Europe Ag­o­nists: A Di­vided Con­ti­nent Plays Out a Greek Drama

The Diplomatic Insight - - News - Jamil Maidan Flores The writer is a Jakarta-based literary writer whose in­ter­ests in­clude phi­los­o­phy and for­eign pol­icy. The views ex­pressed here are his own. First pub­lished by Jakarta Post June 29, 2015.

Prof. Anis H. Ba­jrek­tare­vic re­cently launched a book ti­tled, “Europe of Sara­jevo 100 Years Later: From WWI to www.” Only Prof. Anis, I think, can write a book of that ti­tle, just as he’s the only in­tel­lec­tual I know who ar­gues pas­sion­ately that Google is the Gu­lag of our time, the prison of the free mind. His editor tells us that in the book, Prof. Anis makes the case that the history of Europe, per­haps of the world, since World War I has been a history of geopo­lit­i­cal im­per­a­tive. And that, in the face of cli­mate change, the cri­sis that grips all of us is not re­ally eco­log­i­cal, Prof. Anis is chair­per­son for in­ter­na­tional law and global po­lit­i­cal stud­ies at the Univer­sity IMC-Krems, Aus­tria. I’ve been read­ing some of his re­cent writ­ings. A na­tive Sara­je­van who now lives in Vi­enna, he doesn’t see one seam­less Europe but sev­eral. There’s At­lantic Europe, a po­lit­i­cal pow­er­house that boasts two nu­clear states. There’s Cen­tral Europe, an eco­nomic pow­er­house. Scan­di­na­vian Europe is a lit­tle of both. And Eastern Europe that’s none of ei­ther. And be­yond Eastern Europe, is a Europe-

stalk­ing Rus­sia. writes, “Europe is es­sen­tially com­posed of sev­eral seg­ments, each of them with its own dy­nam­ics, lega­cies and po­lit­i­cal cul­ture… At­lantic and Cen­tral one end, while Eastern Europe as well as Rus­sia on the other end, (are) in­se­cure and neu­ral­gic, there­fore in a per­ma­nent quest for ad­di­tional se­cu­rity guar­an­tees.” The un­der­achiever of the lot is Eastern Europe, and of­ten the vic­tim of Europe’s tur­moil. It bore the brunt of World War II in the 1940s, suf­fered even more dur­ing the Yu­goslav im­plo­sion of the 1990s, and again to­day in the Ukrainian civil war. A fas­ci­nat­ing part of Eastern Europe is the US-led West and Rus­sia are to­day In here is the cra­dle of Western civ­i­liza­tion, Greece, which is now in it’s not bailed out of its mis­ery, it just might leave the euro-zone. I haven’t come across Prof. Anis’s views on the con­se­quences of a Grexit, or a Greek exit from the euro-zone and pos­si­bly also from the Euro­pean Union, but many other thought­ful peo­ple have said a lot on this topic. Their views range from, “Oh, noth­ing much,” to, “This will be Ar­maged­don.” I side with those who say that if Europe doesn’t save Greece, it will it­self be in need of sav­ing. A Greek fall from the euro-zone will have a domino ef­fect, which can hap­pen in slow mo­tion, over the years, but in the end will leave the EU a mere ghost of what it is to­day. Mean­while, in its agony Greece could be­come Rus­sia’s Ortho­dox al­tar boy, which would be anath­ema to the West. And then there’s the Asian con­nec­tion: China is al­ready heav­ily in­vested in the port of Pi­raeus in Athens, the hub of Greek ship­ping and the gate­way to Europe for China’s am­bi­tious Mar­itime Silk Road pro­ject. Asean na­tions are stake­hold­ers in that en­deavor. Mean­while ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Greece and its Euro­pean cred­i­tors for a 7.2-bil­lion-euro ($8-bil­lion) bailout hang in the bal­ance. Cred­i­tors and re­form mea­sures that are bit­ter to Greece. We’ll know within days if there’s a deal or not. In­done­sia went through a sim­i­lar or­deal in 1998 and has since re­cov­ered very nicely. So it’s too early to write off the Greek drama as un­mit­i­gated tragedy. And, in spite of Pope Fran­cis, Europe isn’t an old woman who has fallen and can­not rise. It’s a grand old man walk­ing a tightrope be­tween “cos­mos” and “chaos,” two fa­vorite Greek words of Prof. Anis.

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