You can tell a lot about a country from its money.
The U.S. dollar, for example, is the unofficial reserve currency of the planet. Countries stockpile tens of millions of dollars to have on hand in case of an emergency. And our dollar bills feature portraits of great men, including Washington, Lincoln and Franklin.
The British pound is also a serious currency. The two-pound coin includes Isaac Newton’s famous quote reminding present generations that we are “standing on the shoulders of giants.” Pound bills celebrate other great Brits of the past.
Not so with the single European currency, the Euro. Its notes feature lovely pictures of bridges and arches—but they’re not real. The European Union had an artist draw pretend landmarks to feature on its currency, so it wouldn’t seem to be favoring one country’s actual bridges over another’s.
But the EU is about to get an injection of real money.
Billionaire George Soros (who, ironically, made much of his fortune by attacking the British pound) plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in foundations that will attempt to build the EU into a true international powerhouse. “The European Union has a mission: the spread of peace, freedom and democracy,” Soros told the British publication Thebusinessonline.com. “The practical message for Europeans is that the world really needs a strong European union with a mission which is different to America’s priorities.”
Good luck, George. First of all, the EU isn’t dedicated to democracy; it’s distinctly anti-democratic. Just last year, the Dutch and the French voted overwhelmingly to reject the proposed EU constitution. But the EU’s bureaucrats won’t take no for an answer.
“We note that after the ‘non’ of France and the ‘nee’ of the Netherlands, the date of 1 November 2006 initially foreseen for ratification is no longer tenable,” Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg, announced, “as those [states] that have not ratified [the constitution] are not in a position to provide the necessary answer before mid-2007.” In other words, we European leaders know what the “necessary answer” is. Whether voters like that or not, they’re going to get that answer.
Even if the EU could somehow be turned into a democratic powerhouse, Soros wants it to solve a non-existent problem. “The attitude of the Bush administration has had disastrous consequences,” he claims. “The world needs an alternative.” But that ignores the fact that the U.S. is the greatest force for good the world has ever known.