Monday, June 27, 2005

The EU and Boys

Fewer words shut down my mind like "European Union." When I hear them apathy overcomes me. And it’s been this way for a while, probably when I first heard years ago some TV evangelicals likening the EU to the Anti-Christ. But there was something about the recent French and Dutch referendum votes against the EU constitution that kept my eyes open. When speaking to friends about the votes, friends whose interest in the EU is only slightly greater than mine (if not feigned), they posit that the votes were, of course, votes against Muslims, specifically the potential of Turkey and other European Muslim nations (Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, and parts of London) joining the EU and basically sending their poor to work in the better neighborhoods of the Continent. It sounds familiar.

But then I got in the mail The New York Review of Books, which came to me “free” (a word I rarely gloss over) and opened up to page 26, and started to read William Pfaff's analysis on the EU’s catastrophic referendums (July 15, 2005 issue). What Pfaff says boils down to what he believes is a naïve underestimation of the brewing nationalism in Europe. He says: "The rejection surely demonstrated the current gap of comprehension between European elites and the European public, but was mainly evidence of the underestimated forces of national identity and ambition in each of the twenty-five nations."

But then he says: "Large parts of the EU populations in the 'old' countries of the Union--France, Germany, and the Netherlands among them--are uncomfortable with the expansion to twenty-five counties. They are apprehensive about bringing into the EU Romania and Bulgaria . . . There is even greater reluctance to extend the EU to non-European Muslim countries in Asia Minor and the southern Mediterranean. Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, a new Iraq, and eventually Israel had all been thought by some to be logical future members. Including them would, it was hoped, soften the 'clash' of Islamic and Western civilizations."

I suspect that my indifference to EU matters is in itself naïve and spawned by what appears to be an impossible maze of issues foreign to my experience. As it turns out, boys will be boys, power power, turf fights turf fights, etc.


Blogger Julaybib said...


One of the reasons the French voted 'non' pertains to the fact that this constitution is allegedly too 'free market' for the social welfare loving continental Europeans, c/o Tony 'Bushenomics' Bliar. But I am sure emerging nationalisms have played their part in both referendum results.

Tony promised in his last election manifesto that Britain would hold a referendum, even if the French said 'non'. But guess what? Now he says we won't.


The Muslim Anarchist

6/29/2005 3:05 AM  
Blogger fromclay said...

Would you say the same thing about the Dutch?

6/29/2005 10:11 AM  

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