Tuesday, July 20, 2004
A Fundamental Divide
Tony Blankley, writing in Townhall, comments on a recent article by Kissinger, concerning the differences between Europe and the rest of the world. Kissinger has argued that the "erosion of the nation state" within the European Union and the embedding of these values within public opinion (to the unreasonable extent that war is no longer viewed as a tool of foreign policy), supports an international order where states are subordinated to supranational laws and institutions. Since this international order strikes at the heart of current conceptions of foreign policy, whether under Bush or Kerry, it poses a fundamental difference between the European Union and the rest of the world, not just the United States.
Leaving the position of Great Britain aside in the struggle of these misconceptions:
But, of course, Blair supported both Bush and Clinton out of calculations of British national interest -- not for good fellowship's sake. As Lord Palmerston explained the classic British foreign policy maxim: Britain has no permanent friends, only permanent interests. And so it has been for all nations and alliances. Since WWII, British foreign policy has been premised on being Europe's best friend to America, and America's best friend to Europe -- thus maximizing her influence in both quarters.
although Blankley is sorely misconceived about Blair's role, we can see that the majority of states conform to Kissinger's definition of state actors that act in their own interests, whether as nation-states, or as elite kleptocracies. If the European Union does obtain support, it is because smaller state actors are bribed and regional constellations view the emergence of the EU in traditional terms as the rise of a possible counterweight to the US.
Blankley's article provides an insight into one narrative on the continued development of the European Union: that of the New World Order. There is plenty of evidence to show that the European publics prefer butter to guns and support a risk-averse foreign policy that undermines any actions that smack of militarism. However, public opinion in Europe is not as susceptible to elite persuasion as many argue, and the current generation have passed through terrorist campaigns whilst altering their views, through the rise of the environmentalist/peace political complex.
If one looks at the public pronouncements of European politicians advocating a role for Europe, this is often cast in realist terms as a rising power providing support for other states in a multipolar world as a 'counterweight' to the United States. Disguised in a hypocritical concern for international law, the political elites of Europe are insulating themselves from democracy through Weberian institutions, cast in the Bureaucratic-rational mode, disenfranchising their pacifistic publics, and wondering how to gain financial muscle, whilst their armies devolve into the Home Guard. This is one circle that cannot be squared.
(23.12, 19th July 2004)


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