30 March 2007

EU Observer - Joschka Fischer speech

Dear readers,

Here is another excellent comment from the EU Observer about the latest speech from German ex-Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer. Fischer will certainly be sorely missed as a Foreign Minister, as his ideas, strong will and imagination were behind some of the best pages of European recent History. Unfortunately, this time, the new Princeton Professor is more playing the role of Cassandra. And rightly so, I could add.

While I would advise you to read the full article, there is I think one point which is absolutely central to Fischer's "prediction" and that I think any European citizen should know about. He says that if the EU has not at least partly settled its institutional problem by the end of 2009, it will most probably be too late. At that time, the quick strengthening of the other major powers (China, India and in a lesser way the USA and Russia) will have render us irrelevant. Europea is already a very secondary player in world politics, not because it is less important, sizable or economically powerful, but simply because it will have become a playground for the other powers. We all know what this means. Europe was forced to be a playground after Second World War and during the Cold War, because it had no political unity and no own military power. After 1989, we got a window of opportunity to create this political unity, which we achieved in some ways by the process between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the latest wave of EU expansion in 2006. But this achievement has been halted, incomplete and dangerously off balance, without an institutional cement which would guarantee its sustainability and practical daily functioning.

Even worse, its military and foreign policy power and influence are, to say the least, ridiculous. This has simply never been considered as a priority by European nation states who wrongly believe that they are better protected on their own. This vision has shown its total obsolescence in the latest years, though no one seems to care or even think it is important. Europe faces major challenges of terrorism, power bullies, capacity projection, environmental issues and economic deficiencies, but it has no way of presenting a coordinated answer to these. One of the main reasons is of course the attitude of some specific member states which are already playing against their fellow European states by favoring one of the super powers, the power bullies as I named them, above the common European interest (the United Kingdom obviously). Others are doing so by simple lack of political vision or mere ignorance (Poland, France).

We have a last window of opportunity. We can vote a new constitution (or whatever you call it), with or without the splinter states who don't want to count in the future world game. We can, if we are fast and clever, create a better Europe for ourselves and for our children. But if we wait too much, if we are not ambitious enough, we will become something like the ASEAN or Latin America: a playground for the USA, China and Russia, where it won't be our interest that will be debated and strengthened but the ones of the American companies, the Chinese corrupt elite and the Russian mafia. If this is what we want, then ok, let's change nothing and enjoy our petty divisions and our exploitation. Who cares, we won't count anymore. We will vote for leaders (if we are still allowed too) but it won't make any difference because these leaders won't actually take the decisions which will influence our lives.


Anonymous said...

How much do you think the EU's problem lies in it's continuing shift towards a more capitalist mode of extracting work from its population. Of the emerging dominant powers all of them have much more "strenuous" methods enforced on its work force, either through direct oppression, corruption, a relentless capitalist mode, and perhaps more truthfully a mix of all of the above, all beit with different amounts of each.

Jean-Baptiste Perrin said...

Well, dear Anonymous,

Unlike you I suppose, and no offense intended, I don't have a Marxist view of international politics. The EU's shifting towards more capitalism and less (or rather a better) socialism is not something bad. It is actually one of the things which can help us against China and the USA. We won't defend ourselves against the strong by being week and uncompetitive. We won't have better institutions by having more institutions. We will have better institutions by having better efficiency, organisation and more democratic decisions. Our future power (if it ever exists) will rely, I think on better educated, motivated and happy citizens, rather than through insidious or violent enforcement of exploitation means on a submissive workforce.