Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Ukraine and the EU

This fellow says that EU expansion to include Ukraine and others is dead: A good crisis for the EU. Let's hope not but it doesn't look good right now.

On relations with the US, he claims

But despite the threat from Burns [US undersecretary of state and former NATO ambassador], common sense says that the United States is not going to get what it wants, a submissive European Union. The Europeans are divided on the issue, of course, but perhaps less than Washington thinks.

The "force" - so to speak - is with the people who want an autonomous Europe, a counterweight to the United States. This is because they are acting from the primordial impulse of a society to affirm identity and independence.

Otherwise known as nationalism, this impulse is the one that in France and the Netherlands defeated an expansion that would put an end to the European possibility to act independently.

One would imagine that ultimately the force will prevail.

But nationalism towards one's own country does not necessarily translate into nationalism towards the EU. The EU has nothing capable of capturing the loyalty of the different cultures of Europe, outside an economic claim which has not amounted to too much in recent years. (Europe, at least old Europe, has suffered economic stagnation for the past few years.) There are historical animosities that still remain in Europe that have been papered over by the cobbling together of the EU. To put it bluntly, the French are not necessarily "appreciated" in Europe either. And France raised the spector of the Polish plumber--it wasn't foreign plumbers--coming in to take jobs from the natives in run-up to the vote on the constitution.

The collapse of the constitution could expose these old animosities and rivalries. These sorts of things do not down so easily.

That of course would not be a good thing.


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