Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The European project is fundamentally different in purpose than the American. America was conceived of as a more efficient economic integration of a collection of essentially culturally homogenous and peaceful states governed by a free people. Four generations later the built in tensions exploded in an episode of Civil War that is remarkable for how little rancor it left in its wake. The imperfect assimilation of one minority group has however persisted with disastrous consequences.
Europe was designed to coerce cooperation between hostile primitive tribal nation states that had a long history of conflict, that had twice in a quarter century exploded into global war, and who were riven with dozens of unassimilated minorities and irredentist claims. The tool of economic integration was used as a fig leaf to cover the purpose of establishing a power that could defang passionate communities.
The defects of Europeism that Vaclav Klaus decries are not a bug of the system but a feature. One consequence of this for Americans is that we need to understand that despite it's wealth and population on paper the European leg of Nato is designed to be militarily ineffective. The founders of the European Economic Community, Robert Schumann and Paul Henri Spaak must have observed the feckless performance of German troops in Afghanistan and smiled. Unfortunately so has Vladimir Putin and many others.
It is interesting to note that Klaus does not get along at all with Vaclav Havel, whose New Years Speech I linked to 5 threads back in "Opening the package." The Wiki article on Klaus is remarkably open in its bias but gives some background for the dispute.