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Why Central Europe Needs Atlanticism Now

A Must Read article in The American Interest by A. Wess Mitchell, President of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington DC and Jan Havranek, Director of the Defense Policy and Strategy Division at the Czech Ministry of Defense, who writes in his personal capacity.

Although the piece is specifically addressed to US readers and calls for more American leadership, European students of history (of all ages) should read it, including those government officials and politicians in Germany and elsewhere who claim to think beyond the next four years.

"In short, it isn't just Atlanticism that is in crisis; it is the entire paradigm of post-Cold War Europe. The fact that Central European countries are less Atlanticist has not necessarily made them more Europeanist. On the new European map, economic power resides in the east-central core of the continent, in the nexus of overlapping geopolitical and economic interests between Germany and the states of the Baltic-to-Black Sea corridor. This configuration resembles the Mitteleuropa of Bismarck, stripped of its Prussian military overtones, more than it does the federative European vision of Monnet and Schuman, or the Atlanticist vision of Asmus and Vondra. (...)

The point of the post-Cold War effort, recall, was to solve for good the recurrent geopolitical problems that had wrecked the European 20th century and had caused a good deal of trouble on the American side of the Atlantic as well. That meant preventing both the return of geopolitics from without and of nationalism from within-both of them, because the two have a tendency to feed one another. And it is precisely this dual strategic goal that is now at risk, thanks to five emerging trends: the crisis of European integration; the reemergence of Germany; flagging U.S. strategic interest in the region; the re-emergence of Central European nationalism; and the hardening of authoritarianism in the post-Soviet space.
Atlanticism's role is far from finished in the region. Properly revived, it can guard against the return of geopolitics, it can fight the institutional erosion that is increasingly found in the region's still-young democracies, and it can thus cement the full array of Central Europe's hard-won gains of the past two and a half decades. Ironic as it may seem, a revived Atlanticism can also re-forge the shield that allowed European integration to advance in the first place."

I recommend the entire long sobering analysis , not just this quote and appreciate feedback.


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