Dan Liljenquist: Despite Peace Prize, tensions boiling in Europe


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  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    May 5, 2013 5:40 p.m.

    UT BRIT:

    I know that British people, "Eurosceptics" at least, are not fond of being controlled by regulations from Brussels.

    I know that one British man was jailed several times when he insisted on selling his products using European metric measurements and instead sold by the pound.

    I know that what was touted as a "free trade area" is actually full of internal tariffs and guaranteed prices to protect French farmers and others.

    I know that the British people were given a "referendum" on membership only after they were already a member nation and had already offended their old trading partners (Commonwealth nations under a policy of "Commonwealth preference" and north-west European nations once part of EFTA the European FREE TRADE Association).

    I know that there is a European Parliament with European elections in which individual nations are frequently outvoted by other nations.

    I know that the people of member nations are tired of laws being passed by their politicians to suit "European" ideas and standards.

    I understand that the British UKIP (United Kingdom Independent Party) has recently grown in popularity and is determined to bring the UK out of Europe and return to full national sovereignty.

  • UT Brit London, England
    May 5, 2013 4:35 p.m.


    "being sovereign nations"

    You do realise that members of the EU are sovereign nations right?

    "Might I dare suggest that the United States would even have done well to stay out of WW1 and WW2 and let Europe solve its own problems, as most of the American people wanted."

    The US got involved in both conflicts when they realised it was in their very best interests to do so and not a moment before.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    May 5, 2013 2:26 p.m.

    I've not read Dan's efforts for the DN before and I must say I was sadly disappointed with this piece. In an election not too long ago I favored giving Dan a chance as I desperately wanted (and still do) for Orrin Hatch to be ejected from the nation's Senate.

    What has all this to do with the USA? Haven't we made enough enemies with our superior attitude all over the world, telling other nations none too humbly what they ought to do when we cannot solve our own problems.

    If we're in the mood for opining on European affairs, though, I suggest that maybe it would a good thing for Germany -and the other Europeans nations- currently in the European Union to seriously consider abandoning that micromanaging entity and going back to being sovereign nations. The peace of Europe doesn't require an all-encompassing political-economic union forced its peoples. They fought against that in WW2 surely.

    Might I dare suggest that the United States would even have done well to stay out of WW1 and WW2 and let Europe solve its own problems, as most of the American people wanted.

  • UT Brit London, England
    May 5, 2013 1:08 a.m.


    The French lost more men within four weeks at the beginning of WW2 than were lost in the entire Pacific theatre by the US. They didn't exactly sit it out.

    Let us also not forget the sacrifice of the Russians, without them the liberation of Europe would not have been possible.

  • eagle Provo, UT
    May 4, 2013 10:54 p.m.

    Good stuff generally UtahBlueDevil. And Napoleon generally kicked some trash too. But in World War II the French didn't even last the first quarter...

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 4, 2013 3:58 p.m.

    "France has not won a war in 300 years. It has been saved from destruction several times... ONLY by other nations"

    Box.... you need to re-read history. Twice the French saved our rear ends.... in the revolutionary war they block arided the british so they could not retreat or get reprovisioned, and in the Civil war they again block aided the south so that cotton exports could not get out, and resupplies from the british could not get in. They prevented the british aid that was trying to come in from the Bahamas and Bermuda.

    The French Foreign Legion also held its ground in Africa, held southern France for most of WWII.... and most recently liberated Mali from islamist and was the driving force behind the air shield in Libya.

    So put down your talking points for conservatives.... tune out the blather heads on TV and Radio.... and study real history before you start spewing anti French stuff. American came riding in johnny late in both world conflicts... it is easy to play hero when you wait until the 4th quarter to join the game.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    May 4, 2013 3:37 p.m.

    One problem with austerity is that it most often comes with laying off people. Laying off people has huge ripple effects in the economy. Laid off people don't buy as much. Then that ripples through the economy causing more unemployment and those things ripple and ripple. I think when the economy is down, you probably want to prime the pump. When the economy is going, then look to increase revenues. I don't think why anyone would think austerity would work, it seems obviously counter intuitive especially when after you lay off workers there isn't enough jobs in the private sector to absorb them.

  • box 910 midway, UT
    May 4, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    WAR! War for what?? To decide who has the worst balance sheet? Wars are fought for land or power,but because Germany will not pay off their debt?? France has not won a war in 300 years. It has been saved from destruction several times... ONLY by other nations. No nation in Europe can afford a war . Instead of talking war, they should make every attempt to find out how Germany is controling debt...then bottle it and sell it to the rest of the world.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    May 4, 2013 7:06 a.m.

    I'm still waiting for DN to explain why they are pushing so many op eds from Dan in front of our eyes.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 3, 2013 2:55 p.m.

    Res Novae- I get where you are coming from - I too spend 5 years living there as a youth - and don't disagree with your points. But I think you would find the reflexiveness you speak about far less than you remember, and that US reflexiveness about all things european far greater now.

    Yes, the US throws its weight around from time to time.....tries to tell the world how to do things.... and they don't like it. But I wouldn't categorize it as a dislike for America or Americans... no more than we dislike Texans or New Yorkers.

    But yes... NATO did play a huge part in what is today's Europe... and is still extremely attractive as seen by the continued increase in its membership. Cheers.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    May 3, 2013 1:51 p.m.


    I don't disagree that the EU has connected economies in a way that makes war unthinkable (though admittedly the "unthinkable" has a way of coming around to bite us in the rear sometimes). My position is that without NATO as a stabilizing force, the EU project would never have been possible. When I was young and living in Europe, the old saw was that NATO's purpose was "to keep the Germans down, the Americans in, and the Russians out."

    I don't begrudge them their success (though I'm wary of the slow power grab by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels), a peaceful Europe is a good thing. I'm just a little weary of Euro elites marginalizing the role of NATO, largely because it's dominated by the US. They have difficulty acknowledging that US treasure has been vital to the EU project because that uncomfortable fact rests against their reflexive anti-Americanism. I see the Nobel Committee's decision in that light, giving the EU the credit for peace without a word about NATO. Just a pet peeve of mine as someone who grew up in Europe as the son of a serviceman in NATO command.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 3, 2013 12:52 p.m.

    "And for whatever it's worth, the Nobel Prize Committee missed the boat. Credit for the peace in Europe for the last 65+ years should go to NATO, not the EU."

    This is only partially correct. Yes, NATO stopped the wars... and blunted the soviet block threat. But it is not what is keeping the peace in Europe. Right now, Spaniards who are desperate to work, can legally now move to any other EU country and obtain legal work there. They can likewise go to other countries for school. Their medical care coverage is portable across counties. It gives those in the nations hardest hit options, where as in the depression leading up to WWII, there was no options.

    EU isn't perfect... never will be. But the wars that plagued europe for generations are gone. People can cross boarders without any papers needed. French and Germans now collaborate on huge projects like AIrBus. WIth out the EU, europe would be in a far larger mess.

    Europe being successful shouldn't hurt our feelings.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 3, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    Repubs may yell the loudest. They may try to emulate their am radio heros. But it doesn't make what they say right.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    May 3, 2013 5:17 a.m.

    Roland hits the nail on the head. Many of Europe's problems have to do with a single currency trying to fit a range of national economies whose leaders have no control to set monetary policy for their countries. It's a one size doesn't fit all problem. Putting the blame on socialism alone ignores the fact that Germany and the rest of northern Europe is also left-leaning, yet they're the ones funding the bailouts of southern Europe.

    Before someone jumps all over my argument, my primary source of info on Europe's economy is that well-known leftist rag "The Economist".

    And for whatever it's worth, the Nobel Prize Committee missed the boat. Credit for the peace in Europe for the last 65+ years should go to NATO, not the EU.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 2, 2013 5:44 p.m.

    Dan wrote a ridiculous article a few weeks ago. And followed it up with this pathetic not even Wikipedia worthy analysis of Europe. I guess Dan might think that he is arousing the base that will vote for him anyway but he is turning the rest of us off. He will never get my vote.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    May 2, 2013 5:34 p.m.

    What is truly remarkable about Europe and the European Union is that they're still together.

    If Utah or Texas or any of the red US states faced the kind of economic problems Spain faces as being part of the Euro pact, they would have seceeded long, long ago. Imagine large, powerful US states demanding economic policies that resulted in 50% youth unemployment in smaller states like Utah. We would have bolted and not looked back.

    The political backlash in Europe against austerity and being hamstrung is completely understandable. It's a little more puzzling why the Austerians in the US haven't come around to the reality that their economic orthodoxy has been so battered, both in theory (in a most humiliating way, an Excel error!) and reality (with the UK entering the 3rd valley in what a triple dip recession).

    News for the Austerians and the simple minded: An economy is more complicated than a family budget. In a household you can cut spending and increase savings. In an economy, my spending is your income, and your spending is my income. If we all cut spending together, guess what - economies contract.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 2, 2013 4:36 p.m.

    "I am not sure the Nobel Committee would be as quick with its praise today."

    I am floored by this. Disagreements on policy are a far cry from the wars that raged across europe for more than 1,000 years.... resulting in the deaths of millions. Europe is enjoying historical stability and safety.

    Euro bashing - really?....

    2000 - 2002 - The euro traded in a narrow range, between $.87-.99, rarely breaking above a dollar, until it was officially launched as a currency. Until 2002, it was used only for electronic transactions. 2002 - 2008 - The euro rose 63% in just six years the U.S. debt grew 60%. In January 2002, a euro was worth a little more than $.90. By the end of 2007, its value had skyrocketed to $1.4718. Thats right, the Euro beat the dollar during every year of the "conservative" administration. Current value is about $1.31... its current trading range for the last 5 years.

    So Dan.. they are called facts... Europe isn't falling apart. Its currency is doing just fine. Take the blinders off. Not everything they do is right, but neither is everything wrong.

  • Mark B Eureka, CA
    May 2, 2013 3:15 p.m.

    There's no more reason to believe Dan L's analysis of European economies or his dark forecast hinting of future war than there would be to believe a Hungarian (former) office holder making predictions about Wall Street. Please, DN, ask him to make his comments about something he's more likely to know something about. All I can discern of his European expertise is that he has a Scandinavian last name. And the forecast of war he hints at is highly unlikely.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2013 3:11 p.m.

    Have we no collective memory at all? Let's look back a few years to see the origins of this crisis. American banks marketed a bunch of shaky securities (e.g. mortgage backed securities) which they knew full well were bogus. They aggressively marketed them in Europe where they sold well. With the collapse of the housing bubble in the U.S. these securities were discovered to be essentially worthless. This spread the U.S. recession to Europe, thank you very much. Europe's difficulties are a gift from American capitalists. Of course, in Liljenquist's world capital is never to blame and socialists are always to blame. His world view does not fit historical fact. What's the "cure" according to guys like Liljenquist? Austerity for the lower classes and exoneration for the wealthy.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    May 2, 2013 2:58 p.m.

    "After multi-billion dollar shortfalls in recent years, the CA's state budget has finally straightened out. California expects to take in $2.4 billion more in revenue than it will spend this fiscal year, which ends June 30. After paying off a shortfall from last year and setting aside funds for upcoming obligations, it's on track to end the year with a $36 million surplus.

    What prompted the turnaround?
    Three things: Major spending cuts over the last few years, big tax increases approved by voters in November and general improvement in the economy."
    (CNN Money Feb 2013)

    That said, like many other states CA still faces longer term issues related to state employee retirement and pensions)

    CA is an example of how modest spending controls, tax increases and an improving economy, elements of a three-legged stool, will help reduce budget deficits.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    May 2, 2013 2:14 p.m.

    "Europe is in a full-blown economic crisis, with high unemployment, huge entitlement programs and massive sovereign debt"

    Socialism is great isn't it. Yes sir with Socialism, fairness is the name of the game. So ...to be fair ...Socialism makes everybody poor and desperate. Pay no attention to what is happening in Europe because that could never happen here in the US...right? Hope n change ...what a farce...what a tragedy for the once great US.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    May 2, 2013 12:15 p.m.


    What planet are you living on? California expects to take in $2.4 billion more in revenue than it will spend this fiscal year. After repaying last year's shortfall and setting aside funds for upcoming obligations, it's on track to end the year with a $36 million surplus.
    California has turned around its problems through growth AND by raising taxes.

    If I were you, I would be worried more about the future of Utah, with its inferior educational system, than California.

  • Timpshadow Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 2, 2013 11:34 a.m.

    Nuances aside, Dan is telling it like it is.

    But why look to Europe? I hope all the nay-sayers are ready to open their pocket-books to bail California out. As a California ex-pat, I am embarrassed by that state's fiscal irresponsibility. With the 8th largest economy in the world, California should be able to pay its own way, not be $400B in debt.

    I lived in Finland and it's a beautiful country. But there are things about it that I did not much like, such as the early channeling of students (age 14-15) into various career tracks. It's naive to compare a country of 5M people, roughly the size of Idaho, and a very homogeneous demographic to countries with a much larger and more diverse population. Also, Finland is basically a one-company economy. Nokia, contributed 25% to Finland's economic growth between 1998 and 2007. Now that Nokia is in decline, we will see how well Finland's economy fares.

  • UT Brit London, England
    May 2, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    "If they do so, and the rest of Europe retaliates with economic sanctions, it could easily lead to war."

    Someone who was in the senate wrote this? This is the best Utah has to offer?

    Germany benefits a lot with the Euro being the way it is right now. Leaving the EU would be suicide for Germany.

    I work for a large multi national and work with teams in Germany, France and the US. I would not say the US is more productive than the other teams and vice versa. I must say though with the hours the US team says they work I am very surprised they don't have more done.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2013 10:26 a.m.

    No Dan, it is capitalism itself that is rotting from the inside, insisting on austeritiy for the masses when it is not necessary. This is just capitalism doing its thing, punishing the working class, and at the same time working for its own destruction. This debate will become a whole lot more hot and evident in the years ahead. I expect I will be confronting Dan and otheres of his ilk in the future.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 2, 2013 10:25 a.m.

    Of course it's all socialism's fault. Completely left out of the discussion is the role of the Euro. You have highly productive countries like Germany and Finland joined in the same currency as low productivity countries like Greece, Spain, and Italy. France is somewhere in the middle. If each of these countries had their own currency, the less productive country's currencies would naturally decline relative to the others, making their products cheaper and imports more expensive. This is how trade and currency has always worked, but the Euro circumvents that.

    Also left out of the discussion is the fact that Europe's most socialized countries, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are all doing fine economically, and all have national debts at very reasonable levels.

    Spain, Portugal and Ireland were all well managed, with low debt levels, prior to the crisis of 2008. It has been the financial crisis,as well as their inability to respond by controlling their own currency, that has put them in crisis. Greece and Italy are different, they are, in large part, responsible for their current troubles.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    May 2, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    The austerity program of EU has utterly failed, as predicted by evidence-driven economists as opposed to the knee-jerk ideologues of the Right. By depriving people of income, the Euro economy has sagged? Surprise!
    Gov't has a responsibility to stimulate the economy in bad times. That's econ 101, Dan, everywhere except at the Chicago School where you got educated.
    Also, German worker law prohibits exploiting workers the way we do here. No German company can force a person to work more than 8 hours a day and Germans get 20% more vacation time than Americans do.

  • Int'l Businessman SLO, CA
    May 2, 2013 10:02 a.m.

    "Devaluing the Euro will harm the notoriously thrifty German citizens who work hard and save their Euros. German workers don't have a 35-hour workweek. German workers don't get five weeks of guaranteed paid vacation a year. Why should Germans be required to subsidize the French way of life? "

    I realize actually being a business person (rather than a politician sitting in SLC) who has operations with employees in France and Germany probably disqualifies me from bloviating on this subject, but Mr. Liljenquist's assertion that Germans work harder than the French is dead wrong. According to Mercer, even though the work week is shorter in France, French workers actually work more hours per year than German workers (U.S. workers work the most hours on average). There are a lot of reasons for differing economic conditions in Germany and France, but the French being lazy, as Mr. Liljenquist implies, is not one of them.

  • Cameron Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 2, 2013 10:00 a.m.

    So France upped spending and raised taxes...and they're economy got worse? Whodu thunk?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 2, 2013 8:07 a.m.

    So apparently Dan hasn't read the story about those 2 Harvard professors being proven wrong. Apparently he is unaware that their debt equation was found riddled with errors in their spreadsheets. Apparently Dan is still advocating austerity or some doomsday will still occur despite what we now know.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    May 2, 2013 6:01 a.m.

    What if they gave a war and nobody came?