"Chances for a Transatlantic Union" to be held at the
Wiesbaden University of Applied Sciences / Fachhochschule
Friday, December 7, 2001, 1 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, December 8, 2001, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This workshop is the first in a series of three. It serves predominantly to establish a German network of experts in the field, including those really interested. Workshop language is German. One or two papers will eventually be given in English. Presently we imagine a cvlassical format for this workshop, i.e. papers of 40 minutes in plenary sessions and statements of 15 minutes in working groups.
The second workshop will be on the European level. Workshop languages will be the two working languages of the EU, English and French.
The third workshop will finally be a truly transatlantic, open to Europeans and (all the) Americans at large.
Nobody could possibly have imagined that alliances like those against terrorism forged by the incredible terroristic attacks in the US could come together (and we still tend to not take note of the similar and comparably effective Tamil suicide attacks in SriLanka): the Chinese have problems with Muslims in some of their provinces, India, Iran, Pakistan and Russia are in the same front … and all western and/or occidental nations are firmly behind the US. But how long will this alliance last, since it only came into being because of the common enemy? - This workshop had been planned long before Sept. 11 and has as its goal to detect possible connecting links of future alliances, blocs or unions (see also the attached article) as well as barriers against, whilst fundamentalisms or dangers like those from terrorisms should much rather be but starting points of our analyses.
In focussing on paradigmatic questions like the following three, the workshop further wants to transcend our present time considerably:
a possible situation further out in the future is characterized by total independence of industrialized countries (IC) from developing countries (DC) in view of e.g. raw materials, markets or security partners or of complete autarchy on the basis of own “critical size”. ICs are only interested either in the advancement of their “collective intelligence” or in conquering space, etc. Other parts of the globe are only of interest in as far as they contribute to the globes climate (or pollution) or in view of their capacity to develop, produce and utilize arms.
Following Zbigniew Brzezinski, the US, being the hegemon of the world, would only be interested to assure that no rival could come up anywhere in the world and that it is present militarily in all of the world’s regions. But the US also wants to be recognized e.g. as democratic, etc.
In as far Europe (or the EU) wants, on the one hand, be recognized by the US as an equal partner (in particular within NATO), and, and on the other hand, reveals incapable or unwilling (with what reason whatsoever) to develop militarily in parallel to the US and to think and act alike in world affaires. In short: Aren’t the socio-economic as well as the scientific-technological patterns of development of the EU and the US too different? etc.
The relationship between Europe and North America or the transatlantic relationships have a long history. Since long and till recently, the relations of these “pillars” on each side of the Atlantic (with roughly one billion people) were depressed, despite strong feelings of closeness. It will be another task of this workshop to discuss possible futures of this relationship. - The historical law, that every pressure induces a counter-pressure, is still valid: NATO regains its position as strongest link, basic values like democracy, law and market economy regain importance, globalising strategies are given a second thought and states are recognized anew as indispensable. Old questions are asked anew, like “which international regulations can be agreed upon and how to enforce them?”, Huntington’s “Clash of Civilisations” is discussed anew and notions like “occident” are rediscovered.
Peter H. Mettler, Ph.D.
Professor for Societal Sciences at the Wiesbaden University of Applied Sciences / Fachhochschule
Privatdozent for sociology of planning and technology at the University of Frankfurt/M.
Kurt-Schumacher-Ring 18, D-65197 Wiesbaden / Germany
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