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August 1st, 2008, 08:52
I don't think the EU is in any danger of terminal decay yet. I think the main problem is that there's a significant disconnect between what people think it is or should be, and what it actually is. In fact, IMO that's a mistake Khanna makes as well — for example, he suggests that the best way to organize global governance would be with a "G3" of his three empires. That ignores the fact that the EU doesn't have a common voice on foreign policy or diplomacy, and as far as I can tell, isn't about to come up with one.
But the EU's "alphabet soup" modus operandi does seem to be working well enough: setting standards, building institutions, creating horizontal connections across a wide variety of domains and levels, both inside and outside the actual union. The EU is less like the classic imperial spiderweb with a clear center and a single spider in it, and more like a big colony of spiders weaving a big, ugly, and sticky web. The EU is a bit like the old joke about a marriage being like siege warfare — those that are out, want in, and those that are in, want out.
But yeah, I think he's seeing the EU through somewhat rose-colored glasses. He's seeing things there that he wants to see, rather than how they actually are. OTOH the general tone of his book is an exploration of possibilities with less attention paid to risks — what countries or empires should do to succeed, rather than what they shouldn't do to avoid failing. (Rather alarmingly, he didn't have any good suggestions for America, other than "re-invent yourself completely, from cultural values to instititutions.")
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