Friday, July 14, 2006

German Rehabilitation

This was one of the better stories to come out of the World Cup, pre-Zidane:
For one brought up on a daily diet of World War II films these were extraordinary and uplifting moments. German flags everywhere. Loud singing of the national anthem. A cup final played in the same stadium as the notorious 1936 Olympics. And not a harsh word said by anyone. The Cold War is finally over.

Even the normally beastly Brits smiled and kept drinking – probably wishing they had a German manager too. But at least it helped take their minds off the one year commemoration of 7/7: a sombre day in London to be sure.
In the same Letter from London, an interesting account of European security thinking:
Over to Brussels finally on the 13th July where I was asked to give evidence to the European Parliament about the future of ESDP – ‘ES what’ I hear you all exclaiming. To give it its full name the European Security and Defence Policy, pushed by Blair and Chirac in the heady days of that little and all too brief Entente Cordiale back at St Malo in 1998. A ‘paper tiger’ according to most Americans. A waste of time say others. A dangerous rival to NATO according to the ever pro-European Wall Street Journal. Actually wrong on all counts. At last the Europeans are beginning to walk the walk in Bosnia where there are over six thousand EU troops, in Congo – well over a thousand more, and in a variety of other trouble spots around the world. Serious military planning is also beginning to take place and few (even the wary French) appear to have many problems in working with NATO where necessary, especially now that the US seems to find the four lettered organization so boring. If you are looking for Kagan’s Venus, you won’t find it in Europe these days.
Back when I was in school, in one paper I noted that while Russia has traditionally pushed hard for an EU-based security organization to supplant NATO, Russian thinkers should be careful for what they wish for: The newest, fastest growing members of the EU are all post-Soviet states who have no wish to see their security weakened. Even if Russia (somehow) managed to push the US out of Europe, Poland could just as soon find security in Paris and Berlin. And then, Russia would have a strong, multinational rival right next door, as opposed to the largely fractious and non-military rival it has now.

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