January 10, 2007

The Peace Myth

Arguing about the EU at Voting TakTiX and the peace myth has come up again as a reason for the EU, that the EU has kept europe without war since World War 2. Why do people always reach for this canard? Since there has not been peace in Europe this tends to actually be code for saying that the EU has stopped Germany from attacking France. Obviously there can be no other reason that a country whose "constitution clearly forbids an involvement in proactive warring activity", according to Germany's former president Gerhard Schroeder, would not attack the country that spends the most on defence in the entire EU. Or conversly there can be no reason other than the EU why France would not attack a pacifist country which happens to be supported up by the most powerful defensive alliance the world has ever seen. Which brings me neatly along to the giant, green, glowing, three eyed elephant in the room, atomic weaponry.

For most of the time since World War Two there where two great military behemoths facing each other down with enough firepower to wipe out human civilisation off face of the planet. They almost came to blows several times and had anybody in central Europe been stupid enough to try a bit of military adventuring they certainly would have. This everybody knew and since Armageddon isn't a vote winner, outside of certain religious circles, nobody was willing to try it. Anybody outside these alliances where treated as disposable so long as the ballance of power was not disturbed. Thankfully that situation did not last forever but while the USSR fell apart NATO didn't. Most of western Europe is still part of it so if any country in western Europe is attacked NATO is still obliged to reduce the aggressor to dust and rubble. NATO is the reason for peace in western Europe. You can only loose a war where the other side is willing to use nukes.

But what about the rest of Europe which the EU now covers?

Well much of Eastern Europe has decided to snuggle up in the warm and inviting atmosphere of NATO's fall out shelter. This includes both parts of what was Czechoslovakia, a country that had tried to liberalise during the Prague Spring, only to have it crushed by a soviet invasion which the west was to frightened by soviet nukes to oppose, like crushing of the hungarian revolution of 1956 before it. And then there is what was once know as Yugoslavia, which is also covered in the EU Referendum's summary of the Peace Myth

the actual creation of a European Union in the Treaty of Maastricht coincided with the break-up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. While the EU’s influence on events in the former USSR was strictly limited, in the former Yugoslavia it played a baneful part: by trying to construct a common foreign policy through encouraging Serbia under Milosevic to keep the “country” together at whatever cost and by imposing an arms ban on all the other participants, the EU helped to prolong the war and increase the number of victims. Fierce hostilities and massacres were taking place on European soil once again as the European Union was entering what was perceived to be the final stage of integration and, as expected, it was NATO, led by the Americans that imposed some kind of a temporary solution.

There was the EU trying to keep together an undemocratic, artificial country, composed of a plurality of ethnic groups speaking different languages and all with a long history of killing each other. Plus it had to deal with Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was initially thought a european problem to be dealt with by the europeans, so various european countries ended up bumbling around under UN auspices being at best inifectual and at worst facilitating the largest mass murder in Europe since World War II. It passed beyond a civil war and into an anarchy where people would litterally change sides by changing their hats depending on which side offered the best opportunities that day. Eventually everybody was so sick of the fighting that a peace could be negoniated (brokered by the Americans), NATO stepped in, and finally the mess slowly resolved itself.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You miss an important point, the EU did not come about just to prevent war, it is the direct result of the Cold War/ hot peace that clouded Europe for decades. The US pushed Western European countires to work together. It was unable to impose such conditions as the USSR was able to on its half of the contienent.
A strong, rich Europe was as much a benefit to the US as to Western Europe. Economic strength is vital for military strength....and that economic strength played a crucial role in ending the Cold War. The USA has beenfited just as much from the EU.....a large market for US goods (USA-EU trade is the largest in the world).

A second factor is that the EU has played an importnant role in stabilsing the region. After the US backed military junta came to an end in Greece, the Greeks being very peed off, threatened to leave NATO, opening up the southern flank of the Alliance. As many EU states were also members of NATO, it was decided to give Greece EU membership as an incentive to stay in NATO, giving lots of money and helping to support a new democratic nation.

THe same again happened in 1986 with membership of Spain and Portugal. Both NATO members, both poor, both former dictorships. Hard to belive both countires were former dictorships!

Finally, as we are on the Cold War, look what has happned to the economies of the former Soviet Union...the ones that wanted and have now got EU membership were required to jump through hoops, follow regulations apply the rule of law, human rights, free-markets....bascially all the things that we take for granted. Those that had a chanve to join have done well, and while they may have done just as well without this 'red tape', they would not have been the modern democraitc free-market countiers. Comapare the Eastern Bloc that joined the EU and those that have not....Belarus, the Caucuses, the -stans....those that are doing well are still despotic regimes dependent on oil....nothing more than fomer CCCP Saudi Arabias!

Instead of linking to blogs all the time, why not try doing some historical research. I would put the links up myself, but I have better things to do with my time. All this inofirmantion is avaiable in history books in the library, but they wont start with titles like 'The EU is Hitlers Baby' and 'How the EU eats Kittens'!

1:26 pm  
Blogger chris said...

So the USA was able to use the EU as a pawn in its game against the soviets to maintain NATO, a carrot to dangle. Just as we where supposed to be a pawn for it to use to make the EU what it isn't. Take away the EU and it would have just used another carrot, NATO was to important to it keeping the peaceful balance of power with the soviets. NATO was what was important not whatever carrots and sticks where used to maintain it.

9:18 pm  

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