THE Maastricht agreement tried to solve the problem of a unified
Germany in a "deepened" Europe. It was not intended to confront the
problem of how to deal with Western Europe's new Eastern question.
Yet the threat of anarchy in the East may force Europe to
accelerate the creation of a common foreign and security policy,
precipitating changes in the institutional structure of the
European Community (EC) as well.
Europe has long been moving toward greater integration. This
process culminated in the Single European Act (SEA) of 1987. With
the end of the cold war and German unification, Europe could have
devoted most of the early 1990s to the implementation of the SEA.
It is easy to forget the earnest debate of four years ago as to
whether Europe could accomplish this by 1992.
German unification resulted in a common desire by French and
German leaders to guarantee there would be a "European Germany"
rather than a "German Europe." Germany would be moored so tightly
to Europe that no future generation could alter it. German
unification, on the other hand, only stiffened the British tendency
to try to minimize European integration while remaining a community
Under normal conditions, it would take 10 years for Europe to
digest and implement the Maastricht accord. There are built-in
timetables. Monetary union will occur in 1997 and 1999. Not
included in the Maastricht draft, but closely related, is the
renegotiation of the Brussels Treaty, which expires in 1998.
New EC members include the EFTA states. Hungary, Poland, and
Czechoslovakia may join between 1992 and 2001, boosting the EC to
the point where the present institutional structure won't work.
Rising public consciousness of the "European Fact" would help
convert the ungainly European institutional arrangement into
something resembling the government of a great power. But the world
is not in normal conditions.
The same process that led to German unification and the
liberation of Eastern Europe has now resulted in the disintegration
of the USSR. Far from reaching the end of history, Eastern Europe
and the former USSR are witnessing the return of history.
While Western Europe tries to guarantee its future by overcoming
its nationalist past, Eastern Europe has returned to nationalist
rivalries and the unfinished business of 1848, 1918, and 1945.
The first sign of the return of history is the Yugoslav civil
war. Europe's efforts to prevent and then solve this conflict
foundered on the irrational nationalism of Serbian and Croatian
leaders. The problem was not that Europe could not arrive at a
common policy, but that no policy worked. Germany's awkward, barely
concealed semi-unilateral recognition of Slovenia and Croatia was
not a result of a resurgent of German lust for domination - or
renewed drang nach Osten - but of frustration and of domestic
politics overriding the wishes of the foreign policy establishment. …