Why Europe Should be A Force for Peace, Not War


As the prospects of world peace worsen and those of a war much beyond Ukraine increase, the role of Europe becomes increasingly important. Europe was at the center of the enormous destruction caused by both the world wars. As the possibilities of a third one increase, can Europe compensate by being the peacemaker this time?

Certainly Europe, with all its high quality academics and institutions, has the highest intellectual capability required for such a role. The public opinion here can be better informed than elsewhere because of higher educational levels. However it remains to be seen whether such apparent assets will be harnessed in the interests of peace, or whether these will, on balance, serve the interests of dominance and war.

When Europe achieved greater unity in recent decades then Europe had its own reasons to be happy, but all peace-loving people of world were also happy about the idea of the European Union for a not so openly stated reason—namely that given the increasing tendency of the USA policy makers to unleash wars and violence, a united Europe will be in a better position to resist this, or at least resist Europe being made a partner in this. Despite the reality of the existence of the NATO, there was hope of increasing coming together of European countries to contribute to peace as well to resistance to arbitrary exercise of power by the USA in international affairs. One example of this was the helpful role seemingly played by leading European countries in the Minsk Accords to settle the Ukraine conflict at an early stage.

However shocking recent statements by prominent European leaders that they merely used these accords to buy time for Ukraine to become militarily stronger to face Russia has shocked all people committed to peace all over the world. In future how seriously and sincerely will we regard peace initiatives coming from Europe? Whatever be the motives of Europe’s top former leaders regarding this self-admission, the damage to the reputation of Europe and to their countries as a force of peace has been much more acute than they may care to realize.

It is extremely important for the world, and most of all for Europe, to seek ceasefire and peace in Ukraine and to work ceaselessly for this. Various leading European countries, when they pursue the objective of European peace and stability, should include Russia in this.  Instead Europe has submitted itself to accepting the US policy of endlessly supplying weapons to Ukraine, not showing any urgency for ceasefire and being unreasonably and persistently hostile towards Russia, policies which at some stage can lead to a much wider conflict in Europe which has three nuclear weapon powers (Britain, France, Russia) and eight countries where nuclear weapons are stored or deployed (Germany, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey, in addition to the other three).

To avoid threats to itself as well as to world peace, Europe must pursue an independent policy instead of attaching itself to US foreign policy which has been in the hands of very hawkish and aggressive policy makers for quite some time. In fact Europe should go a step further and plead for less aggressive, more peaceful policies on the part of the USA. No other continent or region of the world can play this role better than Europe, but Europe does not appear to be trying its best at all. While trying to play safe, Europe by acting as an unquestioning ally of aggressive USA may end up creating extreme dangers for itself as well as for world peace.

Tony Blair was widely discussed for playing a poodle role at the time of US invasion of Iraq, resulting in extremely high loss of innocent human lives. How then should we describe the current role of Europe and what will be its implications?

Europe’s interests as well as its contribution to world peace will be best achieved by maintaining a balance– seeking to continue good relations with the USA instead of blindly following its unreasonably high risk and aggressive policies while at the same time striving to improve relations with Russia and giving up the policy of non-rational, unreasonable hostility towards Russia (the country with the biggest area as well as biggest deposits of natural resources in Europe, as also the highest number if  nuclear weapons). At the same time Europe should try to improve relations with those developing countries which are also trying to pursue a somewhat similar balanced and independent policy which can better protect their own interests as well as the interests of world peace.

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include A Day in 2071, Planet in Peril and Protecting Earth for Children.


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