Οι Εκδόσεις Ποιότητα πρωτοπορώντας κυκλοφόρησαν πολλά βιβλία τα οποία δεν αναλύουν μόνο τα ζητήματα οικονομικής ευρωπαϊκής ολοκλήρωσης αλλά και τα στρατηγικά ζητήματα της Ευρώπης και των Ευρωτλαντικών σχέσεων. Για παράδειγμα, το βιβλίο των Αρβανιτόπουλου Κ., Ήφαιστου Π., Ευρωατλαντικές σχέσειες και το βιβλίου του Π. Ήφαιστου, Διπλωματία και στρατηγική των μεγάλων ευρωπαϊκών δυνάμεων. Τα βιβλία κορυφαίων διεθνολόγων, όπως του John Mearsheimer το Η τραγωδία της πολιτικής των μεγάλων δυνάμεων, επίσης, εξετάζουν τα ευρωπαϊκά ζητήματα υπό το πρίσμα των πλανητικών σχέσεων και την εξέλιξη της διεθνούς πολιτικής ευρύτερα. Το κείμενο των New York Times που παραθέτουμε εμπίπτει στο πεδίο της προβληματικής μονιμότερων τάσεων που αναλύονται σε πολλά βιβλία των εκδόσεών μας. Μεταξύ άλλων, αναλύει τον εύθραυστο και ρευστό χαρακτήρα των ευρωατλαντικών σχέσεων, τη ρευστότητα των διεθνών εξελίξεων, την αμηχανία των ελίτ της Ευρώπης και της Ατλαντικής Συμμαχίας και την απουσία συγκροτημένης στρατηγικής στην εξόχως ρευστή Μέση Ανατολή.
BERLIN — This year the Munich Security Conference turns 50. For decades the gathering has been one of the most important places for the trans-Atlantic community to exchange ideas, find common ground and devise foreign and security policy.
But when politicians, military and business leaders, think tank experts and journalists gather this Friday in southern Germany, they won’t be in the mood for much celebration.
That’s because, over the last year, the Western security community has seen a series of setbacks unprecedented since the end of the Cold War. It finds itself in a period of strategic drift, with an increasingly isolationist superpower that seems to have lost the spirit to lead and a self-centered Europe unready to step up to the plate.
Of course, things haven’t been always rosy in Munich. Just take the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003, when an emotional German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, uttered his now famous line — “Excuse me, I am not convinced” — in the face of an uneasy American defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld, exposing the deep rift that American war plans had created in the West.
Not long after, the German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, and the French president, Jacques Chirac, took things a step further, calling for a multilateral world to replace the unilateral order imposed by the United States.
Now we have a classic case of “beware what you wish for.” Eleven years and one global financial crisis later, we can see in Syria what such a world might look like, with rogue states, regional wannabes and nonstate actors filling the vacuum that America’s absence has created.
To be sure, the United States remains an unrivaled power, with military resources and economic prowess that no other nation can match. The risk is not so much that another country might take its place; in a way, it is that no one will.
Syria is a cautionary tale. It shows that the leadership vacuum is not going to be filled by benign actors, as Mr. Schröder and Mr. Chirac hoped, but by rogue actors like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Iran — and not only in Syria.
Libya is becoming a hotbed of extremism; Al Qaeda and other groups are using the town of Derna, near Benghazi, as a new logistics hub in the region. The borders of northern Africa are becoming increasingly porous, and global jihadis are using that erosion to their advantage. The order established by the colonial powers in the Middle East after the end of World War I is in danger of dissolving.
The situation would be less dire if Europe showed more ambition to take over some of America’s balancing functions. But so far that seems to be a vain hope, both in practical and political terms.
Practically, Europe is steadily losing its capacity to project force over long distances for a prolonged time. Every year, in a usually cold and snowy Munich, the NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, urges his organization’s European members not to cut their defense budgets to the bone, or at least to do more pooling of resources to spend their money more efficiently. To no avail.
That’s partly for political reasons. In recent decades, many European states have largely outsourced their security to the United States, which provided a defensive umbrella and protected global trade routes vital for European commerce and energy supplies.
This enabled most Western European states to invest their money in lavish welfare systems instead of powerful armies.
As a result, many European countries have grown out of the habit of thinking in hard, strategic terms.
But Russia’s recent efforts to force Ukraine and Armenia into abandoning Europe should be a reminder that we are not living in a world ruled by accepted international norms, as many Europeans believe.
The savage killing in Syria is proof, too, that there is no such thing as an “international community” that would intervene when the going got rough.
In recent years the Obama administration has used the Munich conference to assure Europeans that America’s pivot to Asia doesn’t mean abandoning Europe and the Middle East.
And for a time, Europe chose to believe this. Enhancing its foreign and security posture didn’t score high on the agenda while the Continent was fending off a financial meltdown. This year though, with the euro crisis seemingly contained, it might be the right time for the United States to change script.
To be clear, further American disentanglement from the Middle East is not good for the region, or for the West as a whole.
But if this is where the United States is heading — as many experts fear — it would be better to challenge the Europeans with some frank talk in Munich.
The American delegation might say: “The Middle East needs a strong outside stabilizer in order not to explode or become a large ungoverned space. But we don’t want to own this region anymore, and strategically, it is much more important to you than to us, given our increasing energy independence. So prepare yourself to take over in five years or so. Because we will reduce our role to what is absolutely necessary. We will keep the Russians out, we will keep the Iranians down by preventing the bomb. But for the rest we want Europe to get in.”
That would at least generate a real debate in Munich about what Europe can and should do to help stop the current trajectory of Western decline and to help shore up a liberal world order, which benefits an overwhelming majority of people worldwide.
Clemens Wergin is the foreign editor of the German newspaper group Die Welt and the author of the blog Flatworld.