On Europe’s Weaknesses And Strengths – OpEd


The approach of the European elections is causing the multiplication of clichés about the weakness of the European role, which now constitute a rich anthology of irrelevant criticisms. 

The anthology is the result of recently reflective analyses of differences from the so-called political monoliths (USA, China, Russia and India), and expands to the easy criticism of the costliness of the bureaucracies that hinder the functioning of common sense, and climbs along the impervious roads of religious differentiations not to smooth them out, but to accentuate them. 

A rich, almost complete example of this anthological confusion can be found in a recent article in Corriere della Sera. 

I am sorry to differ completely from the editorial of a few days ago in the Italian major newspaper, because Ferruccio De Bortoli is a commentator of considerable and not occasional breadth of horizons, but unfortunately he falls into the trap of critical clichés and like many other commentators he forgets the fundamental fact: Europe is a collective democracy of nations, besieged by all because it is widely envied. And its real strength is precisely its apparent weakness.

Europe is a collective democracy of Nations because, as far as I know, it is the first democracy born not of a successful popular insurrection (France), or of a constitutional socio-political revision (England) or of an anti-colonialist insurrection (USA, India) to mention the current political monoliths. 

None of that. Europe, as far as I know, is the first voluntary union of democratic nations that have consciously decided to reduce their national powers to a purely geographical superior entity. The most resounding success of this unique historical approach is the birth of the Euro, the miracle of the European innovative bourgeoisie, consolidated by the abolition of borders, the miracle of the ambitions of European Renaissance merchants rich in scholars and university (Erasmus) inspirations. That said, this fact escapes anthology critics that the Euro and the peaceful abolition of borders are miracles of diplomacy that led to the birth of a democracy of great innovative diplomatic power that is unique and of global utility. Italian former PM Draghi, unexpectedly set aside by national political provincialism, is a symbol of a European democratic economic modernity that is lacking elsewhere. German PM Merkel was, at the level of East-West political diplomacy, a unique factor of innovation, hopefully not irrepetitive.

And what the anthology critics miss is that Europe, the first example of collective democracy of Nations, is besieged precisely because it is its apparent status of “chronic weakness” that makes it enviable. In fact, precisely because of these “weaknesses” it is not far-fetched to say that Europe is the object of the planetary desire of all the powerful political monoliths. Because this is the fact, Europe is envied by its institutional protector (USA), by its democratic apprentice neighbor (Russia), and by the distant Asian sirens (China, India). Why? Because its stated weaknesses are actually expressions of strength that none of the monoliths mentioned possesses. Let’s try to look at them briefly.

Linguistic variety. Every European language is a treasure mine of knowledge unavailable to other monoliths. From French, Spanish, Polish, Hungarian, etc. and of course to Greek, the father, together with Latin of all Western thought, every European national linguistic enclave has produced unique universal knowledge. But these linguistic enclaves are not parasitic entities, on the contrary, they fortify the supposed weakness by erecting a cultural solidity unattainable by the Monoliths. 

Another anthology criticism is the political weakness that could derive from the fact of not having a single vision on international political problems. But this presumed “weakness” is actually an extraordinary richness because it allows Europe to have an articulated, ductile and pragmatic diplomacy, whereas in all the monoliths mentioned this ductility is impossible for reasons of desired exclusivity of the political power of those who hold it within it. Does Hungary better understand Russia’s reasons? Well. This serves to keep diplomatic avenues open in the conflict with Ukraine. Does Spain better understand the Palestinians’ reasons? Perfect. This balances the nations that understand those of Israel best. (Italy, thank goodness, is the one that seems to better understand everyone’s reasons).

This variety of approach strengthens the European Union rather than weakens it, and in fact makes it the only real possible reference point for an international armed peace, the only possible peace at present. In fact, it is clear that the presumed political monolithic nature of the great military powers (USA; Russia, China) has become in the atomic age the fundamental, unexpected diplomatic weakness of those countries. The maniacal nuclear arms race, increasingly destructive, is making the diplomacy of the monoliths incapable of ductility and creativity. This exacerbates political crises is keeping the planet on the edge of the abyss.

It may seem paradoxical, but today there is no doubt that the nuclear superpower has turned into an institutional diplomatic weakness that Europe does not have. Unless there is a Kubrick-like madness of Dr. Stangelove (who in the famous film correctly resembled Kissinger), nuclear war on the state is a process of total planetary self-destruction, therefore a source of total diplomatic weakness. It is precisely this illusion of a race for total power that, in addition to being able to degenerate even by simple accident into a planetary disaster – 23 cases of error have been counted that could have produced the destruction of the anthropogenic virus on the planet – generates a now visible and dangerous paralysis of political thought.

As noted, Europe does not have this military power, but this is another weakness that can be transformed into a diplomatic strength. The French “force de frappe” has only deterrent functions of the “last resort” and certainly does not aim at aggressive wars and therefore in reality for most of the planet, Europe could be the first and only free political zone to debate all the problems of military balance. If India wanted to try its hand at a similar attempt, and it has all the social potential to do so, we could begin to sleep a little more peacefully in terms of collective survival.

It is therefore with respect for the presumed weaknesses of Europe that, in the run-up to the June elections, we must reflect with a spirit free from the slavery of clichés. Let us hold on to many of these weaknesses because they are actually sources of creative and concrete diplomatic strength. And let us remember that it is our duty to defend diversified national political positions, because at present only Europe can do this on a planetary level. This is Europe’s true greatness, not its weakness. 

Prof. Umberto Sulpasso

Prof. Umberto Sulpasso has taught in many European and American universities. He is the author of the GDKP the Gross Domestic Knowledge Product, the first quantitative model in the world of Wealth of Nations in terms of knowledge produced, purchased and circulated. The Indian Government has officially appointed Prof. Sulpasso as Director of GDKP INDIA. Among his recent publications there is, " Know Global, The Most Important Globalization"; "Darwinomics, The Economics Of Human Race Survival"; "New Enlightenment In Economics In The 21st Century"; and "Knowledge the new measure of Wealth of Nations." Prof. Sulpasso has launched “Knowledge the infrastructural information which will create the New Silk Road with Africa and Asia countries” in a recent international conference.

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