A Choice of Europes

A Choice of Europes

Mini Teaser: European security can best be bolstered through structures that embody both the West's ideals and geopolitical realities.

by Author(s): David Calleo

THE FADING a way of the bipolar world has sent many states into a sort of identity crisis. The travails of "transformation" have been obvious in former Soviet countries and in China, but are also present in the West. Some Americans believe the "new world order" confers upon them a protracted vocation for world hegemony. The American Century is to become the American Millennium. The public reacts with an unstable mixture of indifference, satisfaction, skepticism and resentment.

While America's political imagination is bemused by its unipolar scenario, many Europeans are attracted by plans for a more cohesive and independent Europe. Some Europeans are openly skeptical that American hegemony guarantees their interests now that the Cold War is over, and thus want to reform NATO and develop more autonomous military capabilities. How Europe itself evolves is widely recognized to be among the major determinants of the world order that does eventually emerge. A stronger and more self-reliant Europe, together with a rapidly growing China, possibly India, and perhaps even a re-invigorated Russia, also implies a more balanced or "plural" world order. An emerging pluralist paradigm thus challenges the dominant unipolar paradigm.

These ruminations have familiar theoretical and philosophical underpinnings. The unipolar paradigm reflects a hegemonic view of global politics, according to which a benign leading power is required to bring order to an anarchic world. The pluralist vision, by contrast, shuns hegemonic "hyperpowers" and favors a variety of regional systems with a global balance and a division of responsibilities among several clusters of power. Both paradigms are infused with globalism, but define it differently. Unipolar globalism emphasizes how an open and democratic world often thrives in company with political, economic and cultural hegemony--as in the Pax Britannica of the nineteenth century or the Pax Americana of the twentieth. Pluralists, by contrast, prefer what might be called a "constitutionalist" form of globalism, one that emphasizes the diversity of an interdependent world--with proliferating centers of economic growth, initiative and power. Pluralists favor that diversity for its own sake and are leery of global centralization and cultural homogeneity.

In practice, the paradigms coexist and blend, and each flourishes on both sides of the Atlantic. Which vision appeals more is often a matter of historical taste and imagination--linked, of course, to all sorts of national and group interests and identities. Abstract predispositions, however, have to come to terms with geopolitical realities.

Countervailing Realities

THE MOST obvious geopolitical reality at the turn of the century is the economic and military pre-eminence of the United States. Convinced pluralists discount that primacy and focus on longer term trends that seem to imply a broader dispersal of power. Today's world is too complex to allow for any certainty about the future. Both paradigms have obvious explanatory strengths, but also particular vulnerabilities. America's inner limitations as a hegemonic power bring the unipolar paradigm into question, and U.S. economic strength seems undermined by the country's big and rising external deficit. The size and longevity of that deficit suggest that America's economy is structured so that it habitually absorbs more than it produces. Earlier, this could be explained by the heavy military burdens of the Cold War. Now it can only be ascribed to chronic low rates of saving and excessive consumption, frequently topped up by excessive investment at home or overseas.

These habits are hard to give up, and others depend on them. Not only would lowering consumption imply lowering living standards at home, but much of Asia's prosperity is bound up in America's trade deficit. The United States is the world's "buyer of last resort." Nevertheless, managing this deficit addiction requires regular heavy financing from abroad. Thanks in good part to the international role of the dollar, this financing has generally been easy to arrange. Most recently, it has been provided by a huge influx of foreign capital investing in the United States, but the pricking of the stock market bubble in recent months heralds the end of this particular form of easy finance. The growing significance of the euro suggests that future forms may be more costly and disabling.1

The United States also has broader handicaps for the role of world hegemon. Impulses toward "isolationism" and "unilateralism" are deeply rooted in the political culture. Constitutional arrangements, which limit the power of the federal executive and the professional civil service, make it difficult to sustain balanced, coherent and well-administered long-term policies, sensitive to the needs of other countries. The United States, of course, has conducted a hegemonic foreign policy with notable success through a good part of the past half century. But this required a severe distortion of the Constitution--in particular, a dramatic extension of presidential power, provoked by the shocks of two world wars and the prolonged Cold War that followed.2

Since the late 1960s, the country has been drifting back to its traditional balance. Doubtless the problems of the Clinton presidency were rather special, but nearly every other presidency since the days of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon has had its own variety of constitutional imbroglio. The other constitutional elements--the Congress, the courts and the states--have been banding together to cut the imperial presidency down to size.3 Given the special circumstances of the recent presidential election, the new Bush administration seems unlikely to reverse a trend that reaches back over seven of its predecessors. In short, although visions of world hegemony may beguile large sections of America's political elite, the country generally has less and less tolerance for the burdens and discipline needed to exercise such a role. In such circumstances, it is all too easy for enthusiastic elites to get overextended, with commitments that the country will prove unwilling to sustain.

Overextension, of course, is the fatal vice of any hegemon. America's long-term strategy for avoiding it has been to build up a genuine European "partner." In effect, this strategy is a way of synthesizing unipolar and pluralist visions of the future. A strong European Union, able to take primary responsibility for maintaining peace in its own space, and on good terms with Russia, would relieve the United States of a heavy burden and free resources for maintaining order elsewhere, most notably in Asia. This is not because Asia is more important to the United States, but because Europe has the makings of an indigenous balance, whereas Asia does not.

Arguably, the principal impediment to this hegemonic-pluralist synthesis has not been America's opposition but Europe's own lingering disunity. The end of the Cold War, however, has created a new Europe, waiting to be pulled together. The EU has ambitious plans to do that pulling. But like America in its activities throughout the world, the EU risks overextending itself in Europe with commitments that its own political structure will not sustain. Various U.S. interests, meanwhile, have started worrying about losing military hegemony in NATO and show signs of growing hostility to European initiatives. If the West is not careful, its American and European halves, both overextended, will end up defeating each other. NATO will suffer accordingly. The way to avoid such a tragically stupid outcome is to devise a new European system with realistic roles for the European Union and for the United States. "Realistic" means in harmony with the essential characteristics and interests of each. America has its limitations , but so, of course, does Europe.

A Hegelian Synthesis

RIVALRIES among the European states have dominated most of modern history--never more than in the first half of the twentieth century. Supposedly, today's European Union has put an end to the old quarreling Europe. But the EU has a very particular constitutional character, formed within the bipolar system of the Cold War, and a realistic view of the EU'S future role depends on a realistic view of its inner character.

Arguably, the principal impediment to this hegemonic-pluralist synthesis has not been America's opposition but Europe's own lingering disunity. The end of the Cold War, however, has created a new Europe, waiting to be pulled together. The EU has ambitious plans to do that pulling. But like America in its activities throughout the world, the EU risks overextending itself in Europe with commitments that its own political structure will not sustain. Various U.S. interests, meanwhile, have started worrying about losing military hegemony in NATO and show signs of growing hostility to European initiatives. If the West is not careful, its American and European halves, both overextended, will end up defeating each other. NATO will suffer accordingly. The way to avoid such a tragically stupid outcome is to devise a new European system with realistic roles for the European Union and for the United States. "Realistic" means in harmony with the essential characteristics and interests of each. America has its limitations , but so, of course, does Europe.

From the beginning there have been four models for Western Europe's constitution: "Atlantic Europe", "Federal Europe", "Gaullist Europe" and "Nobody's Europe." Today's EU has evolved as a hybrid product of all four. Europe has given birth to a new political form, a sort of Hegelian synthesis between a centralized Continental government and a multinational state system. It is essential to understand that Europe's states have created this Union not to give up their national sovereignty but to enhance it. Since these states are intimately interdependent, their national domestic or foreign policies are unlikely to succeed if at cross purposes. National states have more real sovereignty--more capacity to achieve what their populations want--by constantly negotiating and compromising together. But Europe's states impose this collective regime on themselves only when doing so clearly seems to increase their capacity for achieving national goals. Hence, during the Cold War they ardently pursued "integration" in the economic sphere but not in defense, where, under an American protectorate in NATO, they could find greater safety with less constraint.

Europe's hybrid community was greatly helped by the Cold War. NATO allowed it to avoid the thorny issues of collective military security. The Soviets were contained and Germany was divided and occupied. Western competition over Mitteleuropa was pre-empted by the Soviets. Western Europe's leading powers--France and Germany--thus found it relatively easy to collaborate. Together they provided a sort of joint hegemony to keep the project moving forward. Meanwhile, American demands for open trade and investment were a powerful incentive for all West Europeans to pursue their own further economic integration.

The end of the Cold War disturbed this cozy arrangement. German reunification upset the balance between France and Germany. With the Soviet collapse and a weak Russia, the liberated states of Central and Eastern Europe not only threatened to generate a swarm of troubles--as Yugoslavia soon demonstrated--but constituted a vacuum threatening to draw in Germany and to arouse hostile British and French reactions. In other words, the end of the Cold War promised a return to Europe's anarchical state system and its traditional German problem. A post-Soviet crisis of transformation struck Europe in the West as well as in the East.

From Maastricht to Nice

FRANCE and Germany met this challenge boldly at Maastricht in 1991. Their solution was a radical double expansion of the postwar confederacy, newly re-christened the European Union. To begin with, the earlier European Community's functions were to be greatly expanded. A monetary union was to consolidate the single market, strengthen Europe financially, and, in the process, create a rival to the dollar. A common foreign and security policy was to proceed in parallel. Common defense forces, able to act with the American allies in NATO, or without them if necessary, were set to follow in due course. NATO itself would be reformed to limit U.S. hegemony and create a more genuinely balanced structure. Along with this broadening of functions, the EU also planned to enlarge its membership radically. At the Copenhagen Summit in 1993, the EU committed itself to negotiate with several former communist countries in Europe. The list kept growing and, in due course, also came to include Cyprus, Malta and even Turkey. The f ormer Cold War "neutrals"--Austria, Finland and Sweden--joined in 1995. It became commonplace to speak of an EU of thirty members. In effect, the EU was setting out to turn itself into the new Pan-European system.

The concomitant expansion of function and membership naturally implied a significant reform of internal governing arrangements. Adding financial and military dimensions demanded the capacity for rapid decision-making in crises and long-term planning to avoid unpleasant surprises. Adding a large number of new members, with newly planted democracies and undeveloped economies, would make the leisurely interstate negotiations of the old European Community increasingly dysfunctional. Accordingly, streamlining EU decision-making was an integral part of Maastricht's grand strategy. In principle, this streamlining could be accomplished by a turn toward genuine federalism. The Union might move away from its intergovernmental character toward a real central government on German or U.S. models, perhaps with a French or American-style presidency. To work, however, such a project would presumably require a Europe-wide organization of political parties--a project difficult to imagine in today's Europe of fifteen, let alone in a Europe of thirty.

If the EU's history is any guide, the most likely outcome is not a federal Europe but a further adaptation of the hybrid confederal model evolving since the 1950s. But even this course will demand significant changes. If the locus of decision-making is to remain with the Council of Ministers, a membership of thirty will demand a much wider use of qualified majority voting. A few small countries cannot be allowed regularly to hold up all the rest. National voting strength will have to bear some relationship to the relative populations and economies of the member states. These changes inevitably mean that Western Europe's smaller states will lose relative influence. In a Europe of thirty, Germany and France are still Europe's major powers, but Denmark and even Holland are not what they were.

The summit at Nice this past December brought these issues to a head. Negotiations were exceptionally arduous, protracted and acrimonious. There was some progress toward confederal reform. Votes in the Council and representation in the European Parliament were re-weighted in favor of the big states. The national veto was restricted further. Small member states, however, refused to give up their right to one commissioner each. As things stand, there will be twenty-seven commissioners before some sort of rotation system is installed. In principle, the way was widened for "enhanced cooperation" among states eager to move ahead of the others in one sphere or another.4

There is much speculation that this may be the vehicle for creating an inner core able to act decisively and impose itself on the rest. In theory, this inner core might itself be a federation, presumably built around France and Germany. But it is far from clear that either would really be willing to commit itself to any centralized federal construction. And it seems extremely unlikely that Britain would do so. Most probably, therefore, even the inner core will remain a confederacy. Its strength will depend, as it always has, on the strength of the Franco-German commitment to it.

The best that can be said is that the EU's constitutional reforms are problematic and will probably take a long time. The fierce resistance and limited success demonstrated at Nice suggest disagreeable alternatives. The EU will either have to renounce expanding its functions or limit its membership. For those who do not want a strong European Union, like the British, enlargement without successful federal reform is quite acceptable; it means a weaker Union. But given the unlikelihood of federal reform, why do those who want a stronger and more cohesive Europe not oppose enlargement? At this juncture they are mesmerized by what is undoubtedly a compelling geopolitical reality: The Europe they are dealing with today is Pan-Europe, including not only Central and Eastern Europe, but Russia. In many respects, it also includes the United States. What it requires, therefore, is not merely an updated West European confederation but a replacement for the Soviet and bipolar systems as well.

Unfortunately, this appears to be a task beyond the consensus-building powers of a confederal European Union. To fulfill such a Pan-European role, the EU must turn itself into an imperial federation--a hyperpower on its own, strong and centralized enough to dominate the Russians and replace the Americans. Since Europe's modern history--from Philip II to Hitler--richly demonstrates the futility and danger of attempting to subjugate Europe's states to a single centralizing power, perhaps it is time to begin seriously exploring schemes that do not start by presuming what seems impossible: a strong and cohesive EU that stretches itself to cover Pan-Europe or a Europe run from America.

A Choice of Three

LOGICALLY, three models present them selves for organizing Pan-Europe: bipolar, unified and tripolar. In bipolar Pan-Europe, the West claims its Cold War victories; Western institutions enlarge; NATO and the EU eventually include most of the countries liberated by the Soviet collapse, except for Russia itself; a crippled Russia receives compensatory aid and perhaps diplomatic respect, but is kept at arm's length.

In the second model, unified Pan-Europe, the old East and West of the Cold War join intimately to create a closely integrated Eurasian system. The European Union and NATO extend eastward--and eventually embrace rather than exclude Russia.

In the third model, tripolar Pan-Europe, the EU, Russia and the United States form three distinct but articulated poles. Each, while tied to the others, remains sufficiently distinct so as not to undermine its own cohesion. Neither the EU nor NATO becomes Pan-European. Instead, each remains a critical Western element within a larger and looser Pan-European superstructure. The European Union, for example, extends full membership only to Central and East European countries whose political economies are sufficiently convergent with the West to be absorbed successfully. The EU does not imagine including Russia but nevertheless develops close economic relations with it, and also with the other former Soviet states. The United States remains present in Pan-Europe through NATO, but less as the active manager of European security than as the ultimate guarantor of Western Europe against a resumption of Russian (or German) aggression, or an explosion of violence in the Near and Middle East or the Mediterranean. NATO th us grows more European and less American-dominated, as the EU develops autonomous diplomatic and defense institutions capable of acting efficaciously either inside or outside of NATO. Russia does not actually join this more European NATO, but cooperates closely with it through some overarching Pan-European security structure.

The Drawbacks of Model One...

OF THE three models, which is preferable? The first model, reconstituting bipolar Europe, implies not only Russia's permanent estrangement from an Atlanticized Europe, but its enfeeblement and even dissolution, presumably for the benefit of its East European or Central Asian neighbors. Such a course hardly seems in anyone's long-term interest. The vision of an anarchical Russia, with its old nuclear arsenal and weapons experience privatized, should provoke deep caution among us all.

Many people in America and Europe do, of course, dream of a weak, dependent, perhaps dismembered Russia, and would like to see Ukraine and the states of Central Asia and the Baltics bound tightly to the West. Old German fantasies of Middle Europe flicker into half-life. But these fantasies of Russian dissolution flirt with hubris on a grand scale, in the case of the United States as well as of Germany. The volatile boundaries of Eastern and Central Europe have, again and again, been fault lines for modem Europe's political and military earthquakes. No one should begrudge the nations along this fault line their new-found freedom. But the West should be careful that this new liberty is not allowed to lead to a fresh cycle of conflict between Russia and the West--or among the Western powers themselves.

The Russians, after all, are in the midst of a heroic effort to transform themselves into a modern nation-state, a transformation that implies not only democracy at home but also a less intrusive relationship with surrounding states. Chechnya notwithstanding, it is nowadays possible to imagine Russian hegemony over its "near abroad" that is not crushingly oppressive. In the interests of wider Eurasian order, the West should encourage these civilizing trends--not least by refusing to take advantage of Russia's apparent weakness. The West has no real interest in replacing Russian influence in Ukraine, or its authority in the trans-Caucasus and Central Asia. Seriously meddling to defeat Russian interests in these neighboring places risks unloosing a swarm of demons that Western powers have neither the means nor the vocation to master.

The resulting Eurasian vacuum would not only be a fertile breeding ground for organized crime, neighborhood genocide and stampedes of terrified populations, it would also be a highly counterproductive environment for West European integration. It cannot be healthy to have the German government back in Berlin, with Moscow enfeebled and Eastern Europe weak. It would be hard for Germany to resist being drawn into that revisionist vortex. Germany unbalanced in Middle Europe would alarm France and Britain and undermine the foundations of the European Union. At the same time, a weak Russia, with only a feeble hold on its huge Siberian empire, would be a menace to stability in Asia as well as in Europe.

A reborn bipolar model with a weak Russia would also very likely undermine transatlantic relations. Expanding NATO and keeping Russia at arm's length implies continuing American domination of the alliance. But with Russia so weak and isolated, the United States would be too strong for the West Europeans to welcome as hegemon. In any event, Europe's new security problems are such that close Russian cooperation is needed for managing many of them. Such cooperation seems unlikely if the Americans, playing an active hegemonic role in NATO, are contending with Russia in its own near abroad. A not unlikely consequence is that the Europeans would begin to take their distance from the United States.

The principal danger is probably not that the United States will dedicate itself seriously to Pan-European hegemony. Provoking a desperate Russia is too dangerous, and the regional problems are too intractable and too marginal to America's own vital interests. In any case, America's enthusiasm or capability for actually playing an extended hegemonic role is too inconstant. But the United States may well allow itself to drift toward such a policy sufficiently to embitter the Russians and provoke new waves of paranoia and imperialism among them. The same could be said about any revival of German ambitions for Mitteleuropa.

In summary, the old bipolar model cannot be patched up to suit to the new Pan-European future. Pan-Europe cannot be built around the vision of American's military protectorate and Europe's acquis communautaire extended to all and sundry, except for Russia. Given the geographical realities, a successful Pan-European system is unlikely without a strong and bengin Russia-preferably a federal nation-state that is peaceful, democratic, multi-ethnic and prosperous. If such a well-intentioned Russia does not evolve, Europe's future will be grim. Bipolar Pan-Europe favors this worst outcome by anticipating it. For better or for worse, Russia is a great power with a major role in European security and prosperity-both in its own near abroad and in Middle Europe generally. But Russia's role, like that of the United States, or indeed of the EU, should be contained within a cooperative Pan-European framework with a structured bias toward collective rather than unilateral action.

... And of Model Two

IF RUSSIA does become a reasonable European country, why not aim for our second formula--a closely integrated Pan-Europe? Logically, such a model implies Russian membership in NATO and the EU. Making Russia comfortable with such an arrangement would require profound internal changes in both organizations. In the Atlantic Alliance, it would mean not only turning away from American hegemony but also from NATO's essential character as a transatlantic counterbalance to Russia. While this might suit Russia, it would not suit the West. It would be foolish for the Western states to throw away their own transatlantic alliance, even if Russia does become a model European citizen. Few countries presented with weak neighbors are safe from the imperial virus, and Russia certainly seems unlikely to be an exception. In short, while any stable Pan-European system will require Russian cooperation, it will also require re-insurance against a resurgent Russian threat. Not only does the Atlantic Alliance still seem the most secure way to deter that threat, but it also continues the other advantages of the old bipolar system. The American presence deters aggressive behavior from West European states toward each others as well as toward Russia or the United States itself. And it also gives European states considerable control over American policy.

It could be argued that Russia would be contained even better by bringing it into the Western alliance, as was done with Germany in the 1950s. The parallel, however, is not very exact or convincing. Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally. Thereafter, it was menaced by the Soviets and occupied--in both West and East. Even the Federal Republic's constitution and government were largely imposed by its new Western allies. It is hard to see how these conditions could fit Russia. Today's Russia is certainly weak, but it is not occupied, nor has it been brought to its present condition by a Western conquest. The Soviet retreat was, after all, voluntary. Arguably, it was mainly brought about by essentially beneficent forces within Russia itself.5 It seems unwise, as well as ungenerous, to regard today's weakened Russia as a defeated power, easily malleable to Western designs and fated to remain a negligible force in Europe's future. A reliable Pan-European order seems unlikely to be built on such assumptions.  Militarily and geopolitically, Russia remains too big either to be kept out of Pan-Europe or to be incorporated into Western Europe.

The economic side of the integrated Pan-European model seems even less plausible than the military. Trying to include Russia within the European Union seems a forlorn cause, unless the EU abandons its pursuit of economic and political integration. It is questionable whether such a bloated and denatured EU could survive its own centrifugal impulses.

A Tripolar Pan-Europe

BY A PROCESS of elimination, the third model seems the most reasonable--an articulated or tripolar Pan-Europe. Essentially, it adapts and rearranges the parts of the old European and bipolar systems to suit a more cooperative coexistence with the Russians, as well as a more balanced Atlantic Alliance. It builds new Pan-European institutions, as opposed to weakening old institutions by giving them impossibly overextended new roles. Thus NATO remains essentially Western, preserving something of its old bipolar, hegemonic, implicitly and-Russian character. But this anti-Russian aspect of NATO remains dormant unless needed. Meanwhile, the West European states, their own security cooperation intensified around EU institutions, assume primary responsibility for managing their own near abroad. They remain in alliance with the Americans, but also in close collaboration with the Russians.

NATO, while remaining a Western construction, develops a cooperative superstructure that includes the Russians--arrangements continuing along the lines of the NATO-Russia Charter and Partnership for Peace. The institutional linkage for broad Pan-European security might develop through a reorganized Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), perhaps endowed with a regional Security Council of major states--a structure analogous to the "Contact Group" that proved the way to organize Pan-European cooperation in the Yugoslav wars.6 An OSCE framework, encouraging multilateral and rule-based interventions, should help to soften and civilize Russian predominance in its own near abroad. In due course it could also be extended to the Middle East and Africa. Meanwhile, the United States and Russia would cultivate their common security interests in the Far East. The European Union and the United States would remain bound by a broad Atlantic Alliance, not only to sustain a more European NATO but also to collaborate to define and promote a global economic agenda.

The EU itself remains an essentially West and Central European construction, but adds a new superstructure of formal Pan-European economic arrangements, reaching out to all the EU's neighbors. Ideally, Russia should be progressively integrated into the looser Pan-European economy. Russia and other Central Asian states could well become Western Europe's privileged long-term suppliers of energy and raw materials. With a decent political and legal framework, parts of Russian industry could become competitive and attractive for foreign investors. And should Russia rejuvenate its high-technology sector its firms could become highly interesting partners for European and American firms alike.

The tripolar approach to Pan-Europe assumes that the United States, the European Union and Russia are each too large and too different to merge together within a single, closely integrated system. Their respective capacities for democratic politics and harmonious economic and social development are better served by having them remain distinct entities sharing a new regional superstructure. This means that NATO and the EU remain Western rather than Pan-European. Such deliberate self-limitation runs counter to the natural tendency to build the future on organizations that have proved themselves in the past. Both institutions have been hugely successful, but trying now to extend either one to all of Pan-Europe misreads their essential character and the reasons for their postwar success. To imagine using the EU as the Pan-European framework is to see it as a nascent federation, or new Napoleonic (or German) empire, rather than as the confederacy of nation-states that it is. Similarly, trying to extend NATO to Pan -Europe is to misunderstand NATO's character as a defensive affiance, to see it as a nascent Atlantic empire-something neither Americans nor Europeans would long sustain. It bases Europe's future on America's overextension. By contrast, an articulated Pan-European system preserves both the essential EU and the essential NATO, without destroying them by overextension. Instead, it uses both as building blocks within a larger and looser regional framework.

An articulated Pan-European model that presupposes continuing Western and Eastern cores poses the delicate question of boundaries between them. The Russians objected strongly to NATO's expansion, presumably because they saw it as a way of reconstituting the bipolar system on worse terms for themselves. The putative eastward expansion of the European Union has not aroused the same immediately hostile Russian reaction. But an enlargement of EU membership would eventually raise the issue of what security guarantees were involved and how they would be met in practice. The model would probably work better if the major centers kept themselves concentrated and held back from filling all the available spaces. The European Union, wary of giving the Russians legitimate grounds for antagonism, or of destabilizing its own institutions by too rapid growth, would expand only slowly and selectively. A Europeanized NATO might parallel the EU's eastward growth but not lead the way. While the EU's association agreements would proliferate and intensify within Eurasia, and include Russia in some fashion or another, the former communist states would also be encouraged to develop special ties among themselves. East Europeans would be cautioned not to neglect links with the Russians.

Behind the tripolar model lies a broad pluralist perspective. It envisages an interstate structure that acknowledges and values the distinctiveness of nation-states, while creating machinery for their cooperation--arrangements that respect the cultural limits of democratic political consensus and aim for a balanced assignment and sharing of regional responsibilities among the great powers.

Why Pan-Europe?

IF THE heterogeneity of the constituent Pan-European elements so limits their integration, why envisage Pan-European structures at all? Beyond the EU and NATO, why not rely on the existing global organizations--the UN Security Council, International Monetary Fund, World Bank or Groups of Seven or Eight? Why is a Pan-European layer of organizations needed? There are several answers.

To begin with, many countries in Central and Eastern Europe, or even in Central Asia and the Middle East, passionately desire to join the EU or NATO but do not fit--economically, militarily or politically. Economically, it is important that these countries be included in structures that promote whatever degree of Pan-European economic assistance and intercourse is sustainable. Politically, former Soviet countries are re-inforced in their new democratic habits by belonging to a fellowship of advanced democratic societies. Militarily, as Russia revives, some of these countries may have to accept de facto Russian hegemony, as indeed others, like Serbia, may have to accept Western hegemony, even if they do not like it. It is important that such countries belong to some Pan-European organization that sets common principles for the rights of states and individuals and provides collective institutions to foster those rights. In practice, of course, the efficacy of such institutions must depend on whether the three major poles actually subscribe to the self-limiting principles of Pan-European cooperation.

This brings us to perhaps the real reason for Pan-European institutions. The ideal of "Europe", for all the ambiguous and bloody history behind it, retains a powerful capacity for promoting consensus around a variety of humane political values--not only among the members of the EU and their would-be partners in Central Europe, but also in Eastern Europe and in Russia itself, perhaps even in nearby parts of the Muslim world, and certainly in America. The concept of Europe is therefore a powerful asset to promote ideals that ought to be universal but cannot be reliably sustained on a global basis. This is not to say that the humane ideals associated with Europe should not be promoted and defended globally. But it is to acknowledge a special obligation to make these ideals prevail in Europe--an obligation shared by all the children of European civilization, Americans and Russians included.

There is no reason to throw away such a powerful asset on the grounds that it seems less ambitious than the pursuit of a universal world order. The real truth is that the world can only progress toward anything like a rule of law by consolidating such islands of humane order, sustained by pride in shared cultural values. Europeans, thanks to both the horrors and accomplishments of their history, enjoy a special consciousness of the rights of individuals, societies and states. They ought to be able to act in their own space according to that consciousness without having to rely on the United Nations, whose own consensus and capacity for action is necessarily of a lower intensity. In effect, Pan-Europe should become an efficacious example of the possibilities of re-inforced cooperation on a global scale. Entrusting the application of universal values to the regional structure of Pan-Europe, moreover, has another particular advantage. It unhooks European support for these values from American pretensions to world hegemony, pretensions that greatly divide Europeans and threaten world order.

While the intellectual case for an articulated Pan-Europe may be powerful, there are also serious reasons for skepticism about its practical prospects. Success will require resolute reasonableness from Russians, Europeans and Americans alike. Russia must overcome the dead weight of its brutal and dysfunctional past and find a worthy modern version of itself. The United States will need to steel itself for a long period of attentive self-restraint. As for the Europeans, they may be expected often to disappoint their own expectations, or to take longer and more circuitous routes to realizing them. They will always have divisions among themselves. They are too talented and energetic for things to be otherwise. But we are speaking of nations whose civilizations ennoble mankind and whose creativity and humanity are far from exhausted. Their problems should be considered against the magnitude of what they are attempting, and what they have already accomplished.

Nor should we forget that the rest of the world has a good deal riding on Europe's success. For no country is this more true than for the United States. A strong, balanced and stable Pan-European system will immeasurably strengthen the West and enrich its values. It would be a giant step toward a world whose problems are manageable. Without such a Europe, America's unipolar fate is likely to prove a curse laid upon its future.

1 For a more extensive discussion, see my "The Strategic Implications of the Euro", Survival (Spring 1999).

2 See my "The U.S. Post-Imperial Presidency and Transatlantic Relations", The International Spectator (July-September 2000).

3 An obvious countermeasure is to use international organizations--the UN, IMF, WTO, NATO-to bypass the other constitutional branches, just as European governments often use the EU to circumvent opposition in national parliaments. Attempts to do this during the Clinton administration were not particularly successful, however.

4 Draft approved by the Conference of Representatives of the Governments of the Member States. See http://ue.eu.int/cig/nice/nicefr.asp?lang=en

5 It seems inaccurate historically and imprudent geopolitically to assume that East European resistance brought down the Soviets. The persistent courage of those who kept defying the Soviets and their collaborators, above all in Poland, did demoralize the "satellite" communist regimes and inspire opposition forces within the Soviet Union itself. But it did not actually throw the Soviets out of their empire. The retreat from Central Europe, the liquidation of that part of Stalin's World War II legacy, was something the Soviets, under Gorbachev, themselves decided to do.

6. The Contact Group comprised five powers (the United States, Russia, France, Germany and the UK), in conjunction with the co-chairmen of the Steering Committee of the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia. Its main achievement--which laid the basis for a settlement--was the mid-1994 "Contact Group Plan", which allowed the Serbs to retain 49 percent of Bosnia (as opposed to 70 percent under Vance-Owen) and assigned the rest to the Bosnian-Croat federation. The plan also had the unforeseen consequence of driving a wedge between Milosevic, who supported it, and the Bosnian Serbs, who did not.

David Calico is Dean Acheson Professor of European Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. This article is adapted from a chapter in his Rethinking Europe's Future (Princeton University Press, forthcoming).

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