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I suppose I would summarise my views as follows: The post WW2 US security guarantee to western Europe was invaluable in creating a secure space in which western Europe could recover from the war and also facilitated the development of the fore-runners to the EU.
Increasingly, however, the benefits of that guarantee began to be outweighed by the costs in the form of needlessly exacerbated Cold War and arms race tensions, then Vietnam, and the requirement to be subservient to an increasingly arrogant and imperialist USA throughout the world.
A negotiated end to the Cold War - as opposed to a Soviet implosion - would have included a negotiated end to both NATO and the Warsaw Pact but instead we effectively had a western takeover. Again, this was mostly to be welcomed, but a western capitalism, untrammelled by any fear of socialism, also resulted in a widespread defeat of social democracy and the dominance of Reagan/Thatcher style robber baron capitalism so ably chronicled here as the Anglo disease.
So in some ways the one sided defeat of Communism has also resulted in the one-sided excesses of Capitalism which we are seeing imploding at the moment. My hope is that we will see a more united, cohesive, and assertive Europe emerging from the debris determined to have good relations with both the USA and Russia and pursuing a more sustainable and equitable model of economic, social and economic development.
Smaller nations have no option but to club together to compete with their larger neighbours in a globalising economy and to create a shared security space. However our interests are not always identical and so it is very important that we have a strong and democratic EU where those differences can be thrashed out.
A strong EU needs to promote not just economic and political cooperation, but also military and security policies to ensure they are aligned with their member's interests. So I do see the EU gradually supplanting NATO as the primary guarantor of security in Europe but I appreciate we live in a dangerous world and provided the USA and Russia can continue to behave well and get on with each other I don't have a problem with also having close Treaty relationships with both the US and Russia.
What we don't want, however, is to be caught in the middle if hard-liners in either the US or Russia, or elements in their defence establishment who benefit from increased tensions between them manage to take over again. That is why we need our own independent European defence, security and foreign policy capability to enable us to stand on our own two feet in the world - and not as a dependent subservient partner to any outside power.
notes from no w here
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