The Belgian Curtain

Sam Vaknin
ᨰThe Belgian Curtain (Europe after Communism)

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Title: The Belgian Curtain
Author: Sam Vaknin
Release Date: June, 2005 [EBook #8217] [This file was first posted on July 3, 2003]
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: US-ASCII

(c) 2002 Copyright Lidija Rangelovska.

The Belgian Curtain
Europe after Communism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.
Editing and Design:
Lidija Rangelovska
Lidija Rangelovska
A Narcissus Publications Imprint, Skopje 2003
First published by United Press International - UPI
Not for Sale! Non-commercial edition.
(c) 2002 Copyright Lidija Rangelovska.
All rights reserved. This book, or any part thereof, may not be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from:
Lidija Rangelovska - write to:
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Visit the Author Archive of Dr. Sam Vaknin in "Central Europe Review":
Visit Sam Vaknin's United Press International (UPI) Article Archive
I. European Union and NATO - The Competing Alliances
II. The War in Iraq
III. How the West Lost the East
IV. Left and Right in a Divided Europe
V. Forward to the Past - Capitalism in Post-Communist Europe
VI. Transition in Context
VII. Eastern Advantages
VIII. Europe's Four Speeds
IX. Switching Empires
X. Europe's Agricultural Revolution
XI. Winning the European CAP
XII. History of Previous Currency Unions
XIII. The Concert of Europe, Interrupted
XIV. The Eastern Question Revisited
XV. Europe's New Jews
XVI. The Author
XVII. About "After the Rain"
EU and NATO - The Competing Alliances
By: Dr. Sam Vaknin
Also published by United Press International (UPI)
Saturday's vote in Ireland was the second time in 18 months that its increasingly disillusioned citizenry had to decide the fate of the European Union by endorsing or rejecting the crucial Treaty of Nice. The treaty seeks to revamp the union's administration and the hitherto sacred balance between small and big states prior to the accession of 10 central and east European countries. Enlargement has been the centerpiece of European thinking ever since the meltdown of the eastern bloc.
Shifting geopolitical and geo-strategic realities in the wake of the September 11 atrocities have rendered this project all the more urgent. NATO - an erstwhile anti-Soviet military alliance is search of purpose - is gradually acquiring more political hues. Its remit has swelled to take in peacekeeping, regime change, and nation-building.
Led by the USA, it has expanded aggressively into central and northern Europe. It has institutionalized its relationships with the countries of the Balkan through the "Partnership for Peace" and with Russia through a recently established joint council. The Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary - the eternal EU candidates - have full scale members of NATO for 3 years now.
The EU responded by feebly attempting to counter this worrisome imbalance of influence with a Common Foreign and Security Policy and a rapid deployment force. Still, NATO's chances of replacing the EU as the main continental political alliance are much higher than the EU's chances of substituting for NATO as the pre-eminent European military pact. the EU is hobbled by minuscule and decreasing defense spending by its mostly pacifistic members and by the backwardness of their armed forces.
That NATO, under America's thumb, and the vaguely anti-American EU are at cross-purposes emerged during the recent spat over the International Criminal Court. Countries, such as Romania, were asked to choose between NATO's position - immunity for American soldiers on international peacekeeping missions - and the EU's (no such thing). Finally - and typically - the EU backed down. But it was a close call and it cast in sharp relief the tensions inside the Atlantic partnership.
As far as the sole superpower is concerned, the strategic importance of western Europe has waned together with the threat posed by a dilapidated Russia. Both south Europe and its northern regions are emerging as pivotal. Airbases in Bulgaria are more useful in the fight against Iraq than airbases in Germany.
The affairs of Bosnia - with its al-Qaida's presence - are
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