The Weekend Read
Give Me Peace Or Give Me Death

Ukraine could very well decide the future of Europe: there EU leaders must decide what they are fighting for.

Published on: March 29, 2014
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  • free_agent

    Dunno… It seems to me that the European ideal is a world where nobody has to fight and die for anything (because Americans are prepared to fight and die, and more particularly, are willing to rain H bombs on the offender). The author writes, “if it has an ideology, it is a patently
    pedestrian ideology of economic security.” Could the bourgeoisie ask for anything better? Not that that is so much different from the US, except that in the US, the bourgeoisie are willing to hire deep-Red types and poor people to fight and die (and in reality, everybody seems to be OK with that).

    • Jim__L

      US military recruiters are having a hard time filling their quotas these days.

      I wonder if the new showering arrangements have anything to do with it…

  • Andrew Allison

    “The contrast between Europe and the United States was frequently cited at the conference, and it is helpful to compare the two. In the United States there is a clear national sense of what it is we stand for and those ideals for which we will fight.” Surely you jest?

    • Corlyss

      The author appears to be confused. The US model was referred to as an example of distinct and separate states uniting for a common objective, as if NY equated to England and California equated to France. The founders of the EU were so bedazzled by the scant few similarities that they ignored all the ways in which their superficial and incompetent analogy failed to reflect reality.

    • Jim__L

      I would not encourage my sons to fight for the promulgation of the values of the current American regime.

      • Andrew Allison

        A country gets the regime it elects :<(

  • Pete

    1. “Are there any values today that Europe is willing to fight for?”

    Sure there are — six week vacations, retirement at 55-years of age, ‘free’ health care, and freedom for providing for their defense to name a few.

    2. “’To die for one’s country and for Europe’—that is a phrase that could not be thought in Moscow or Leningrad;”

    Nor in America! But the Europeans and our domestic neocons expect Americans to die for Europe —- yet again. No dice.

    3. And for Timmy Snyder’s edification, the true danger to Europe’s identity does not come from what Russian does in the Ukraine or the rest of Eastern Europe. It comes Muslim immigration and high Muslim birthrates in Europe coupled with the multiculturalism folly of its elite.

  • Anthony

    The weekend read ponders a specifically European tradition, a distinct political and cultural unit (beyond commercial/economic prosperity). Does historically such a tradition exist? The ability of the continent to co-operate and the way which its divisions either facilitate or mitigate the primary characteristics (actionable behavior towards forging…) envisioned by essay’s author frame Western Europe’s challenge vis-a-vis Ukrainian East/West dilemma. The above essay may compel one to ask is there a changing climate of opinion (a common set of ideals and beliefs) which contravenes historical forces embedded both geographically and culturally? Perhaps, lost in fog is how unusual the phrase “constructed and inhabited by men aware of their great trust and their great responsibilities” remains.

    • Jim__L

      In a word, Christendom.

      This is gone, so why should it surprise anyone that Europe is going?

      • Anthony

        Let’s hope not.

        • Jim__L

          I hope it can be renewed.

          There isn’t much hope to be had, out of current political and social trends. They’re as atheistic as they come.

          • Anthony

            I am not as pessimistic but will stay tuned (and contribute when and where to the sunnier side).

      • Corlyss

        Was there anything as cohesive as “Christendom” after the Reformation?

        • Jim__L

          It depends on the scope you choose. Vis a vis those outside Europe, “Christian” was still a unifying concept. Inside Europe, nationalism (arguably the driving force of German violence against Italian domination) would tear the continent apart for centuries.

    • Andrew Allison

      “Does historically such a tradition exist?” Clearly not, and, as the inability create a real monetary union demonstrates, the climate is not changing. After 30 years, national interests still trump “European” interests, and will for the foreseeable future. We are fortunate to live in the only major melting pot that I’m aware of, and it is showing disturbing signs of tribalism.

    • Corlyss

      “Does historically such a tradition exist?”

      Not to the extent the founder of the EU contemplate. The HRE covered only a part of what the EU aspires to. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Roman_Empire
      Robert Kaplan spoke 13 years ago of the threat that Europe would once again divide along the lines of the HRE and the Ottoman Empire.

  • Fat_Man

    As long as the Euros do it on their own nickel and with their own soldiers. By both paying for and conducting their defense for the past 65 years, we have transformed them into the defense equivalent of welfare queens.

    Europe is united, prosperous, and free. They should conduct and pay for their own defense and their own foreign policy. The US should cooperate and sell to them advanced technology, and the US and Europe should work together on things like missile defense. But these should be as equals, not the US playing sugar daddy.

  • BobSykes

    Snyder is delusional, as is every one of the leaders of the US/EU. Both NATO and the US military are hollow shells that are incapable defending themselves except on their home territories. They exist because Russia and China lack the means to get to them.

  • Corlyss

    Europe as a viable substitute for the nation-state never was anything but a Utopian delusion, which always involves a refusal to acknowledge the persistence of human nature. The delusion counts on dinosaurs transforming into Birds of Paradise in one generation. It’s been nigh onto 3 generations now and the Ignoble Experiment has been unraveling since Bosnia. It’s time to acknowledge the facts and stop lying about its failure.

    • Jim__L

      Citizens of a state have to persuade themselves (accurately or not) that they and their fellow citizens are a Union of Right-Thinking Individuals. You can’t have both Germans and Greeks under one government — each thinks that the other is so far wrong, they can’t apply positive stereotypes to one another.

      Positive stereotypes are critical, because without positive stereotypes (which as I said, can be accurate or not) negative stereotypes (typically exaggerated to the point of falsehood) creep in to polarize and destroy.

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