Before starting with my introdction I try to explain why contemporary Europe and 19th century America are two different matters. Europe has never had a chance to begin from scratch. It always has been a densely populated area without the opportunity to expand westwards like the United States (providing a pressure relief valve). Apart from that the process of anerican state formation was not exactly an easy-peasy one.
It lasted for three quarters of a century and involved the extermination of native Americans and a civil war, which cost the lives of one million men. So the notion: “We went from colony to democracy in only a few years or so. Why doesn’t Europe do the same?” is preposterous. Political unification has proven to be a difficult, bloody road, a journey without a predetermined destination. Given the circumstances and the fact, that european nations are virtually coerced by their own leaders, the risk of a civil war is not a small one.
Of course, this hopefully will never come to pass – but US experience shows, that the building of a common state does not necessarily bridge the rifts between the constituent parts; and that ongoing discussions about the role and the powers of regional entities can easily result in armed conflict. If this happened to newly founded states, Europe with its age old sovereign entities would be even more prone to it.
This is why all the talk about the alleged “peace function” of the european project is dubious at best. There is no peace function in the process of state formation. This is pure propaganda, a pipe dream of the ruling class. If you disagree, please have a look at your TV set the next time, Angela Merkel pays a visit to Athens or Lisbon.
Political unification possibly could prevent a certain type of conflict between Germany and France, which seems to be a matter of the past anyway; e.g. fighting over Alsace-Lorraine or the coal mines in the Ruhr district.
Other wars and war like situations cannot be amticipated by a common state entity. On the contrary. A european superstate would only open up the way for wars. A big european government would be urged to assume the role of an “independent regional power”, while in reality doing the dirty laundry work for a third party and engaging in proxy wars. Maybe the whole thing is but a preparation of future fights over ressources. There is little doubt, that the ardent europeans of today would become the fanatical warlords of tomorrow.
Another subsection of this chapter is dedicated to a “peace project public relation campaign” which took place in Austria, right after the Stockholm Committee had awarded the Nobel prize for Peace to the Union. Instead of polishing the public image of the Union, it led to a flurry of platitudes, which were unintentionally funny at best and spooky at worst. This campaign clearly was orchestrated by the Austrian Sozialpartners (employers’ and labour organizations) and former state parties, the social democrats and the conservative people’s party.
Foto: Wolfgang Staudt, Saarbrücken