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- November 16, 2011 at 11:08 pm #342362
Since there has not been any war in mainland Europe since 1945 except for the Balkan Wars in the 1990s I think we have forgotten just how unstable the political situation really is. After the defeat of Berlin in 1945 and the partition of the subcontient into American and Soviet zones of influence the balance of power was split between two massive giants. If they were at peace there would be peace in the region. Because they never entered a European war until the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 there was peace for over half a century which is unprecedented when one considers the wider history of Europe which is extremely violent.
Because the Soviet Union has collapsed there is now uni-polarity in Europe, except for a few places which are still under Russian influence. However this influence is declining or is at least contained. Nevertheless, if NATO collapses, the discussion of which has been entered by former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, what would the new balance of power be? This question is especially important if the EU falls apart as well and there then ceases to be any European unity or concensus. There would be no American presence keeping things together, nor would there be any European unity. This could lead to the formation of inter-European alliances just like those which existed before 1945.
I think today we forget how unstable Europe really is. Those in eastern Europe are probably more aware of this as they have experienced massive political changes after the collapse of communism in 1989 to 1991. Maybe Europe is beyond major wars these days and will never allow itself to fall into such conflicts again even without unity and the presence of conflict. However what is to say this would be the case? Imagine if Germany signs an alliance with a certain country and then this country is engaged in a territorial dispute with another state aligned towards Russia or the UK or France. Does this not sound familiar?November 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm #366458
Every century has had at least one major war. Each major war ended with a new order being put into place. When that order got insufficient or out-dated, a new war was fought.
Napoleon tried to conquer Europe, he lost, so we get the Congress of Vienna. Peace… then Germany unified, a small war with France… more peace, but then in 1914 the entire Congress of Vienna system collapsed. We got the crappy league of nations… then Hitler tried to beat Napoleon's record, then UN and EU and NATO. NATO is obsolete in the military strategic sense, it has to be reconfigured or done away with and replaced. The EU is slowly crumbling and the UN… well, we'll see.
Like it or not, within the next 40 years there will be a conflict. Technology means it will look different that WW2 and WW2 looked much different than WW1 and they were only 20 years apart.November 16, 2011 at 11:34 pm #366459
The Serbs have a saying:
Our land is the only part of the World, that has five seasons… Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and War.[/li]
Europe is stable, noone draws profit out of open conflict… yet. Europe is in the similar economical position like 1928 – 1929, even though people don't realise it, mostly because of the better standard of living, noone hungers today like they used to. More interesting is the emerging islamophobia, which begins to manifest itself more openly in the civil society and is taking the similar role like antisemitism of the early 20th century. We all know how that ended… Unfortunately it is this islamophobia, that drives them to build their own communities and isolate themselves from any sort of integration.
A financial crisis, and rise of xenophobia within the European society, sound very, very familiar… Let's hope we can learn from our past, and prevent any bloodshed in the coming years.November 21, 2011 at 5:48 am #366460
It is not that Europe is inherently unstable, it is that it is a work in progress, loke America before the Civil War. Nobody has reached an agreement on anything yet, except that it would be nice if Germany would pay all of old Europe's bills.
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