Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Belgian Curtain (Europe after Communism)

I rarely recommend or review books here, but will in the general interest point one out from time to time, especially free and timely e-books, which are a boon to the light traveler, outdoor loafer, or both. Coming across such things is often all it takes to spark ones’ interest, often with a tangentially related title or subject, so here we are...

This week, I recommend Sam Vaknin’s The Belgian Curtain, Europe after Communism. He muses freely on the Europe’s futile internal tugs of war, EU, NATO, and provides an accessible overview of the contrasts between eastern and western Europe in the political “concept of self” that generally dominate those cultural spaces.

A sample:

Though the EU is the new and aspiring members' biggest trading partner and foreign investor - it has, to borrow from Henry Kissinger, no "single phone number". While France is enmeshed in its Byzantine machinations, Spain and Britain are trying to obstruct the ominous re-emergence of French-German dominance.

By catering to popular aversion of America's policies, Germany's beleaguered Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, is attempting to score points domestically even as the German economy is imploding.

The euro-Atlantic structures never looked worse. The European Union is both disunited and losing its European character. NATO has long been a dysfunctional alliance in search of a purpose. For a while, Balkan skirmishes provided it with a new lease on life. But now the Euro-Atlantic alliance has become the Euro-Atlantic divide.

The only clear, consistent and cohesive voice is America's. The new members of NATO are trying to demonstrate their allegiance - nay, obsequiousness - to the sole identifiable leader of the free world. France's bid at European helmsmanship failed because both it and Russia are biased in favor of the current regime in Iraq. French and Russian firms have signed more than 1700 commercial contracts with Saddam's murderous clique while their British and American competitors were excluded by the policies of their governments.
Those interest in blogs like this one should find something of interest here.

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