CHAT: Conculture timelines
|From:||Thomas R. Wier <artabanos@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, August 29, 2000, 5:29|
Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:
> > > Nur-ellen *there* certainly has a different set of borrowings, including
> > > many from Brithenig. How parallel is the history of continental Europe
> > > *there*? Was there a Nazi Germany, for instance?
> > We don't really know. There were First and Second World Wars in Europe,
> > but we don't know who fought in them. There is also a European Union
> > at the present time. Feel free to speculate.
> A European Union (or something similar) is likely to happen in just
> about any timeline where the people in Europe eventually get tired of
> having their subcontinent ransacked by a major war every few decades.
Well, it depends on what you call the 'people', and what values you
assume those 'people' have. I mean, war was only really, truly abhorrent
to 'people' (policy-makers and elites, the people who would make the
decision about whether to confederate into an EU) in Europe after two
World Wars nearly obliterated the continent and forced a long eclipse of
European power and advancement. Before that, those 'people' valued
state independence from foreign domination, whether political or religious,
more than the number of lives it would take, in most cases, to protect that
sovereignty. Before those two World Wars, war had been much more
limited in scope, especially before the French Revolution, which made
possible the mobilization of entire peoples.
If you assume in your timeline that what we call the First and Second
World Wars went differently -- say, were limited to local European or
even bilateral conflicts -- then I do not see any reason to think that
Europeans would have given up three centuries years of raison d'etat
(what we today more often call Realpolitik) just because it's not an idealistic
system. Wars under this system were seen as letting off steam for legitimate
and inherent conflicts of interest, and by the ad hoc allying against would-be
hegemons, groups of threatened nations could keep everything in check, so
that no one power dominated all others.
Under the current EU system, there is no reason to think that small countries
like Luxemburg or Belgium would not be totally dominated by the likes of France
or Germany, especially when representation in the EU Parliament is apportioned
according to population as it is. Since there is no correlate to the US Senate (where
all states have equal representation), if one nation, say France, gets uppity and tries
to push its own agenda for purely local or self-serving interests, that nation cannot
be stopped by legal or institutional means, and resort to force would be the only
thing left for the smaller countries. If the conflicts of interest are deep enough, as
between the South and the North during the US Civil War, recourse to laws and
institutions may not always be available options. This is a rather important point, since
Romano Prodi commented once that he sought to create a federal regime which
avoided precisely that scenario, specifically citing the US Civil War. (Currently, of
course, each EU member state has an executive veto over affairs, but as the EU
expands, and when and if a federal constitution is promulgated for the EU, that
provision will almost certainly be removed because it would paralyze all action by
I should probably make clear I am not advocating war as the proper
means to end conflicts; only that situations are far more complicated, and that
the world we all happily take for granted was not the destined result.
Tom Wier | "Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero."