Wednesday, February 18, 2004

To continue my thinking aloud about the whole Democratic Globalism notion, and the question of "ad hoc" alliances and treaty organizations…

The cautionary example of CENTO and SEATO illustrates that such treaty organizations are essentially fragile and transient, and it is my belief that they distort diplomatic perceptions and calculations by imposing increasingly arbitrary, rigid definitions over what can often be highly fluid situations.

NATO is the only surviving example, and it has been effectively re-negotiated at least two times in the last fifteen years, and currently is in a sort of limbo. It is being used to house several different communities of interest which are essentially alien to the original community of interest which inspired its creation. I'd call those conflicting communities an "Atlantic Community" and a "Continental Community". The basic conflict between the two communities is not so violent or extreme as to cause an outright break, but the difference in diplomatic philosophy is very close to rendering the treaty organization moribund. There are any number of European nations which are being whipsawed between the two communities, due to the confusion engendered by the existence of NATO.

The Atlantic Community is inspired by democratic expansionism, and welcomes the new eastern members as a consolidation of the gains of democratic government throughout the whole of Europe, less some outliers in the Balkans and Belorus. The Continental Community is inspired by a species of Internationalism, and welcomes the new eastern members on universalist grounds, the hope of staving off demographic decline, and European Union expansionism. In other words, the Atlantic Community views the Drang Nach Osten in political, strategic terms, while the Continental Community views it as something like a totalizing, neocolonial expansion of a liberal empire.

Or am I totally full of shit?

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