Saturday, July 21, 2007

True realists

This Saturday, every other person seems to be reading the new Harry Potter. Whatever one may think about the books it is fascinating to witness the appeal they have had on so many people, ranging from ten year olds like Eddie (not the dog) to German sociologists in their thirties.

As earlier announced, I am on a morning ICE, following the Rhine on its way towards the North Sea. Cannot help thinking of Suede, “Europe is our playground”. Within less than one generation, Europe has finally proven the nationalists wrong, shown the world that there could be a better way, and nowhere is this more evident than here in the heartland of our continent.

Yet, for many people, the idea of European integration is reduced to buying H&M in Amsterdam instead of Düsseldorf, flying Easyjet and taking all this for granted. That is sad. Maybe the political change is so profound that it becomes indiscernible? Why do so few recognize the opportunities ahead, like quickly bringing Turkey into the union, a move which at last would demonstrate that the union rests on universal values (which in theory, individuals anywhere could adhere to) and not on some quasi-metaphysical “European” heritage. If successful, a politically and economically integrated Turkey would be a symbol of hope for the wider Islamic world, showing that Osama bin Ladin and George W are both dead wrong.

It is my sincere belief that the true realists of international relations theory do not build weapons. They take the ICE.



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