OPINION

Europe down on its knees

If the neoconservative group in Washington had been concerned to demonstrate to Europe that they could afford to snub the Europeans over the handling of major international issues, then their attempt was clearly a success. With British cooperation – which was anyway not necessary – the US administration set aside the United Nations and international law and launched a war. Europe is now called upon to acknowledge and legitimize the outcome. The states of what Washington chastised as «old Europe» at first seemed determined to question Washington’s drive to upset the transatlantic balance of power. Now, however, they are submitting to the new reality. It was not long before the Franco-German axis lost courage. The Europeans have now lowered their expectations and merely ask of the Bush administration not to behave like an imperial power vis-a-vis the EU and to contribute to a process of rapprochement between the two sides in a manner that pays heed to European values. In other words, if Europe does not have a say in the postwar situation in Iraq then this, at least, should be kept from the public eye across the world. The current state of US-EU relations is not final. But it is certain that in the present phase, the Washington administration has brought the EU to its knees. Europe was stunned by the fast, aggressive pace the US set in world affairs through military might. The question is if the continent will recover from the blow and whether Washington will manage to usher in a new world order based on its unmatched military and technological power. Old Europe is counting the cost of its defeat, a cost it is trying to lessen by pushing for a remobilization of the UN in postwar Iraq. The success of its efforts is yet to be seen.