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the prospect of a strongly armed Germany ready to pursue its interest along the other powers
If we first set aside the prospect of a strongly armed <any nation>, which is scary... Then the prospect of a strongly-armed Germany would only be (specifically) worrisome if that state of affairs spoke to some national need, a sense of pride, identification with military force, etc. But we have no reason to believe in stereotypical militaristic Germans, or in inherited militaristic traits. German militarism was the product of Prussian tradition and the rise of nationalism, to put it broadly. Only those who live in Germany can tell us if there is any risk of a revival. From the outside, it doesn't look like it.
However, we have every reason to want to hold on to what has been achieved by the EU, in terms of linking European economies together to avoid any future possibility of friction and war. When we have (mostly British) commentators airily telling us the EU is a meaningless shell we could throw aside as useless tomorrow, we need to remember the essential point of unity through economic alliance that was at the origin of the EU. If we hold on to that, then a German military force would be integrated in one way or another into a more or less tightly-organised EU force. The opportunities for high-risk behaviour would be lessened.
It often seems to me that the paroxysms of the first half of the twentieth century put an end to the sense of the sacred in our view of our nations in Europe, and that this is now an unchanging acquis. But nothing is unchanging. nanne speaks above of new generations in Germany who may not share the preoccupations of their elders. I was surprised some years ago by a young woman (in fact Belgian, but she had spent all her school years in Oldenburg) telling me with vehemence that German kids were sick and tired of having "all that old stuff about the Nazis and the Jews" stuffed down their throats. The kids she was talking about, her school friends, would now be rising thirty. Of course, (1) this is just an anecdote, (2) schoolkids may well resist pious lessons they feel are forced on them, and (3) there is no necessarily nationalistic or militaristic element there. But rather than run risks, I think we'd be wiser to pursue the "ever-closer union".
When we have (mostly British) commentators airily telling us the EU is a meaningless shell we could throw aside as useless tomorrow, we need to remember the essential point of unity through economic alliance that was at the origin of the EU.
My feeling is that the approach/process Europeans have had to follow in our common quest for peaceful, mutually beneficial economic and regulatory unity is in itself as important as the unity achieved. Decades of long long, slow, patient, time-consuming and often extremely tiresome discussion and negotiation founded on the need to seek consensus while taking different priorities and points of view into account, the habit of seeking common ground and gradually building on it - it is this painstaking process that has enabled the nations of Europe to overcome the deadly rivalries, rancours and mistrusts of centuries. If we as Europeans can really claim to have something to offer the world, a "lesson learned" that others can learn from if they wish, I think this is it.
"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really
worrisome." Mohammed Khatami
i think our greater problem as europeans, and i'm very glad to see it addressed so assiduously here at ET, is the backdoor agreements with america that our secret police forces in many (all?) euro- countries have made.
this feeds into the tinfoil world domination fears we share in our collective unconscious, i believe.
in this respect, england, germany and italy have erred greatly, and the WOT is just not convincing enough to justify it, i think most agree, at least here.
german forces in iraq prewar?
england's shady lurches towards tossing habeus corpus also?
'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
It's all for our own good, and it is done to defend European values and protect us from common threads.
Or something like that. Someone who actually agrees with that should write a diary on the benefits of Atlanticism.
Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
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