Year XXXIII, 1991, Number 2 - Page 144

 

 

 

Europe and the Policy of World Unification
 
SERGIO PISTONE
 
 
Ever since the editorial “Europe and the first governmental forms of international democracy” (The Federalist, 1990, n. 2), federalists have been asked to discuss, in the framework of a debate which for now remains purely theoretical, the theory that a federal European Community should pursue a foreign policy based exclusively on the instruments of adherence and association, and hence be without military capability. What was suggested, then, was not simply putting aside the question of military competence and concentrating on seeking economic and monetary federation for reasons of political realism (not expecting everything at once), but a refusal on principle of a federation possessing military capability. At the root of this theory is the fundamental concern that a European federation with military power, instead of proving a decisive factor in favour of the policy of World federation, would end up producing a closed and nationalistic Europe, tending to speed the world on its course towards final catastrophe.
I too feel that European unification has to be pursued not to serve the egoistic interests of Europe, but to meet the very pressing need to launch a policy of world unification. On the other hand, I feel that the EC cannot do without military competence if it wants to become an effective federation internally, and to play an effective role in furthering World federation. Thus, the real problem is not whether the European federation which we want should or should not have military capability, but the use to which this capability should and can be put. In this connection it seems to me that there are two fundamental considerations, one from the perspective of world unification policy, the other related to the danger of European nationalism.
Regarding the first point, we must concentrate our intellectual energies increasingly on making clear to ourselves and to others that a policy for world unification is not only a matter of urgent necessity, it is also concretely possible. It is necessary because, as we have been saying for some years now, mankind as a whole is now faced with an ultimatum: “unite or perish”. And it is concretely possible because the end of the East-West conflict, besides making it possible for the EC to expand, taking in all of Central and Eastern Europe, has opened up a glorious prospect: the institutionalization and strengthening of the Helsinki process. This means it has become politically possible to achieve greater and more institutionalized co-operation between North America, Europe and the USSR, with the desirable prospect of expanding this to include other industrial democracies, starting with Japan.
In internal relations, such a system of co-operation should lead to increasingly substantial progress towards arms reduction and common security, the economic recovery and thus consolidation of new democratic experiments in Central-Eastern Europe and the USSR, and growing co-operation and integration on an economic level between the large communities of the Northern hemisphere. In foreign relations this system of co-operation should constitute the basic platform on which the Northern hemisphere could tackle, harmoniously and effectively, the great challenges facing the world: the huge North-South divide and the task of strengthening the UN. It could, in other words, play a leading role in the world unification process, analogous to that played by the Franco-German axis and by “little Europe” with regard to European integration.
On the other hand, if we want to be convincing and not seem to be abstract visionaries, we must highlight quite frankly the difficulties and complexities. In particular we must emphasize the fact that the advancement of the Helsinki process is subordinate to the achievement of real progress in the process of democratic and federal reform, and economic recovery of the USSR. This means that the most immediate requirement is that of helping the USSR by every means in its effort for change.[1] Above all we must recognize the reality that the creation of federal institutions is not on the agenda for world unification. It is not possible at world level, where it is obvious that the huge discrepancies in socioeconomic and democratic progress mean that only intergovernmental cooperation can be developed. However, even in the context of the Helsinki agreements only confederal-functional developments will be possible for a long time to come, without any substantial federal progress; this is because the US is not inclined to concede any sovereignty to supranational organs, the USSR neither wishes to nor is able to, given its state of extreme instability, and Europe, which might be more favourably inclined, does not yet have a supranational government capable of promoting an effective policy for world unification.
If these are the realistic prospects for world unification, it seems to me very unlikely that the EC can become an effective federation on an internal level, and able to play an effective international role in furthering world unification unless it grants itself military competence.
Let us turn now to the problems facing the internal consolidation of European integration. An effective European federation, extending trough all of Europe excluding the USSR, will have to be created, and during this period, the situation will not yet be ripe for the transfer of military sovereignty to world federal institutions. The task of disarming the European nations will therefore fall to European supranational institutions. Until this task has been completed, we will not have an effective federation because there will be a strong imbalance between disarmed supranational institutions and armed nations. In consequence, the community juridical order will remain structurally weak, and, if there are serious crises, it will not be possible for supranational authority to intervene effectively to restore the democratic order violated in a member state, or to prevent effectively violent conflicts between member states. Crises of this nature appear fairly unlikely of course, in the present Community of Twelve, but the situation will be very different in a Community comprising the countries of Eastern Europe, with very fragile democracies and serious ethnic problems.[2]
As regards the policy of world unification, Europe’s fundamental contribution will be the enormous economic strength of the Economic and Monetary Union, once it has been achieved. In this way it will be able (in collaboration with the US, Japan, and other industrial democracies, but with a leading role, since it will be well on the way to becoming the strongest of the industrial democracies) to mobilize the economic resources indispensable for the economic recovery of the East (with expansion towards Eastern-Central Europe and association with the USSR), and for the ransom of the South (with regional integrations and UN agencies for the development of the South). For this the EC must above all endow itself with the federal powers necessary for the realization of EMU, and for the implementation of the foreign economic policies necessary to tackle effectively world economic problems. However, since the policy of world unification also has an aspect of military cooperation, and since this cannot yet be translated into the transfer of military sovereignty to worldwide institutions, the EC must also endow itself with military competence to be able to manage this aspect effectively.
In concrete terms, there should be increasingly substantial progress towards arms reduction and common security in the area of the CSCE. The EC could contribute to this process very effectively if it spoke with a single voice. This can only happen if it has federal competence in foreign policy and security, which would have the function not of increasing its military strength, but essentially of stopping European nation states boycotting or delaying the creation of common security structures at the level of the CSCE.[3] In this connection it is important to remember that if military responsibility remains in the hands of the nation states they will, because of their structural weakness, place crucial importance on the exclusively military aspects of security, and hence resist any prospect of arms reduction. If, on the other hand, military responsibility is transferred into the hands of an EC which was in the process of achieving full economic and monetary integration, its enormous strength in this field would make it much more favourable to arms reduction.[4]
Regarding military co-operation at world level, the fundamental task at this stage is the creation of a strong, permanent UN military force, which should have a policing function (repression of transnational crime), supervision of arms reduction, elimination of international arms trafficking, and intervention in local crises in extreme cases (obviously a serious policy of socio-economic ransom for the South, combined with the deterrent function of a substantial permanent UN military force, should provide less incentive for adventurism such as Saddam’s). Europe should provide its own contingents to the permanent UN military force and could do it effectively only if they were under the direct responsibility of a European government, in other words if they were federal. If not, (as has been shown by the experience of European participation in the Gulf War) there will be constant conflicts between European nation-states, because some countries will avoid their responsibility, while others who fulfil it will claim economic compensation. These conflicts, together with the related questions of national prestige, will have a disruptive influence within the EC.
It is clear, in the light of these considerations, that the EC cannot do other than endow itself with federal military competence,[5] and that the real problem is thus the use of such competence for world unification. Having decided that issue, we must now at this point consider the concern that a federation with military competence could produce a closed and nationalist Europe.
It seems to me that this concern is contradictory to our view of the current evolution of the world. We highlight quite rightly a growing convergence of the raisons d’Etat of the greatest world powers. This is due in part to the worldwide significance of the ultimatum “unite or perish”; and in part to the end of the East-West conflict which brought down the fundamental obstacle that had kept mankind from recognizing its common destiny. And we observe that this convergence of interests has put in motion a process of progressive attenuation of power politics, and the beginning of a policy of world unification. If this view is well-founded, it is reasonable to suppose that a Europe capable of acting as a single unit on a world level should become actively involved in this trend, and thus be spurred to use its own powers, in economic, monetary, foreign and military policy, in order to promote world unification, and not for selfish and disruptive nationalism. This supposition appears all the more well-founded if we bear in mind the specific characteristics of European raison d’Etat. In this respect, two considerations seem to me decisive.
In the first place, the EC is heavily dependent on world trade, and thus it is in its own interest to help Eastern Europe and the Southern hemisphere (by transferring ever larger amounts of resources from arms spending to development co-operation), in order to consolidate its own economic prospects. Not only that, however: it has also got a vital interest in promoting the development of Eastern Europe and the Southern hemisphere to keep in check the migratory phenomenon that otherwise threatens to compromise even the democratic basis of Western Europe itself. In the second place, a real federal structure, such as the EC will have if it completes the process of integration, represents for a certain period a very strong constitutional obstacle to the affirmation of European nationalism, and thus to the option in favour of a fortress Europe, which would, rather, require a centralized and authoritarian system. The decisive progress in the policy of world unification, which the European federation would be impelled to favour, should therefore create, in the meantime, a situation in which the emergence of a closed and nationalistic Europe would gradually become structurally impossible.
The belief that, objectively speaking, the convergence of interests of the greatest world powers, and the specific nature of Europe’s raison d’Etat, together constitute a powerful factor favourable to the affirmation of a strong world unification policy on the part of the European federation, clearly does not mean that this policy will become inevitable automatically. In reality, the opportunities for progress which the historical situation offers can be exploited to a greater or lesser extent depending on the level of awareness, ability and will in the political class. Federalists have an important role to play here, in fighting the resistance, which there will certainly be, against a coherent European policy for world unification. They will have to exercise all their influence to get this policy firmly enshrined in the European constitution, so that it becomes the central tenet of the European Government’s international policy.
Concerning the first of these aims, the following points should be borne in mind:
1) in the European constitution the commitment to the creation of a World Government and to the concomitant transference of sovereignty has to be explicitly stated;
2) there must also be an explicit commitment to a ban on the international arms trade (as in the Japanese constitution) and a commitment to put European troops at the permanent disposal of the UN to constitute an effective international police force; 3) the competences of defence and foreign policy must be concurrent and must be distributed among the European, national and local levels on the basis of the principle of subsidiarity. The purpose is to achieve an effective federation, but at the same time to constitute an important constitutional obstacle to Europe becoming closed and nationalist.
As regards the international policy of the European federation, the fundamental objective which must be pursued is co-ordination and parallelism between the federalization of foreign policy and European defence on the one hand, and the strengthening of the CSCE and the UN on the other. In this general framework two objectives of particular importance are the substitution of the EC for France and Great Britain in the UN Security Council, and the transfer of the French and British nuclear capability not to the European government, but to the UN.
The fact that the European policy of world unification depends also on political will (and thus also on the influence which federalists can bring to bear) does not mean however that it can go against the basic tendency of the historical process. If therefore our vision of this process is wrong, and what the future holds in store for us is an aggravation rather than an attenuation of power politics, the EC will not be able to carry out any policy of world unification, independently of whether it acquires federal competence in military matters or not, and will not be able to impede an evolution towards a new Middle Ages, or even to the final holocaust. If, on the other hand, our vision of the course of history is distorted not by excessive optimism but by excessive pessimism, and thus possibilities emerge of important developments in world federalism, either at a global or partial level, long before it seems realistic to hypothesise now, the existence of an EC which possesses federal competence in the military field, within the limits that we have seen, will certainly not impede the establishment of political will determined to seize these possibilities fully and immediately. This is also because federalization at a European level of the armed forces cannot but be gradual, and thus there will be no particular difficulties in extending it to federalization at world level.
In conclusion, let me stress that, in my view, thinking it necessary to give the EC military competence is not the same thing as thinking, as some commentators and political representatives seem to do, that the creation of a European army has now become the primary objective of the European unification process. In reality, the primary objective still remains economic and monetary union. At the same time, however, increasing importance lies in Europe’s new responsibilities in the world: its commitment to solidarity with Eastern Europe and with the Southern hemisphere, and its contribution to the reform and strengthening of the UN.[6] With the situation deteriorating dramatically in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, while conditions in the developing world and the ecological state of the planet continue to worsen, it is in fact increasingly difficult to involve new forces in the struggle for European unification. This can only be done by making very clear the link between this struggle and the struggle to find an effective way of tackling the fundamental problems facing the world.
If this is the case, then having concentrated attention on the alternative “European federation with or without military competence” has, in my view, introduced more confusion than clarification to the question of the role of a Europe in favour of world unification. That is, it has given rise to the suspicion in many sincere Europeanists that federalists were moving from a realistic pacifism to an abstract and wishful-thinking type of pacifism. This has in some cases weakened our struggle in favour of European federation, and for a European policy of world unification.


[1] Today it makes no sense to propose extending the EC to include the USSR; it is more realistic to think of a close association between the EC and a USSR that is reformed and capable of being one of the pillars of a reformed CSCE. In the long term prospect of World federation, on the other hand, it is entirely legitimate to consider the objective of a European federation including not the USSR but its republics (probably with Russia divided into two or three states, given its excessive size). This is because among the components of a World federation, there will be countries the size of China and India, alongside which there will be large regional federations, such as Europe from the Atlantic to the Pacific, a Pan-American Union, a Pan-African Union, and so on. The prospect of a European federation including the republics of the USSR could obviously be dramatically brought forward by the USSR breaking up in the near future, always provided that such a process did not produce a civil war, with catastrophic consequences for the whole world.
[2] By “disarmament of member states of a European federation” we mean a situation in which they have at their disposal sufficient armed forces for maintaining internal public order (which, except in exceptionally critical cases, must remain a matter for national competence), but not large enough to constitute a danger for neighbouring states and an obstacle to the establishment of federal authority. The requirement for this kind of disarmament of the member states of a European federation, thereby rendering the federal juridical order more effective, is not irrelevant. This is shown by the fact that in federalist circles no-one thinks, as far as I know, of a World federation whose World Government is disarmed, and the member states armed.
[3] With regard to this, we should examine the idea of a new NATO with three central pillars: North America, Europe, and the USSR. Some interesting proposals along these lines are developed by W. Loth, “Das Ende der Nachkriegsordnung”, in B. Schoch (Hrsg.), Friedensanalysen, Frankfurt, Suhrkamp-Verlag, 1991.
[4] See my article “Implicazioni istituzionali della difesa europea”, in Uni-Europa, XVIll, 1988, n. 11-12.
[5] These competences should basically be concerned with the UN army contingents, disarmament, the arms trade, and the arms industry.
[6] The theory supported in the editorial of The Federalist quoted at the beginning, according to which a European federation without military competence would have great value as a model for the rest of the world, because it would anticipate a fundamental aspect of World federation, namely the disappearance of armies, is not convincing. This is not only because of the considerations made above (a European federation incapable of disarming its own nations would be a bad example for the rest of the world), but also because it does not clearly acknowledge the current importance of the policy for world unification, and the enormous responsibilities that Europe is called upon to take on in that respect. As long as the policy of world unification was not on the political agenda, it was right to insist essentially on the role of the European federation as a model for other regional integrations and for world unification. Today, however, what is expected of Europe is not a symbolic gesture, and an empty one at that, like the renunciation of federal military power, leaving nations armed however, but an extraordinary commitment, of active solidarity, to solving the economic, ecological and security problems of the world.

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