Thursday, 14 August 2008

That is so 20th century!

You know what strikes me? - This Georgian-Southossetian-Abkhazian-Russian war is so 20th century.

I was getting used to planes flying into skyscrapers, wars on terror including extralegal detention of people, overthrowing of far-away dictatorships, African genocides, car bombs, suppression of minority uprisings, and 21st century cyber war acts.

But I cannot stand pictures of tanks and soldiers actually fighting for territories on the European continent. That is so 20th century. A real war where you invade neighbouring regions to win-lose-win 10 kilometres and say: "Well, I won 10 kilometres!" - and that's all?

I haven't seen any nice images of clean shots with cruise missiles. It is not even totally clear for my media who are the good guys and who are the bad ones. I am confused. How can we be in the 21st century with such kind of a war? We are even starting to have an open East-West, Cold-War-like confrontation (although some are trying hard to ignore it). Is that really the 21st century?

Aren't we supposed to be fearful of African immigrants coming north? Haven't we just been ready to accept that far-away things like China and India and Brazil and Iran and Hugu Chavez are the new interesting political issues - instead of European on-the-ground wars with moving front lines?!

Where is progress when you need it? No weapons of mass destruction? No terrorism? No stealth and digital technology? That is ridiculous!

Europe could do better than this. Europe has to be at the technological front-line. Let's make conflict more modern, adapt it to the decentralised needs of today's citizen, something where our European leaders can stand together and celebrate the glory of innovation. Maybe we find a bureaucratic way of institutionalising the conflict at the Community level: Think global, bomb local! But let's stop this non-21st-century conflict, it is disturbing!

Let's not confuse ourselves with this traditionalist way of country-to-country confrontation. We are not used to this kind of story-telling anymore and, because of that, our leaders have no clue how to react.

So we don't want 20th century conflicts to happen! They make us think that actually the world is not changing. We have learnt to live with a situation where changing times bring changing challenges. But when changing times bring old challenges, are we really living in changing times?

Instead of answering this disturbing question, let's rather look forward to the good wars, those where we feel that the future has arrived. Let us all live in the 21st century, with new wars, new problems, and new solutions that bring about completely new conflicts!

And please, tell that to the Georgians and Russians!


ESLaPorte said...

Yes - Europe can do better than this, and it has. It is Europe and the French Presidency that has taken the lead in bringing peace. Here in the US, the sounds out of the White House remind me of the Cold War (which I grew up in) and I don't like it at all.

And- there should be NO talk of EU diplomatic sanctions against Russia! This is no what was intended for the European project, but peaceful, productive relations.

Personally, I believe that this is the time that Europe separate itself from the US and from Washington. Europe needs its own common defense and foreign policy. I do fear, however, that a separate European foreign policy would align itself with Washington - and that should be avoided...

Europe can do better than America!

Julien Frisch said...

Viewing the positions of some western and most eastern EU states towards security, a "dissociation" from the USA is unrealistic.

This does not contradict with an own EU security policy, but I do not see it coming.