Europe Should Strive for an Independent Role of Peace

european union

Europe is widely and generally seen by people all over the world as a region of high levels of education, scholarship and democracy. Certainly many reputed scholars and prestigious centers of learning are based here.

In keeping with these valuable assets and also the very difficult and troubling times through which the world is passing, there is a very important role for Europe which will best serve its interests as well as of the entire world at the same time. Briefly stated, Europe should strive to fulfill an unbiased and independent role as promoter of world peace. This should be taken up to such an extent that this becomes its defining identity. This will bring safety and peace to Europe, this will also help to bring safety and peace to the entire world.

USA is without doubt the biggest power of the world today, and so it is understandable that many in Europe are reluctant to disturb the special relationship that the USA has with Europe. This is supposed to be protective to Europe. However keeping in view the many wars and conflicts in which the USA keeps getting involved, a tendency that is increasingly questioned within the USA by senior statespersons and peace activists, Europe should ask whether it is not unnecessarily getting involved along with the USA in too many conflicts. In the case of conflicts with lesser powers, this involves so much avoidable death, disruption and destruction in these countries, as seen in recent times in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and other countries. In the case of possible confrontation with big powers, the safety of Europe itself is unduly threatened. So Europe must question this kind of a relationship.

On the other hand Europe can seek a close and more genuinely mutually beneficial relationship with the USA in such a way that instead of the USA pushing Europe towards involvement in conflicts, Europe increasingly pushes the USA towards world peace. This is the real challenge for the senior statespersons and diplomats of Europe, known for their brilliance, as well as the peace movement of Europe. This is a historically important task and challenge, as only Europe has the kind of cultural and political links with the USA as to be able to move it more and more in the direction of peace. The soft power of European scholars, diplomats and people’s movements, supported and strengthened by governments, acting in collaboration with their US counterparts, can achieve this.

Of course in order to achieve this and more for world peace, the forces of peace and justice in Europe need to be much stronger than these are at present. It appears that recent times have been times of great confusion and uncertainty in Europe, resulting in a situation in which even progressive forces have not been able to give their best and have sometimes acted in disappointing ways. Some of those who appeared to be in the process of creating a fine balance of justice, peace and environment protection, something which can be very helpful for the entire world, have not quite been able to live up to their promise and potential. This is something which is more likely to happen in times of uncertainty and confusion. However the longer the uncertainty and confusion persists, there is also increasing possibility of regressive forces using this to spread their influence, and this too has been seen in recent times.

Hence it is important for Europe to find its real purpose, the most relevant purpose, which can bring peace and safety to the people of Europe as well as to the entire world.

This role of peace would be a historically important role. From the 16th century onwards Europe got involved deeply in colonial exploitation and wars which brought unprecedented destruction, culminating in two world wars of the 20th century which brought this unprecedented destruction to Europe as well. Instead of pursuing a somewhat similar future, Europe can seek a historically most important role of promoting world peace, disarmament and contributing a lot to avoiding the possibility of a destroy-all third world war. This should be the destiny of Europe. Once Europe clearly commits itself to such a great future, its confusions and moral crisis will go away and its highly capable people will be able to contribute to the best of their potential, leading to many-sided true progress of Europe which will not be at the cost of other parts of world but which will also help to uplift other parts of world.

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Protecting Earth for Children, Planet in Peril, Earth without Borders, Man over Machine and a Day in 2071.                         


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