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Europe vs.America?

Reader comment on item: Europeans: From Venus?

Submitted by Niels (Spain), Feb 28, 2006 at 11:54

I don´t think so. I am a European,and feel as much inclined to thus label myself as I would use my nationality as a label (a small north european nation). In my opinion the advent of peace,advancement in social policies and bonding of states in postwar europe is the crucible of development after thousands of years of almost intermittent warfare,clashing of ideologies and the likes. Perhaps the sheer scale of atrocities in the 1st half of the 20th century did emasculate europeans of their warrior mentality, well,so be it and I´m actually quite happy about that. If I look at the previous generations in my family the contrasts are astounding.

My grandparents from both sides were poor farmers,suffering under the yoke of religion(although they didn´t see it like this back then) and without the means for the least bit of luxury. Only WW2 caused them to "travel" since their little house came under fire from german artillery and they had to flee, losing everything they had.

My parents didn´t get much of an education, there was no money. Actually,after the war most people in the region were almost forced to emigrate to Canada,Australia,the US because the outllook was really bleak. Than take my generation. I grew up in comfortable middle class wealth,received a good education ,have friends from more than a dozen countries, speak 5 languages, made use of the flexible labourmarket created within the EU to live/work in another (sunnier) country. In my opinion life has never ,ever,been as comfortable in Europe as it is nowadays, nor has the possibility of another armed conflict (on EU soil) ever been as small. I consider myself lucky.

We are steadily starting to resemble America. Multiculturalism is really starting to take root here, and this has been and will be an enrichment for the continent. We are following America´s example in becoming a microcosm of the world, but, as was (and is) the case with America; this progresses with ups and downs. Europe and America are not that different. Save some cultural differences and admittedly quite significant political views we basically share the same origins and cultural heritage.

Some might call Europe weak. I think we are just building up for the future in order to gain strenght, through the EU consensus model. This needs a lot of time, and there are and will be setbacks, but eventually we will become a force to be reckoned with, as we already are economically and we finally can really start doing our bit to promote peace to other regions.

The military might of the US will not be a factor in the long run.The cycle of US hegemony is nearing it´s end,the US needs allies to justify and pursue it´s goals, and this will only become more evident in the future.

Europe and the US wil need each other more and more,although some may not like that. Our objectives are quite similar, we just use different means of achieving them. I may be an optimist, but my american friends here are not that different from me and share my views to a large extent(albeit from an american point of view off course). The current american political establishment is a tad scary, and the US track record has been quite ugly (also in latin america for example) but let´s not be too hypocrite about that, it is hardly an american invention to meddle in other countries´affairs(being lenient here). In my view in many ways the US is an admirable country. The only feasible future objective for all of us will be some sort of multilateral cooperation. Let´s be chums!
One thing: why the bitching on France all the time??

Reading tip: "Why Europe will run the 21st century" by Mark Leonard (ok,the title is pretentious and the final conclusions a bit shaky, but don´t be put off by that. The book compares Europe and the US on many points and is a very interesting read).
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