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Europa’s laatste kans

BERLIJN – Het grootste deel van de Europese geschiedenis is getekend door conflicten. De Amerikaanse historicus Robert Kagan schreef in 2003 dat “de Amerikanen van Mars komen en de Europeanen van Venus”; maar Europa is eeuwenlang het domein van de Romeinse god van de oorlog geweest, en niet dat van de godin van de liefde.

Venus heeft pas na de Tweede Wereldoorlog een thuishaven in Europa gevonden, toen veel mondiale instellingen het levenslicht zagen, waaronder de Verenigde Naties, de Wereldbank en het monetaire systeem van Bretton Woods. Tijdens de Koude Oorlog hebben de Europese landen hun soevereiniteit zo goed als verloren aan twee nieuwe mondiale supermachten, de Verenigde Staten en de Sovjet-Unie.

De gedeelde controle van de twee supermachten werd uiteindelijk opgegeven, en het oude Europese statensysteem werd vervangen door de Europese Unie, met haar belofte van eeuwige vrede tussen de lidstaten van de EU, en tussen Europa en de wereld daarbuiten. De ineenstorting van het communisme in Europa, gevolgd door die van de Sovjet-Unie in 1991, werd in Europa en de Verenigde Staten triomfantelijk omschreven als het “einde van de geschiedenis” – de mondiale overwinning van de liberale democratie en het vrijemarktkapitalisme.

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