Sunday, May 06, 2012

Ronald J. Granieri "Who Killed Europe?"

Ronald J. Granieri
University of Pennsylvania

The Foreign Policy Research Institute has an interesting article by Ronald J. Granieri, "Who Killed Europe? A Provocation" (E-Notes, May 2012) , and it is provocative. Granieri offers four premises:
1.The European Union's current economic crisis is but the surface manifestation of a more fundamental weakness of the European project.

2.That weakness is the failure of the EU to develop a strong enough political identity and correspondingly legitimate federal institutions to live up to its founders' vision of a Europe that could act as a coherent unit on the global stage.

3.Such failure was not inevitable, but the product of specific decisions and historical circumstances.

4.The future of the European project depends upon confronting those specific circumstances and facing up to the reality that Europe must either become stronger or it will fade away, becoming as dead practically as it appears today to be dead intellectually.

On the foundation of these four, Granieri constructs his argument. I won't attempt to summarize it, for the article is relatively short and thus easily readable. I will note that he is neither Europhile nor Euroskeptic, but that he does seem favorable to the existence of some sort of European Union. The EU's biggest problem, he observes (undoubtedly with irony), is its lack of vision:
[G]oing back to the collapse of the European Defense Community in August 1954, the member states have been able to rally enough common action to put together compromises that allow the organization to carry on. But moving forward does not make much sense if no one can say for sure where the road is supposed to lead, and simply holding together can reflect lack of conviction and imagination as much as commitment to the project . . . . Compromises that deal with immediate concerns while ignoring larger questions of strategy and intention may be tactically useful, but this is not really saving Europe. Indeed, the more the EU appears to be the product of ad hoc compromises under the pressure of recurrent crises, the less likely it is that anyone, European citizens themselves least of all, will see the EU as the model for future society that its enthusiasts want to claim that it is.

Granieri's point seems plausible, but I wonder if ad hoc responses are really such a poor way to proceed. If I recall, America's Founding Fathers worked out the US system of government through a series of ad hoc compromises. But I'm no expert on that.

Perhaps a knowledgeable reader could enlighten us?

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At 3:21 PM, Blogger dhr said...

Granieri is basically right, imho too. The European Union is the result of top-level agreements aiming at avoiding another 'world' war, since both WWI and WWII were triggered in Europe. The assumption was that the wars were due to economical reasons, so the UE Fathers started with financial agreements, "then a deeper social union will dawn." Silly.

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

With no vision, the people perish . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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