Where does Britain go next? Polly Toynbee wrote an excellent piece in Friday’s Guardian [via Politix] about the state of the Union (European) and our (so-called) special friendship with America. Sadly, I really believe that the friendship is now very much a one-way street. We support the US or we don’t. They don’t much care.
America is the only real super-power with the economic and military force to pretty much try and do what they like around the world. Yet a European Union – in several guises – could be a threat to that power and, therefore, a stabilising influence on a very one-sided world. And, if we are honest, even the Americans should understand that could be a safer way for the world to be. A second democratic super-power born not out of ideological fights but pieced together from a similar model to that from which the US grew. In essence, a powerful and united European Union (united by stance and not necessarily under one flag) would provide the series of checks and balances the United Nations seems unable to provide at the moment.
Depending on your viewpoint, this war may (or may not) be right in many ways. Regardless we are there now and we are fighting alongside the US and other nations. When the dust settles on Iraq – as it eventually will – what will the new world order be like? Will we follow the US into any nation they care to wage war against (rightly or wrongly)? Can we still hold our head high at meetings of the EU and look our neighbours in the eye? Are we capable of stepping back and looking for our appropriate place in the new world order? I hope we can.