Tue Mar 27th, 2007 at 05:01:09 AM EST
The Golden Moment
As the EU celebrates its 50th birthday, critics say it has one foot in the grave. But many countries now look there, not to America, as a model.
From the diaries - afew
Consider how the EU began, 50 years ago, as a parochial Franco-German entente. Today, it's the model for a continent. The EU expansion, subsuming a dozen former communist states, has been the surest exercise in democracy promotion since the end of the cold war. "Once sucked into Europe's sphere of influence," says Leonard, "countries are changed forever." The mere prospect of inclusion in the union has been enough to prompt whole countries to rebuild themselves from the inside out. Examples: Romania, which joined the EU just this year, and Turkey, which has Europeanized itself to an extraordinary degree, with the aim of joining Europe. The same effect can be seen in other hopefuls, from nations of the former Yugoslavia to Ukraine.
To be sure, the United States remains unrivaled in "hard" military power. Yet one need look no further than the quagmire in Iraq to see its limits. When it comes to the instruments needed to engineer peace, the softer tools of civilian power, Europe far exceeds America. It is the "quiet superpower."
Europe's tools go well beyond EU enlargement. The EU is the largest trading and investment partner of every nation in the Middle East. It has mounted diplomatic efforts, in conjunction with the United States or independently, to resolve disputes throughout the region. The EU provides 70 percent of the foreign aid and humanitarian assistance in the world today. Almost all the world's peacekeeping and policing forces, outside of Iraq, are staffed or funded primarily by Europeans--Lebanon, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, Afghanistan. It will soon take over NATO missions in Bosnia and Kosovo.
Far from being a product of the past, the EU has emerged as Europe's most innovative and significant contribution to modernity. With its multilateral scope, the EU is the source of around 20 percent of all laws passed in Europe. It has extended the reach of democracy and free markets within and beyond its borders--in a way that American neocons can only dream about--and is becoming a model to the developing world. Futurologist Jeremy Rifkin advances a compelling case for the ascendancy of European ideals. "While the American Spirit is tiring and languishing in the past," he writes, "a new European Dream is being born"--one that emphasizes community relationships over individual autonomy, cultural diversity over assimilation, quality of life over the accumulation of wealth, sustainable development over unlimited material growth, deep play over unrelenting toil, and universal human rights." The global financier George Soros is putting money behind a similar idea, seeking to create a new European Council on Foreign Relations premised on the notion that U.S. foreign policy "has left the world leaderless and in disarray." Europe and a revitalized EU, he believes, offers a better "model and motive force" for addressing the global challenges of the modern era.
see even :
L'Europe championne de l'innovation, les Etats-Unis sont des suiveurs
Jean-Claude Trichet souligne que la zone euro a créé plus d'emplois que les Etats-Unis
(thanks to Superfrenchie for the sources...)
Well, Euroseptics (pun intended) what do you say about that ?