The idea of the European Union achieving world heavyweight status through playing the doeskin-gloved conciliator — soft solutions to dangerous situations offered up at good hotels in pleasant locations — is dying an obvious but perhaps promising kind of deathwrites John Vinocur in the International Herald Tribune.
The causes are self-incriminatory.
… Peeked at through the Brussels curtains, the view of what lies beyond is now one that makes untenable the old EU approach of hedging, neither- norism and willfully playing the contrarian to whatever the American position might be.
… But delusional thinking about how Europe can have a say in the world's problems without risking trouble or confrontation is growing fainter. At the very least, the EU's powerlessness is no longer coming as virtue wrapped as the equivalent of effective policy.
Rather, an acceptance of the old methods' failure as a real lever for world influence has seemed to emerge. Some indicative things have happened.
… In its weakened state, the EU can't talk seriously about pan-European armies to replace NATO, or, junior high guidance counselor-style, call for new multilateral conferences to win the confidence of repulsive rulers and regimes.
Nor is it portraying itself any longer as the Counter-Answer. For difficult months to come, you could call that promising.