At College in Miami, Florida, during the last decade of the last millennium(now I feel really old), my International Relations professor, Dr. William Primus, introduced our class to this grand integration movement taking hold of Europe that could result in a large bloc of people wrapped into an economic pact that could spread prosperity for Europe - The Maastricht Treaty, which gave birth to the European Union(EU). Over the years, I continue to share Dr. Primus's enthusiasm and hopes for the EU.
The EU, along with NATO, are the binding economic and security stabilizers of Europe.
But after the 100-year commemorative events marking WWI yesterday in the Balkans, one wonders whether or not Europe can really shrug off a century of war and walk into the future with true unity. On this Blog yesterday: A Tale of Two Commemorations to 100 Years-ago, I wrote of two events commemorating the same event, WWI; but of two different sets of people and the takeaways they have of history.
Without sugar coating this in any way: I saw the aristocracy with Austria's president Heinz Fischer and others remembering Archduke Ferdinand against a backdrop of the music of Haydn's Emperor Quartet that invoked a time of grandeur by the empires of a century ago. On the other hand: I saw the people, the artisans, the lay people, the workers - descending Gavrilo Princip from the skies in angelic dress to carryout the assassination of 100-years-ago to free nations of occupation by empires against a stage setting of music by Vivaldi.
If these two approaches to the past are what is to become Europe, then Europe has majors problems ahead. Henceforth, Europe must find a way to integrate its people into one philosophy toward future prosperity rather than to cling to the past grandeur of a time that will never be again.