Keeping Thailand Off Balance


THE SIX BECOME NINE Prospects for a New Europe by john mander london The expansion of the European Economic Community from six members to nine is bound to alter the pattern of power m Europe,...

...THE SIX BECOME NINE Prospects for a New Europe by john mander london The expansion of the European Economic Community from six members to nine is bound to alter the pattern of power m Europe, but nobody can be quite sure how Before Norway bowed out, it was assumed that the increased northern Protestant influence would help to counter the inbuilt Catholic majority of the old Common Market fashioned by Kon-rad Adenauer, Robert Schuman and Alcide De Gaspen Similarly, the new entrants were expected to provide a better balance between the Conservative-Gaullist and Social Democratic members of the EEC Though Norway's defection has set back this kind of speculation, the general feeling remains that the addition of Britain, Denmark and Ire land to the EEC will bring political and military consequences of some importance In fact, the feeling was reinforced at the Common Market summit conference in Pans last month, when leaders of the old six and the three new nations that will formally join the EEC in January pledged to form a "European union" by 1980 Despite their many differences on how far or fast the EEC should proceed toward political integration, they agreed to draft a report, by the end of 1975, describing what union should mean Some observers explained this unexpected progress as a response to Norway's decision, which had pointed up the need to revive the spirit of pan-European political cooperation that the Com mon Market represents In truth, the Norwegians' September 25 rejection of EEC membership in a national referendum will do greater harm to them than to their potential partners By precipitating the resignation of Prime Minister Trygve Bratteh and his Cabinet, they have triggered a government crisis, the long-term economic effects are bound to be disastrous, with a drying-up of investment and frequent devaluations looming ahead Yet the result was not surprising, given the present outlook of the Norwegian people, particularly of its younger generation After all, Norway was being asked to make its decision in 1972, not 1952, and popular attitudes have changed enormously from what they were 20 years ago I see no point in denying that the EEC was originally a by-product of the Cold War, specifically of the urgent need to reconcile France and Germany after a half-century of catastrophic conflicts Pans permitted Bonn to rebuild its industrial and military strength, and was compensated in return by the lavish agricultural subsidies the EEC gave French farmers Recently, these agricultural policies have been bitterly attacked by British antimarketeers, since Britain will be sharing a large proportion of their costs with Germany Denmark and Ireland, both heavily dependent on agricultural exports, seem fairly happy with the situation, but Britain will almost certainly press for a complete re appraisal Nonetheless, it was this industrial-agricultural trade-off that enabled the EEC to get off the ground and to achieve far greater growth rates than Britain from 1958-72 The smaller Common Market partners-Italy, Holland, Belgium, and Luxemburg-whose economies were naturally intertwined with those of France and Germany, also benefitted from the arrangement Thus, al though Charles de Gaulle prevented the EEC from playing any significant political role, its economic achievement has been undeniable The average real wage of the European worker has doubled over the past decade, that of the British worker has risen by only 30 per cent Indeed, the chief motivation of pro-Europeans in all three British parties has been to share in the EEC's huge market, with the newcomers, it amounts to some 250 million consumers, more than the combined populations of the United States and Canada The success of the Common Market since the '50s has in turn, altered the complexion of the Cold War Whereas Europe may have appeared ripe for plucking immediately after World War II, with American assistance it experienced a remarkably rapid economic recovery and by the '60s the Kremlin recognized it would have to abandon its designs on the central continent Consequently, the Soviets proceeded to develop a classical double-outflanking movement to the north and south of this bastion, as reflected m the huge expansion of Russian seapower over the past 10 years Soviet penetration in the Mediterranean has proved rather tenuous and poses no serious military threat today Against the overwhelming strength of nat-including the US Sixth Fleet, Israel, Iran, Greece, Turkey (guarding the all-important Dardanelles), Italy, France, Britain (in Malta) and and the lessons of the two World Wars have not been lost on them The USSR now faces, in effect, the same dilemma as did Germany A blockade could be opposed only by the kind of counterblockade the Germans attempted in 1917 and 1942 Today, of course, American reinforcements are within a few hours' flying distance of Europe, and it can be argued that this has transformed the situation radically But the difficulty, if not impossibility, of meeting Western Europe's heavy Spain (effectively, though not formally, a nato ally)the vulnerable states of the North African littoral would not find the Soviet fleet a very effective defense It may be that the Kremlin already realizes this and, being increasingly preoccupied with China, is about to retire from the race The Russian tendency toward ruthlessness is matched by a proclivity for realism With regard to Europe, we must assume that two threads of considerable antiquity come together in the Soviets' current strategy They have always desired warm-water ports, dependence on foreign imports would once again become a critical factor in a prolonged war In addition, given that the Soviets now possess seaborne rockets capable of being directed against the naval and commercial ports of the entire North Atlantic seaboard, that area would appear far more crucial to them than either the Mediterranean or the Indian Ocean Of the two possible approaches to it, the Western Allies would initially have a powerful grip on the Baltic at Denmark, though there is obviously some doubt about how long this could De maintained The Arctic route, on the other hand, would offer the Soviet fleet the greatest free-dom of movement, malting it imperative that nato provide an effective defense there Accordingly, the attitude of the Nordic countries toward nato is of more than academic interest Today, the alliance's monitoring of Russian naval movements is conducted from installations m Norway, Iceland, Greenland, and Britain North Atlantic bases were so essential in World War II that Britain occupied Iceland and Winston Churchill toyed with plans to take over Ireland as well With its withdrawal from "East of Suez" over the past decade, Britain's mam defense effort has returned to the North Atlantic The German navy, too, now assumes that the North Sea rather than the Baltic would be its primary theater of action Meanwhile, as neutralism has declined m Britain during the last 10 years, it has been steadily increasing in Northern Europe Norway's rejection of EEC membership was strongly influenced not only by the fears of farmers and fishermen concerned about their livelihood but by the New Left "neoisolationism" now popular among Scandinavian youth If the trend continues, pressure may develop m Norway and Iceland for withdrawal from nato The traditional European neutrals-Sweden, Switzerland and Austria-are all expected to remain outside of nato but to arrange satisfactory terms for dealing with the Common Market It was, of course, Northern Europe's deeply ingrained democratic tradition that led Norway, Ireland and Denmark to hold referenda on EEC membership It lost in Norway by 54 per cent to 46 per cent, won in Denmark by a respectable margin and in Ireland by an overwhelming majority Britain, of course, has not permitted a referendum-just as well, perhaps, since opinion polls suggest that its voters might have behaved like the Norwegians Yet it Prime Minister Edward Hean was Known for any one thing in the 1970 election, it was his near-fanatical pro-Europeanism Having won the election, ne negotiated the terms and presented them to the House of Commons There the elected representatives of the people made their view very plain, the handful of antimarket Conservatives was easily outbalanced by the support of the Liberals and 69 Labor members, including some of the most distinguished leaders of the party Whatever the antimarketeers-and they are still vociferous-may say, they cannot deny that the Sovereign Parliament has spoken The British decision had considerable, if not decisive, influence on the subsequent votes in Ireland and Denmark Both countries are so dependent on the British market for their agricultural exports that they had little choice but to follow Lon don's lead Though Norway is hardly less dependent?0 per cent of its exports will be subject to the new EEC tariff barrierit traditionally looks at least as much to Sweden as to Europe Ironically, however, the Swedes are now switching their investments to Denmark and other Common Market nations to be on the right side of the EEC barrier Many observers think that when the economic repercussions begin to be felt, forcing Norway to prune back its famous welfare state, the Norwegians may change their minds in a second referendum The basic problem with Eu rope's present course of development is the lack of any real link between the economic and political structures already in existence Most countries would like to make the Brussels institutions more powerful-and at the same time more democratic-but it is not at all easy to see how this will be done Britain and France are both essentially Gaulhst They view the nation-state as the ultimate reality, and are unenthusiastic about yielding much sovereignty to a European union, as they made quite clear during last months Paris summit meeting It is significant, however, that every member of the Common Market except Ireland also belongs to NATO And Ireland, which is not a committed neutral like Sweden or Switzerland, might well change its mind about joining the military affiance Two possible Future EEC nations, Portugal and Norway, are already in nato French President Georges Pompidou has indicated that he would like a post-Franco regime in Spam to join the EEC-and nato membership would quickly follow In short, there would then exist a powerful economic-military partnership binding 12 nations comprising some 90 per cent of the population of non-Communist Europe Those who have always opposed the Common Market would contend that such a consolidation-constituting a fifth center of world power could endanger world peace Their argument is usually founded on the Cold War premise that a European union would scare the Soviets into taking hostile action In fact, there is very little evidence to support this conjecture The USSR seems perfectly reconciled to the present expansion of the EEC, and it is even considering diplomatic representation m Brussels If one reads President Nixon's strategy aright, a general movement toward European self-reliance would be welcome to Washington It may be welcome to Soviet leaders, too, since they probably appreciate that an unstable Europe is not really in their interest and that coexistence with a rich but unthreatening Europe could be most profitable for Moscow over the next few decades Hence, it can be argued that the new Europe set up by the Allies in the early '50s, besides winning the approval of the US and the USSR, may yet provide the political framework necessary for its proper development John Mander's most recent book is The Unrevolutionary Society...

Vol. 55 • November 1972 • No. 22

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