Monday, October 12, 2015

Should the UK welcome an EU superstate?


The first point in Cameron's list of needed agreements is the most important IMO.  I find the idea of an EU superstate alarming.  I concede that my alarm isn't entirely rational since I don't feel that same concern about Japan.  Many in China and elsewhere in Southeast Asia however do.  But I am happy to see Japan modify its constitution so that it can shoulder some responsibilities that the US would otherwise have to shoulder by itself.  Japan was able to rebuild its economy, much as Europe did because the US was willing to take military responsibility for their safety.  Not that they appreciated that any more than the European nations did, but they haven't as Habermas and others have urged, engaged in anti-Americanism.  Many in Western Europe have.

It isn't fear that an EU superstate might one day declare war on the US.  They can't even protect weaker border states against Russian incursions.  And in the recent past they've shown themselves unable to deal with a Civil War.   But is there not an incipient longing after the good-old days when Germany was the most powerful nation in the world and France was its ally?  Officially no.  Every nation repudiates fascism officially, but can official repudiation alter good feelings associated with tradition?

Heidegger urged that Germany hark back to its cultural traditions and lead Western Europe benignly (at least that is the way he explained it after WWII was over) into its rightful place as leader of the world.   Germany had everything going for it, the best minds and workers in the world.  Its friends and allies, would benefit from German leadership and the resulting coalition would be wonderful.

I read enough of Heidegger at one time to believe he was (mostly) sincere.  Others at the time disagreed, but if we take cultural tradition as having any weight -- a sort of nature as opposed to nurture position, then we shouldn't be (and the Tories aren't) anxious to see a European superstate with Germany the logical leader anytime soon.  There are still people alive who remember what it was like in Germany's prewar and war heyday -- heady stuff.

I don't believe that cultural tradition is fixed for all time.  Don't the people living in Italy today trace their decent from ancient Rome and can one see any of that Rome in them today?  The same can be asked about Greece.  Time erodes cultural traditions, but it doesn't do it quickly.  It seems too soon to welcome a European superstate.

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