Monday, June 06, 2005

More on the eurozone

Here's some more on what might be the outcome of the vote against the EU constitution. Telegraph | Opinion | EU dreamers get a reality check - what's in store for Italian euros? It has raised the possibility that Europe might not be the "all for one and one for all" that it has been touted to be. It all could open up an era of intense national rivalry because "those French really could never be trusted anyway."

This reminds me of a talk I heard on C-Span when I was in the US a while back. The fellow, whose name I cannot now remember, was arguing that the EU was a way of dealing with the rift between the Romanic (I know, I know, but I can't bring myself to write "Romantic;" seems too confusing) and Germanic peoples of Europe. It was the rivalry between the two, he says, that has created all the problems of Europe of the past centuries. The EU was meant to mend the rift. His problem with it though was that that mending took place on the basis of economic interests and was not cultural. In other words, the divide was to be bridge on the basis of self interest not on any cultural basis. He thought that they got it backwards. Work on a cultural union and then move to economics. That of course would be the hardest to do but he thought it would have been the only effective way to do it. That they based it on economics ultimately dooms the EU, he thinks.

The problem is that culture will not down so easily and that has a lot to say about what is happening with the war on terrorism or the fight against corruption in many governments around the world including here. Culture does not down so easily and it is typically a Western conceit to think that just paying someone more or getting them a TV set or a new car--to buy them off-- will somehow get them to submerge what is a cultural tendency to the good of the whole. The West says that that is all it takes. And a lot rides one whether it is right. I think it isn't.

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