Kevin Magee on Mon, 31 Mar 2003 20:18:11 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Note from Afar

The Ambassador from Greece addressed an audience of 75-100 students
this morning at Tomsk Polytechnic University, reading from a prepared
text in English for the better part of an hour. There was an impromptu
aspect to the meeting, given the absence of ceremony. Among quotations
from Jose Ortega y Gasset and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, a general
European Union policy position, or disposition,  was described which
included references to the threat of ethnic nationalisms and internal
security concerns with respect to terrorism in the post 9-11
world. "Meta-modern" and "postmodern" attributes accompanied the
concept of the nation-state as that governing form which finds itself
being redefined in the contemporary global economic space. Fragmented,
Europe is fragmented, it was emphasized, despite the enormous
achievement of monetary stabilization accomplished by the EURO which
reflects an unprecedented level of coordination among the European
nations and their recognition that mutually dependent economies, even
when some nations benefit more than others, stand to gain more from
regulated competition than from an unregulated market economy. The end
of the paper turned to the question of culture and identified the
cultural sphere as force for social transformation, reciting a list of
oppositions or polarities belonging to European historical experience
which ended (the list, not the history itself) in the opposition
between capitalism and communism. This last word was spoken very
softly, or reluctantly, enunciated from within the perceptual frame of
asserting a common culture and history. The prospect of a United
States of Europe is far off, it was said, an idea that the European
union was not yet ready for, but an idea as well which must be
thought. (Doesn't Bronstein use this phrase in the pamphlet, "Europe
and America"?) Que veut le capitale Americain, etc. But that was
another war, after or before. A student asked the question, Are you
saying that it is the fragmentation of Europe and the lack of a common
foreign policy which contributed to the USA's invasion of Iraq? I
didn't mention the United States anywhere in this paper, he said,
diplomatically. In his response, though, the Marshall Plan was
remembered as the rebuilding of Europe necessary for the U.S. as a
market for their exports. Mention was also made to the competition
between France and Germany, then, now? It wasn't clear. What was
clear, to this author, was the statement of need for a united
capability for defending mutually dependent economies and their shared
cultural histories. To draw any broader conclusions would be more
subjective than this brief paraphrase is willing to commit.

another of nettime's reporters at large


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