Friday, February 22, 2008
Europe has never been unified, and its history is littered with the failed ambitions of those who would wear the crown
The Guardian, Friday February 22 2008
"The headline read, "Stop Blair: ambition to lead Europe hits fierce opposition". Forget the opposition, I wondered, what about the ambition? We thought Blair hated Europe, loathed its summits and preferred the Anglo-American camaraderie of Camp David.
As Jane Austen said of bachelors, a statesman is always in need of a dinner, not to mention a title and a motorcade. Besides, "leader of Europe" has an irresistible ring. It is a sure bet that, were Blair to be dragged protesting to the throne, he would not demur the crown.
To which there is only one sensible answer. Has the man never read history? His professed ambition is one that invariably ends in tears. Europe has never tolerated being led. It is a continent of cats, not dogs. Diversity is its glory, cantankerousness its defence. It is not a family or a community but a marketplace, a cultural entrepôt. Those who have sought its unity, even as a political metaphor, have come to grief.....
That overreaching also has a pattern. It seeks to control the Near East and it seeks to conquer Russia. All champions of Europe have met their fate on the roads to Moscow or Jerusalem. It is uncanny that Blair's two great failures in foreign policy - which surely disqualify him as a leader - involved alienating Russia and the Muslim world......"