The Impact of European Integration: Political, Sociological, and Economic Changes

By George A. Kourvetaris; Andreas Moschonas | Go to book overview

14

Return to Decadent Europe:
Debating Europe's Security

Kostas Messas


INTRODUCTION

Contrary to expectations, stability in Europe did not appear to be the natural by‐ product of the end of the Cold War. It is becoming increasingly clear that it is threatened by regional conflicts due to ethnic disputes and aggressive nationalism. More and more, the EU (European Union), the United States, NATO, Russia, and the UN are preoccupied, although in varying degrees, with finding a solution to the war in former Yugoslavia, hoping to prevent it from becoming regional and/or international. Despite some minor successes toward cease fire, the war rages on.

The conflict in Yugoslavia has become the litmus test that will determine whether Europe can contain aggressive nationalism, devise ways of peacefully handling nationalist aspirations, and, ultimately, secure its own stability. Thus far, regional and international collective security bodies, such as NATO and the UN, have failed to intervene with credibility in the Yugoslav war. The EU appeared both unwilling and unable to do very much, primarily because of the varying preferences of the member states. The United States, although still the source of leadership in Western Europe's security, hoped that the Europeans would take the leadership in settling the Yugoslav crisis. Finally, Russia has been preoccupied primarily with sorting out its national interests and less with the Yugoslav conflict. The failure of these countries and organizations to act as brokers of peace, either singularly or collectively, raises serious concerns whether and to what extent they will succeed in restoring stability in Europe.

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