Queen Elizabeth II is making history during her current visit to the United States. Let's hope she also is getting some historically close attention both here and abroad.
After becoming the first British monarch to attend an American baseball game, she also became the first one to address a joint meeting of Congress. Though her attendance at the Baltimore Orioles-Oakland A's game seems to have received the greater share of press coverage, it's important to focus on a particularly pointed passage in her remarks to America's lawmakers.Addressing Congress Thursday, the queen spoke of changes unfolding in Europe. As the continent evolves toward greater cohesion, she warned, it must resist isolation. "We must not," she said, "allow ourselves to be enticed into a form of continental insularity. I believe this is particularly important now, at a time of major social, environmental and economic changes in your continent and in Asia and Africa. We must make sure those changes do not become convulsions."
Here's hoping Her Majesty's message was heard in Europe, too - particularly in Paris, where a new prime minister was sworn in this week. A member of the left wing of President Francois Mitterrand's Socialist Party, Edith Cresson is known as a fierce defender of French industry against competition from abroad, notably from Japan and the United States.
Already, Scripps Howard News Service reports, France and its neighbors seem willing to scuttle world trade talks rather than modify their extreme protectionism in agriculture. The Cresson government seems inclined to help build the very Fortress Europe the queen wisely warns against. Maybe Her Majesty should pay a visit to Paris, too.