The End of the West

The End of the West: The Once and Future Europe

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    The End of the West
    Book Description:

    Has Europe's extraordinary postwar recovery limped to an end? It would seem so. The United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Italy, and former Soviet Bloc countries have experienced ethnic or religious disturbances, sometimes violent. Greece, Ireland, and Spain are menaced by financial crises. And the euro is in trouble. InThe End of the West, David Marquand, a former member of the British Parliament, argues that Europe's problems stem from outdated perceptions of global power, and calls for a drastic change in European governance to halt the continent's slide into irrelevance. Taking a searching look at the continent's governing institutions, history, and current challenges, Marquand offers a disturbing diagnosis of Europe's ills to point the way toward a better future.

    Exploring the baffling contrast between postwar success and current failures, Marquand examines the rebirth of ethnic communities from Catalonia to Flanders, the rise of xenophobic populism, the democratic deficit that stymies EU governance, and the thorny questions of where Europe's borders end and what it means to be European. Marquand contends that as China, India, and other nations rise, Europe must abandon ancient notions of an enlightened West and a backward East. He calls for Europe's leaders and citizens to confront the painful issues of ethnicity, integration, and economic cohesion, and to build a democratic and federal structure.

    A wake-up call to those who cling to ideas of a triumphalist Europe, The End of the West shows that the continent must draw on all its reserves of intellectual and political creativity to thrive in an increasingly turbulent world, where the very language of "East" and "West" has been emptied of meaning.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3805-9
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Ruth O’Brien

    Teaching American politics to Ph.D. students in the United States is always an engaging experience. Understanding how the Constitutional Convention concocted the so-called three-fifths compromise, in which a slave embodied this ratio to reconcile representation between the Southern agrarian slave states and the Northern mercantile free states, leads to lively discussions. Yet addressing the more recent workings of governance is a good way to kill any discussion. By the time we reach federalism, my students begin squirming. Former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s “new federalism” doctrine fires up my students much less than Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and James...

    (pp. xiii-xviii)
    (pp. 1-26)

    For centuries, the theme of Kipling’s “Ballad of East and West” has woven in and out of Western imaginations like a blood-stained thread. It first appeared in the fifth century BCE, when the small and turbulent city-states of ancient Greece fought off the vast Persian Empire to the east. Nearly two and a half millennia later, it provided the rhetorical underpinning for the Atlantic Alliance. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, it surfaced in Francis Fukuyama’s notorious claim that Western democracy had become the “final form of human government.” At the start of the twenty-first century, it reverberated through...

    (pp. 27-66)

    On March 26, 2007, Europe’s leaders assembled in Berlin to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Rome Treaty setting up the European Economic Community, the precursor of today’s European Union. They did their best to avoid triumphalism, but the mood was upbeat. In a resounding anniversary declaration, the assembled leaders insisted that for centuries, Europe had been “an idea, holding out hope of peace and understanding.” That hope, they added, “has been fulfilled.” Following the meeting, José Manuel Barroso, the president of the Brussels-based European Commission, declared that the EU had procured “peace, liberty and prosperity beyond the dreams of...

    (pp. 67-101)

    Lying on my desk in front of me as I type is my passport. Its cover is an elegant confection of maroon and gold. “European Union,” proclaims the first line, in golden capital letters. Beneath, slightly larger golden capital letters add the words: “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” Beneath that, also in gold, are the arms of her Britannic Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, complete with the legendary lion and unicorn. On the first facing page inside, the words “European Union” are repeated. Below them are two lines, translating that term into the two Celtic languages of Great...

    (pp. 102-140)

    On 1 December 2009, after nearly a decade of confusion and vacillation, the EU’s Lisbon Treaty came into force. Like its abortive predecessor, the 2004 Constitutional Treaty, it was designed to counter the centrifugal forces that the admission of twelve new member states had let loose. To some extent, that is what it did. It simplified the Union’s cumbersome decision-making process; gave the European Council of EU heads of government a semi-full-time president; and created a new post of High Representative for foreign affairs. At the same time, it increased the powers of the European Parliament; endowed the Union with...

    (pp. 141-178)

    Boundaries matter. They don’t matter as much as they once did, but the notion that they have dwindled into mere lines on a map is an agreeable fantasy. Despite Google, YouTube, Facebook, e-mails, iPods, cell phones, News International, McDonald’s, Nike, Goldman Sachs, Madonna, climate change, international terrorism, the International Criminal Court, the Red Cross, and the English language, we do not live in a world without borders: try telling an immigration official or a customs officer that you don’t carry a passport because you are a citizen of the world. Capital vaults over national frontiers, but the frontiers are still...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 179-188)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 189-204)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 205-206)