What role could a European Union and Germany play in international relations. Germany and the European Union are often considered more moderate when it comes to foreign affairs. What is your assessment when it comes to the role of the European Union and Germany?
Noam Chomsky: Linguist, Intellctual and Political Activist
David Goessmann: What role could a European Union and Germany play in international relations. Germany and the European Union are often considered more moderate when it comes to foreign affairs. What is your assessment when it comes to the role of the European Union and Germany?
Noam Chomsky: There is kind of like a tacit assumption in the way you put it which ought to be questioned. And that is if Europe plays a bigger role it has to be a more aggressive role. There is another way of looking at it. Europe can play a bigger role moving toward international peace. Let's take Iran. Europe could play a more forceful role in blocking the threat of war with the three non-signers of the Non Proliferation Treaty India, Pakistan and Israel. They all got their nuclear weapons systems with U.S. support. Okay, one role Europe could play is pressing for them to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty, for moving toward a Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone.
Again it probably never got reported here. But last October when there was all the fuss about Iran not living up to its obligations the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a resolution calling on Israel to join the Non Proliferation Treaty and open up its weapon systems to international supervision. Europe opposed it. Europe tried to block it. The U.S. of course tried to block it. It was passed anyway over the European objection. And of course Obama instantly informed Israel that it didn't have to pay any attention to it. Same thing pretty much happened with India. There was a Security Council Resolution last I think September calling on all countries to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty and so on and so forth. The United States, Obama immediately informed India that it didn't apply to them. Well, Europe could play a role in these things taking an independent stance towards trying to reduce the threat of a war of nuclear weapons and so on.
It's quite interesting what's happened to Europe. Let's go back to the Cold War, say the Fall of the Berlin Wall, basically the end of the Cold War. If anybody believed the propaganda of the preceding fifty years they would have expected NATO to disband. I mean NATO was presented as a force to defend Europe from the “Russian Hordes”. Okay, no more “Russian Hordes”. So fine, let's disband NATO. Exactly the opposite happened. NATO expanded in violations of pledges to Gorbatchov. The U.S. is quite careful never to put the pledges in writing. But Gorbatchov was naïve enough to believe what was told him by president Bush, by James Baker, by Helmut Kohl and others. They told him very clearly and explicitly that NATO is not going to expand one inch to the East. It's not going to expand to East Germany, led alone to anywhere else. So it's not in writing so they claim: “We never said it.” It was very clear and explicit. Gorbatchov was naïve. He thinks that if a statesman says something he means it. So, not smart. But immediately NATO the U.S. started to expand NATO to the East. Now it expanded much beyond. In fact the current mission of NATO explicitly is to control the global energy system, to control pipelines and sea-lanes that are involved in energy systems. That's the role of NATO. In fact NATO has just become a U.S. run intervention force for the world. Europe does not have to accept this. In fact if you actually look back at the origins of NATO: Part of the reasons, substantial part of the reason was that Europe was not following an independent path. Maybe a Gaullist path of a Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals without the United States or even Willy Brandt's “Ostpolitik” which the U.S. didn't like because it's moving toward a kind of European independence. I mean a big threat to the United States from right up the Second World War is that Europe might become independent. Europe is a force on a par with the United States. I mean it had to reconstruct from the war. But once it was reconstructed, it's a bigger economy, more educated population, much better welfare status and so on. I mean, it could be an independent force. And NATO is in part designed to, by now almost completely designed to block that. One way in which Germany could play a bigger role in world affairs is to say: “Okay, we're not going to be part of a U.S. run military intervention force.” That's playing a role in world affairs, too.
I mean it's commonly said that, Europe is criticized in the U.S. because it's not violent enough. It's not like the United States. Too peace loving. That is not a criticism. Especially if you look at the history of Europe. For centuries Europe was the most savage place in the world. Europe's favorite activity was slaughtering each other. In the Thirty Years War maybe a third of the population in Germany was wiped out. That's how Europe conquered the world, developed a culture of savagery so extreme that when Europe confronted the rest of the world nobody ever saw a war like that before. And so it conquered the world. It was a horrible place.
At 1945 it changed. Not 'cause the genes changed. Europeans finally got it in their heads that the next time they play their favorite game of slaughtering each other that will wipe out everything. Because the level of destruction had reached the point where you can't play that game anymore. So yes, Europe became peaceful. If you look at the political science literature there's long discussion about democracy makes you peaceful. I don't think democracy had much to do with it. What made Europe peaceful is the understanding that you can't do this anymore 'cause it's just suicide. So yeah, Europe became peaceful and it could be a force that's moving towards peace. As in every example that I mentioned, Europe could be moving toward pressuring for a Middle East Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone. It could be supporting the African Union effort, the Southern Pacific effort. There are plenty of things it could be doing which are active in world affairs but not aggressive in fact peaceful.