OPINION

European role

When US President George W. Bush referred to the «axis of evil»… Europe, clearly abashed, expressed its disagreement through the lips of Ludger Volmer, minister of state at the German Foreign Office, who said that the fight against terrorism cannot be used to legitimize old enmities. However, once you have accepted that the world is divided into axes of good and evil, it is quite hard to take your words back, even more so if you have identified yourself with the «good guys» who use their weapons to impose modernization and democracy. In this particular case, it’s hard to disagree with political philosopher Isaiah Berlin who, in his «Four Essays on Liberty,» argued that Europeans are gradually distancing themselves from the longstanding political issues and the fundamental choices of European life as these surface at the dawn of the new century: «In Western Europe this century has taken the milder form of a shift of emphasis away from disagreement about political principles and from party struggles, which at least in part sprang from genuine differences of outlook, toward ultimately technical disagreements about methods – about the best ways of achieving that degree of minimum economic or social stability without which arguments concerned with fundamental principles and the ends of life are felt to be ‘abstract,’ ‘academic,’ and unrelated to the urgent needs of the hour.» In the same way, Europe’s stance toward the war machine, at some point, lapsed into a question of method… Asked how the summit might affect the standoff with the United States, Sabri said: «Everybody and everyone understands each other. We (at the meeting) can stand together against all jungle law policies.»