous even six months ago, now all of a sudden begin to seem and in some parts of the world, people felt this way for a very long time, but they have been right [???] anybody who switched over to gold a few years ago is feeling very comfortable, which was a quite unique feeling as we know financially in the world.

Speaker 1: Questions from the floor please.  Arguments, disagreements.

Speaker 3: Thank you so much my name is [???] I am a Fulbright scholar from Turkey and I am working for the Assembly of Church [???] Associations. In the morning I had the pleasure of listening to Chris Patton the former commissioner for external affairs EU commissioner and I drew some parallels between your speech here and between his speech.  He gave a very green picture of European politics and he actually listed the mistakes of the EU since the 1990s and your picture of American hegemony and unipolarism isn’t actually very positive as well.  But he said that with a multilateralist at the White House, we Europeans feel much more at ease and much more comfortable about transatlantic relations.  My question to you is do you think that the multilateralism of President Obama even if it is purely in the rhetoric as of now could still have the European union in particular to stabilize its own politics?  Thank you.

Speaker 2: It is an excellent question.  I don’t know what the real answer is, certainly the almost open warfare, which the United States was conducting politically against Europe in the Bush administration particularly after the split over the war in Iraq I think did a lot of damage to Europe.  Whether that was damage that was going to happen for one reason or another.  I mean the fact that Europe is so delighted now and hasn’t really found its you know, it hasn’t jelled after this huge enlargement is there and I suppose lot of things could provoke the consequences of it, but surely it doesn’t help to have the United States abandoning most restraint and openly playing off one group of countries against another and we have always done this, but not [???] brutal fashion.  So the switch to Obama or somebody who has sort of basic good diplomatic manners and realizes that there are limits to how far you should attack, powers that you need sort of basic allies I mean that is certainly an improvement.   How much you know, is hard to know that maybe in some senses we may look back at the Bush administration as the moment when Europe really began to take form that is another way of looking at this.  I mean the American behavior was so outrageous that even the British, I mean even [???] Chris Patton began to act like Europeans as a reaction that certainly didn’t have any positive effects and the [???] may have had some but not many and the negative effects seemed greater but over the longer term you know, it remains to be seen.  Surely at the moment I think what we can see is that the Germans are much more frankly pursuing their own national interest, but what they also see as a European interest and they are by no means as differential than American views and in fact there is a kind of contempt for American views, which maybe has been there all along but which now is heightened.  So you know, it is difficult to know.

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