Monday, July 14, 2008

Sarko's mad fever dream of a "Mediterranean Union"

I wish French President Sarkozy all the luck in the world building a "Mediterranean Union" -- like the European Union, but encompassing the countries of the Mediterranean basin. His idea has three fundamental problems, things that are differences from the situation that prevailed at the founding of the EU:

1. with the EU, all the founding countries had pretty much come to the conclusion that war was no way to get things done. They were all prepared to turn their backs on making war and get on with the much harder work of making peace. With countries like Syria, Libya, Israel, and Serbia in the Mediterranean Union mix, there are way too many countries that still think war is a great way to solve problems.

2. in the EU, despite nationalistic differences, all the founding countries agreed that something called "European Culture" existed, that it was something they shared in common, and was something they all agreed was worth saving. All the Mediterranean Union countries share in common is a body of water. Hardly a basis for a shared forward-looking vision.

3. All the founding EU nations were pretty much equally developed economically and equally prosperous, so there was no fear that some members would leech onto other members. In this Mediterranean Union, you run the gamut from highly-developed economies to economies that are flirting with "basket case" status. Hardly a basis for a shared economic market, a la the EU.

Still, I wish Sarko well with his mad fever dream. Anything that dampens the vicious, long-festering hatreds in the Med region is a good thing.

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