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 Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU

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PostSubject: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:25 pm

I'm starting this thread on the back of an ongoing discussion that started in the "Mainlanders" thread.


Up until now, the interests of small countries have been safeguarded by the veto and to a lesser extent by the presence of a Commissioner from each state. The Lisbon Treaty makes an explicit statement that all member countries are equal, but if the Lisbon Treaty goes into effect, those safeguards will be substantially gone. The reaction of heads of the large EU states to Ireland's vote was annoyance at being stung by a gnat and an assumption that a squirt of DDT or similar will deal with us.

Much of the history of Europe has been a history of the big powers and their power games. I think it is naive to think that the existence of the EU has changed that. Why would we assume that these powers are benign, and always will be benign?

Does size matter in the EU? Is the vote of an Irish person worth the same as the vote of a French or a Polish person? Will the interests of Ireland be seen as important or worthy of respect if they in any way run counter to the interests of the big powers?
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:01 pm

Link: Lloyd George's "Little Nations" speech from 1914



....But all the world owes much to the little five feet high nations. The greatest art of the world was the work of little nations. The most enduring literature of the world came from little nations. The greatest literature of England came from her when she was a nation of the size of Belgium fighting a great Empire. The heroic deeds that thrill humanity through generations were the deeds of little nations fighting for their freedom. Ah, yes, and the salvation of mankind came through a little nation. God has chosen little nations as the vessels by which He carries the choicest wines to the lips of humanity, to rejoice their hearts, to exalt their vision, to stimulate and to strengthen their faith; and if we had stood by when two little nations were being crushed and broken by the brutal hands of barbarism our shame would have rung down the everlasting ages.
....
The only answer of the higher civilization was that the liberty of Bulgarian peasants was not worth the life of a single Pomeranian soldier. But the rude barbarians of the North--they sent their sons by the thousands to die for Bulgarian freedom. What about England? You go to Greece, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, and France, and all these lands, gentlemen, could point out to you places where the sons of Britain have died for the freedom of these countries. France has made sacrifices for the freedom of other lands than her own. Can you name a single country in the world for the freedom of which the modern Prussian has ever sacrificed a single life? The test of our faith, the highest standard of civilization is the readiness to sacrifice for others. I would not say a word about the German people to disparage them. They are a great people; they have great qualities of head, of hand, and of heart. I believe, in spite of recent events, there is as great a store of kindness in the German peasant as in any peasant in the world. But he has been drilled into a false idea of civilization,--efficiency, capability. It is a hard civilization; it is a selfish civilization; it is a material civilization. They could not comprehend the action of Britain at the present moment. They say so. 'France', they say, 'we can understand. She is out for vengeance, she is out for territory--Alsace Lorraine. Russia, she is fighting for mastery, she wants Galicia.' They can understand vengeance, they can understand you fighting for mastery, they can understand you fighting for greed of territory; they cannot understand a great Empire pledging its resources, pledging its might, pledging the lives of its children, pledging its very existence, to protect a little nation that seeks for its defence. God made man in His own image - high of purpose, in the region of the spirit. German civilization would re-create him in the image of a Diesler machine - precise, accurate, powerful, with no room for the soul to operate. That is the 'higher' civilization....
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:30 pm

One of the things that annoyed me about the Lisbon debate was people complaining about a EU superstate one minute and then about big NATIONS like France using their influence to further NATIONAL interests. The only way that I can see to reconcile the two viewpoints is to argue for a EU led by France or maybe Germany.

I don't see how losing commissioners and vetos affect small countries any more than it does big ones. It is inevitable that countries use institutions like the EU and the UN to further their interests. The Fench have apparantly been trying for yerars for EU-wide tax harmonisation.

It is small countries that use these institutions more than big ones though. Bigger countries have their own preffered methods to do business, but small countries use international arenas to the best of their ability. Look at Ireland: model League of nations country, model UN country and model EU country. Chris Patten (I'm going to reference him till yeer eyes bleed, just to get back) reckoned that small countries like Ireland and the Scandinavians always worked the system much better because of their more efficient civil service and focus on EU, rather then national, matters.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:11 pm

cactus flower wrote:
I'm starting this thread on the back of an ongoing discussion that started in the "Mainlanders" thread.


Up until now, the interests of small countries have been safeguarded by the veto and to a lesser extent by the presence of a Commissioner from each state. The Lisbon Treaty makes an explicit statement that all member countries are equal, but if the Lisbon Treaty goes into effect, those safeguards will be substantially gone. The reaction of heads of the large EU states to Ireland's vote was annoyance at being stung by a gnat and an assumption that a squirt of DDT or similar will deal with us.

Much of the history of Europe has been a history of the big powers and their power games. I think it is naive to think that the existence of the EU has changed that. Why would we assume that these powers are benign, and always will be benign?

Does size matter in the EU? Is the vote of an Irish person worth the same as the vote of a French or a Polish person? Will the interests of Ireland be seen as important or worthy of respect if they in any way run counter to the interests of the big powers?

To be honest CF - I think you're starting this thread to wind up posters like myself Very Happy

As regards Lisbon - I though it was a great deal for the smaller nations and the whole idea of the EU in the first place was to place shackles to relative degree on the "larger" countries in Europe and enmesh together in interdependent economic and social ties. By and large this has happened and Lisbon was a further progression on this - with the larger nations loseing in relative terms much more than smaller nations like Ireland ( thats why that mad dwarf of a president in Poland is really refusing to sign the treaty - he had to be armwrestled into signing a treaty that was less than was Polands due as one of the large states under the previous arrangements - he wasnt used to not getting his own way - this and a last degree of mischief making before he loses the presidential election next year and fades away into the history books.)

The view you expressed above is based , IMO , some rather naive and false assumptions as to how diplomacy and politics work and a fair slice of this "suspicion" that all the fringe left in Ireland have in regard to mainstream politics - this "lack of trust - thus there must be something they're not telling me thus They're suspect" is not helped by the unaccountable media either.

Firstly - the world is not fair - fact - the bigger and more powerful you are - the more sway you old - that has not changed since the first 2 caveman had a fight over a juniper bush or a woman (probably the woman). thats why we have far more interest in US elections that those in Trinidad and Tobago and that's why whats happening in China will be of far more interest to our children than whats happening in tahiti (if it hasn't disappeared under the ocean waves by then).

The EU is a union of sovereign independent states - it is not a federal state - thus the size of that state and the power of its economy will be important - there is no getting away from this and anybody who thinks any different is in cloud cookoo land. Germany accounts for over 50% of the GDP of the EU on its own. Ireland did not go into the EU with its eyes closed - our leaders were fully aware of what they were doing and still are very aware of what they are doing - a state of our size doesn't have the range of choice that a larger more powerful state would have - thats a simple fact - that's why we turn a blind eye to US military operations and shannon, thats why we dont press China over human rights, thats why we don't give out to the Saudis. Even Switzerland, stuck up there in their Alpine fastness and armed to the teeth , have to bend in the wind , witness their behaviour in World War II and the fact that EU influences over 40% of Swiss Law, over 80% of Switzerlands economy - even tho they are not a member and have no influence over the formulation of this legislation and directives and will probably remain outside the EU for purely domestic concerns - ie 50% of the population still live happily in the illusion that they are "independent" despite being surrounded by the EU both geographically, legally, economically and mentally.

If you want a Europe of equals - then you should be promugating and promoting a full on Federal United States of Europe where all citizens are equal and nationstates become irrelevant - while the EU remains a union of nationstates - then this equality is a mirage and we will have to duck and weave, cajol and network and build and rebuild shifting alliances to promote our national interests - thats what small unarmed peripheral states do to maintain their seats at the party. Im under no illusions as to our place in the grand sphere of things - over the last 50 years - its the big states that have conceded most for the general good and its small states like ours that have gained the most in the EU - no question about it -Its being fecking hillarious listening to the Jingoistic No camp pounching on every little thing that one of the big 4-5 say as evidence of something monumental - have you had your ears sealed up with cement for the last 50 years - talk is cheap - but look at the evidence - I normally sit back and relax when one of the big guys takes over the helm of the EU - it means there will be lots of flowery postive language at the start and absolutely fuck all achievement of any of those fighting words by the end - dont take my word for it - look at the evidence - way too much importance being placed on words not actions here - we've never been bullied into accepting something that was totally contrary to our interests - that may change - more likely we'll be told to take it or leave it , given that we virtually wrote the treaty to suit our interest to begin with - in total economic,demographic and military terms we are inconsequential - the EU can rock on quite happily without us - no problem. The lisbon arrangements still allowed us to punch far above our weight in the EU - but illusions about sovereignty and freedom and scary scary tall tales about abortion,militarisation etc etc have put paid to that. Maybe the last 10 years have made us all a bit full of ourselves and the incessant self congratulations over that period has had serious effect on our national pysche aswell - some positive and a lot negative IMO.

In the end - international relations is like an ongoing game of poker. Im a realist - I play with the cards that I have - not the ones I wish I had or desire to have and not the cards that Im under an illusion that I possess. A .lot of people in this country should come down out of their ivory towers, media pedestals and self inflated clouds and take a long hard look at the state of this country and our options.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:14 am

In my view there are two "honest" ways to build Europe:

1) We become one nation, which means one person one vote regardless of former nationalities, and then the European Parliament rules

2) We are a confederation of states, and then it is one state one vote.

I am convinced that diverting the taking into account of population size towards the Council of heads of states instead of the Parliament is a perversion, because it recreates geopolitical influence struggles resembling the 19th century.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:15 am

arnaudherve wrote:
In my view there are two "honest" ways to build Europe:

1) We become one nation, which means one person one vote regardless of former nationalities, and then the European Parliament rules

2) We are a confederation of states, and then it is one state one vote.

I am convinced that diverting the taking into account of population size towards the Council of heads of states instead of the Parliament is a perversion, because it recreates geopolitical influence struggles resembling the 19th century.

Hmm. What is wrong with trying to do both - apart from the obvious discordance, which is well reflected in the EU?
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:26 am

Quote :
To be honest CF - I think you're starting this thread to wind up posters like myself Very Happy

Not at all Edo - I think its worth a thread. It crops up in most threads on Lisbon without being properly dissected. Thanks for your post. I have an early start tomorrow so I'll have leave it until later to reply.

Cheers.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:28 am

See, then you get into questions of what sovereignty really is. Some would argue that the EU has been good for nation-states, that we have more of the blighters than ever on our little rump of a paeninsula. But there are places like Catalonia and the Basque that thanks to the EU, they have a better shot at autonomy, or self-determination or whatever. But it would only be possible under the EU. And it undermines Spain and the older nation-states too. All this regionalisation fosters national identity, but does it foster a corresponding state identity? Such an EU wopuld come to resemble the UK, which had plenty of time for the Irish and the Scottish as long as they didn't want political autonomy.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:44 pm

905 wrote:
See, then you get into questions of what sovereignty really is. Some would argue that the EU has been good for nation-states, that we have more of the blighters than ever on our little rump of a paeninsula. But there are places like Catalonia and the Basque that thanks to the EU, they have a better shot at autonomy, or self-determination or whatever. But it would only be possible under the EU. And it undermines Spain and the older nation-states too. All this regionalisation fosters national identity, but does it foster a corresponding state identity? Such an EU wopuld come to resemble the UK, which had plenty of time for the Irish and the Scottish as long as they didn't want political autonomy.

Why would it "come to resemble the UK", though? If Catalan/Basque/Lombard regionalism is made possible (or more possible) by the EU, then they need the EU to exist as their framework - not vice-versa as it is in the UK.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:53 pm

Sorry whah'? The UK didn't need (I should point out that I was thinking of the old nineteenth century United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) distinct Irish and Scottish identities, in fact Irish identity ultimately backfired.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:03 pm

905 wrote:
Sorry whah'? The UK didn't need (I should point out that I was thinking of the old nineteenth century United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) distinct Irish and Scottish identities, in fact Irish identity ultimately backfired.

Well, more that the England chose to absorb those other nations into the unitary supranational framework of the UK to remove their autonomy, whereas we are talking about small nations (currently regions) being able to gain some autonomy from their current governments because of the supranational framework of the EU. The cases seem opposite to me.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Fri Jul 04, 2008 1:42 am

I don't know how far the EU is going to create autonomy for these minority groups, I was thinking more along the lines of a cultural or ethnic identity (not a state-system) that often runs directly contrary to the old nation and is really only possible under a larger superstate systm like the EU.

Ireland created it's first stable state under the Btritish but it was hardly autonomous. I think the overall structure of a transnational state containing numerous non-political ethnicities is a description that fits the UK well. It could easily be applied by some to the EU. I am not saying that is what the EU is about to become, I am merely wondering by the British are so bloody negative about a system that, in gtheir own opinion, mirrors their own.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:00 am

905 wrote:
I don't know how far the EU is going to create autonomy for these minority groups, I was thinking more along the lines of a cultural or ethnic identity (not a state-system) that often runs directly contrary to the old nation and is really only possible under a larger superstate systm like the EU.

Ireland created it's first stable state under the Btritish but it was hardly autonomous. I think the overall structure of a transnational state containing numerous non-political ethnicities is a description that fits the UK well. It could easily be applied by some to the EU. I am not saying that is what the EU is about to become, I am merely wondering by the British are so bloody negative about a system that, in gtheir own opinion, mirrors their own.

Well, because it's continental. For most of them, there really needs be no more to it than that.

We forget, I think, the very deeply ingrained hatreds and suspicions that the 'older' countries in Europe feel for each other - the Poles and French for the Germans, the British and Germans for the French, the French for the British, etc etc - whereas we suffered from nobody but the English, really, and nobody suffered from us.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:07 am

We forget how shallow such things are ibis, if they're not fostered. There's nothing natural or primordial about Franco-Germanic rivalry or perfidious Albion or any of that. Just as these conflicts are easy to create, they should be easy to dispell.

I remember wondering in my youth why the British sided with their old enemy the French against their natural allies the Germans in the first world war.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:58 am

905 wrote:
We forget how shallow such things are ibis, if they're not fostered. There's nothing natural or primordial about Franco-Germanic rivalry or perfidious Albion or any of that. Just as these conflicts are easy to create, they should be easy to dispell.

I remember wondering in my youth why the British sided with their old enemy the French against their natural allies the Germans in the first world war.

Balance of power on the Continent, essentially, which has always been British strategy - no one country to dominate. It remains British strategy.

Despite their cooperation in two world wars, the British and the French continue to dislike each other - witness de Gaulle's long blocking of British accession to the EU. "Up yours Delors" remains a very popular British sentiment, as does the belief that the EU is a German plot to achieve what WW2 failed to do (FutureTaoiseach on p.ie is a hilariously naive advocate of this view, along with a surprising number of other British Tory positions).

I don't think those hatreds are shallow, except in the sense that one could theoretically eradicate them by preventing them in one generation - admittedly in every European country simultaneously. That's highly theoretical, though - well, more of a fantasy, really.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Fri Jul 04, 2008 3:11 am

I'm going on the basis that these conflicts are easily created. Surely they should be easily disspelled too? Otherwise there would be a build-up of conflict and hate in the world which would destroy us all.

You guessed it, I'm struggling to think of a single example. Eh, the Yugoslav identity worked well enough. Catholics in Scotland were once reviled, this is no longer the case. Nazi Germany reared its ugly head and old conflicts were forgotten, or at least de-prioritised. Maybe that's what we have in the EU: a de-prioritising of old hatreds. I imagine they would be difficult to re-prioritise.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:16 pm

Even by supposing we were in the same European nation, meaning by that that there would be no power struggle from big states towards smaller states, and as citizens of that same unified nation you would be guaranteed the same rights as those of the continent, I suspect the situation would still not be safe for you.

There is something that cannot be changed, you combine the three disadvantages of being a small population, on an island, and in the periphery.

Hence you could be easily forgotten by Europe, a bit like the Shetlands by Britain let's say.

If I can compare to Brittany, not an island but also in the N-W compared to the center, I am well aware that we achieve something similar to the living standards of Paris only by a strong political will. And since the trend is to free market, since territorial planning is beginning to sound like a strange thing from some sort of soviet era... we are now losing everything.

Eventually, we will become an agricultural resource in the hinterland and a touristic resource on the coast. But hospitals, universities, tribunals, artistic companies... all this is disappearing.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:15 am

905 wrote:
I'm going on the basis that these conflicts are easily created. Surely they should be easily disspelled too? Otherwise there would be a build-up of conflict and hate in the world which would destroy us all.

You guessed it, I'm struggling to think of a single example. Eh, the Yugoslav identity worked well enough. Catholics in Scotland were once reviled, this is no longer the case. Nazi Germany reared its ugly head and old conflicts were forgotten, or at least de-prioritised. Maybe that's what we have in the EU: a de-prioritising of old hatreds. I imagine they would be difficult to re-prioritise.

Doesn't the Yugoslav example rather contradict that? 40 years of being "Yugoslavs" together under Tito vanished under a bitter re-assertion of the old hatreds within a decade of his death.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Thu Jul 10, 2008 1:20 am

ibis wrote:
905 wrote:
I'm going on the basis that these conflicts are easily created. Surely they should be easily disspelled too? Otherwise there would be a build-up of conflict and hate in the world which would destroy us all.

You guessed it, I'm struggling to think of a single example. Eh, the Yugoslav identity worked well enough. Catholics in Scotland were once reviled, this is no longer the case. Nazi Germany reared its ugly head and old conflicts were forgotten, or at least de-prioritised. Maybe that's what we have in the EU: a de-prioritising of old hatreds. I imagine they would be difficult to re-prioritise.

Doesn't the Yugoslav example rather contradict that? 40 years of being "Yugoslavs" together under Tito vanished under a bitter re-assertion of the old hatreds within a decade of his death.

Exactly. He was the only thing keeping the whole Balkans together in one big family. Once he was gone the underlings began to bicker leading to the complete collapse of Tito's Yugoslavia.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Tue Aug 12, 2008 8:10 pm

bump bounce

The impacts on Europe of the break up of the USSR and the issue of small states are very much in peoples' minds at the moment, so I have bumped this thread.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:38 pm

arnaudherve wrote:
Even by supposing we were in the same European nation, meaning by that that there would be no power struggle from big states towards smaller states, and as citizens of that same unified nation you would be guaranteed the same rights as those of the continent, I suspect the situation would still not be safe for you.

There is something that cannot be changed, you combine the three disadvantages of being a small population, on an island, and in the periphery.

Hence you could be easily forgotten by Europe, a bit like the Shetlands by Britain let's say.

If I can compare to Brittany, not an island but also in the N-W compared to the center, I am well aware that we achieve something similar to the living standards of Paris only by a strong political will. And since the trend is to free market, since territorial planning is beginning to sound like a strange thing from some sort of soviet era... we are now losing everything.

Eventually, we will become an agricultural resource in the hinterland and a touristic resource on the coast. But hospitals, universities, tribunals, artistic companies... all this is disappearing.

Being peripheral is a pain all right, and rising transport costs will make it more so. But on the other hand broadband internet has made possible a whole area of services export.

In Ireland there is quite a bit of chat about the Eurovision Song Contest phenomenon: (apart from having bad songs) Ireland has no chance as groups of neighbouring eastern european states support each other. We are inclined to forget that all the neighbours don't love each other.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:59 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
ibis wrote:
905 wrote:
I'm going on the basis that these conflicts are easily created. Surely they should be easily disspelled too? Otherwise there would be a build-up of conflict and hate in the world which would destroy us all.

You guessed it, I'm struggling to think of a single example. Eh, the Yugoslav identity worked well enough. Catholics in Scotland were once reviled, this is no longer the case. Nazi Germany reared its ugly head and old conflicts were forgotten, or at least de-prioritised. Maybe that's what we have in the EU: a de-prioritising of old hatreds. I imagine they would be difficult to re-prioritise.

Doesn't the Yugoslav example rather contradict that? 40 years of being "Yugoslavs" together under Tito vanished under a bitter re-assertion of the old hatreds within a decade of his death.

Exactly. He was the only thing keeping the whole Balkans together in one big family. Once he was gone the underlings began to bicker leading to the complete collapse of Tito's Yugoslavia.
Whatever about the politicians and leaders, the average folk were happy little Yugoslavs for the most part. When the bullets started to fly though, that all ended. I remember watching a documentary (made in 1992, before the real trouble began) about one Bosnian/Croatian village. They couldn't understand what all the fighting was about until it reached them. Then the town split; even old ladies, friends all their life, became enemies. The Bosnians were driven out.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:01 pm

905 wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
ibis wrote:
905 wrote:
I'm going on the basis that these conflicts are easily created. Surely they should be easily disspelled too? Otherwise there would be a build-up of conflict and hate in the world which would destroy us all.

You guessed it, I'm struggling to think of a single example. Eh, the Yugoslav identity worked well enough. Catholics in Scotland were once reviled, this is no longer the case. Nazi Germany reared its ugly head and old conflicts were forgotten, or at least de-prioritised. Maybe that's what we have in the EU: a de-prioritising of old hatreds. I imagine they would be difficult to re-prioritise.

Doesn't the Yugoslav example rather contradict that? 40 years of being "Yugoslavs" together under Tito vanished under a bitter re-assertion of the old hatreds within a decade of his death.

Exactly. He was the only thing keeping the whole Balkans together in one big family. Once he was gone the underlings began to bicker leading to the complete collapse of Tito's Yugoslavia.
Whatever about the politicians and leaders, the average folk were happy little Yugoslavs for the most part. When the bullets started to fly though, that all ended. I remember watching a documentary (made in 1992, before the real trouble began) about one Bosnian/Croatian village. They couldn't understand what all the fighting was about until it reached them. Then the town split; even old ladies, friends all their life, became enemies. The Bosnians were driven out.

It was like that in the North - people were living in mixed streets and happy as Larry and then the Troubles hit.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:09 pm

I've a book I really mean to read on the North, which I think says something similar. The real cause of war was apparantly the segregation of society, the building of peace walls which objectified and de-humanised the enemy. They were basically scared into violence andd hate, not some sort of innate hatred of Catholics or Protestants.
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PostSubject: Re: Does Size Matter ? - Small Countries in the EU   Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:19 pm

905 wrote:
I've a book I really mean to read on the North, which I think says something similar. The real cause of war was apparantly the segregation of society, the building of peace walls which objectified and de-humanised the enemy. They were basically scared into violence andd hate, not some sort of innate hatred of Catholics or Protestants.

It`s possible to exaggerate the good old days in North because of how bad the period from the late sixties on were. Don`t forget that there were sectarian riots in Belfast and in other places in the 1880s and the 1920s because of uncertainty regarding the North`s future but also in the 1930s and in the 50s and 60s. Unionists often talk about the way Catholics used to watch the parades in the North before the troubles but the view of Catholics about how inoffensive the parades were supposed to have been was not the same as that of those Unionists.
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