|| Shame; it was a nice planet
||Nov. 3rd, 2004 08:53 am|
Short of a comet strike (and Bush is God's buddy, remember) it looks like another 4 years of the thief-in-chief. If this really is the case it's down to those of us in other nations to direct our own governments in a path that can mitigate this damage.
This means, in the UK, bringing in a government that will not act like the 51st state, but one that will fully engage in Europe in order to make that continent a genuine superpower; one that has sufficient military might, commercial power and internal cohesion not to directly combat the US, but to be able to direct and execute its own agenda irrespective of US action.
This will mean some major changes in both the UK government (ie, greater support for our one integrationist party) and in the operations of the EU (ie, greater power of the EU parliament over the Commission and Council, removal of vetos) and a bit of bloody political maturity. I'm of the firm belief that this requires proportional representation in both national and supranational elections, as this leads to more rational political discussion and a greater feeling of enfranchisement that first-past-the-post (or, for that matter, the utterly absurd two-tier first-past-the-post that we're watching with dismay in the US.)
The baton has been dropped; if we don't pick it up we cannot be satisfied to blame others for the path the world takes.
I wasn't looking at my US media sources (all they've got right now is the election, the war, and the new season of The Simpsons). I was looking at my history books, and the several hundred years' mutual antagonisms between, oh, say, France and Germany, England and Germany, England and France (that's one of the REALLY big ones), France and Austria, Italy and hmmm... the rest of Italy :-)... [any ethnic or national group in the Balkans] and [any other Balkan group], Turkey (which you could argue is actually Asian rather than European) and Greece, Poland and Russia, Germany and Russia, etc., etc. You know, a hundred years ago isn't all that long in the overall scheme of human history, and a hundred years ago England was still the aloof master player, cagily playing Germany and Austria off France and Russia, trying to keep them antagonistic but not to the point of war whilst not quite allying with either bunch. There's a WHOLE lot of historical/cultural "baggage" that suggests, as far as European unity goes, (to use a quaint Suthuh'nism) "That dog won't hunt!"
Yes, 20 years ago Germany was divided and the Iron Curtain had Europe split in half. 60 years ago was WW2 and the US and USSR were allies, and France and Germany were at war. Now we have a European Union with France and Germany closely at its heart and a constant post-war record of closer economic and social union. Leaving aside the abberations of Thatcher and de Gaulle we'd probably have the system I envisage already.
History accelerates. Europe evolves in timescales of decades or less, and the antagonisms you list are (with the clear exception of the Balkan states) little more than ancient history. To claim that the European political class cannot overcome or work around them in the short-to-medium term is frankly ludicrous. There is, frankly, very little work left to do; we're not seeking a federal system in the US mould, but a co-operative union for which all the groundwork is already in place.
I will concede the argument to the man on the scene. Back to the studio. :-)