Havel, on Euro-Atlantic Tensions: From the same speech quoted in the post below:
Europe should perhaps remind itself, more than it has before, that the two greatest wars in the world's history to date grew on its soil from conflicts between European countries; and, that on both occasions it was the United States -- which had no part in the outbreak of those conflicts -- that eventually made the decisive contribution to the victory of the forces of freedom and justice. And more than that: Who knows whether Western Europe would have been able to hold its ground during the Cold War and withstand the Stalinist, or the Soviet or the Communist, expansion if it had not been backed by the immense potential of strength brought in by the United States, among other things within NATO? And it was, again, the United States that acted as a driving force in the solution -- though apparently belated and imperfect -- of certain European conflicts that emerged after the collapse of the Iron Curtain. Would Europe have been able to resolve them on its own? I am not certain. Looking back at all we have been through during the twentieth century, and witnessing all that is happening today -- with the United States being inevitably involved in some way or to some extent -- Europeans should be more conscious of the roots and the type of the American responsibility and, if necessary, show a certain amount of understanding for the occasional insensitivity, clumsiness or self-importance that may come with this responsibility. I would even go so far as to profess my feeling that every European who blames the United States for the manner of subjugation of the world's economy by its global corporations should realize that it was Europe that gave birth to the entire culture of profit and economic expansion and laid this culture in America's cradle. It is not very wise to blame our own mirror. Actually, is this not an inadmissible ethnic interpretation of the problem? It is no accident that the large corporations are called "supranational"!Posted by at November 20, 2002 02:03 PM
On the other hand, America should realize not only the fact that it owes a substantial part of its greatness and strength to the European roots of its civilization. First and foremost, it should be aware that it might still need Europe very badly indeed. It is not so difficult to imagine that other powers, equally advanced as today's USA, might emerge on various continents of our planet ten or twenty years from now and that a close cultural, political and security link with half a billion Europeans might prove to be very useful for the United States, even if merely for the purpose of maintaining balance. Perhaps all those complicated debates with that fussing gaggle that Europe may occasionally resemble in the eyes of the Americans have meaning after all and are worth pursuing again and again. Where but on European soil, for that matter, can America find a spiritually closer ally or partner in the future?