For many journalists, intellectuals, and politicians, the expected arrival of a European economic and quasi-political community in 1992 was a consummation devoutly to be wished. Despite murmurings from English Tories and French New Rightists, mass-circulation publications on both sides of the Atlantic greeted with unmistakable jubilation the order that was supposed to emerge. The European community would empower ethnic minorities, thereby pleasing various factions opposed to nation-states, from Frisian Socialist Greens to Hapsburg legitimists. It would encase Germans in a structure of economic and administrative unity and keep them from venting what some view as their aggressive national character. The new community, it is still hoped, can be extended to the Eastern Europeans, as Charles Gati among others has pointed out, and thereby be made to counteract the authoritarian and nationalist traditions among Slavs and Hungarians. Notwithstanding any concern about possible economic competition with the United States, the democratic globalist Ben Wattenberg marvels at the prospect of “twelve Western European nations with 320 million people, all pledged to free trade and unhindered migration.” With Eastern Europe, this new bloc can be expanded to incorporate half a billion people, working consciously or unwittingly toward global free trade and democracy for everyone.
Sides for or against the new order were taken for millenarian and not simply economic reasons. For many of its proponents, 1992 pointed the way toward the end of history and politics, of a world divided into adversarial states and nations. Such visionary thinking was already present among planners of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952. Robert Schuman, who created the design for that six-nation agreement, saw it as a path leading toward a “humanity freed of hate and fear which can relearn Christian fraternity.”
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