It is the 4th of August. The centenary years of the outbreak of the First World War has encouraged a variety of reflections. There are indeed times when it is appropriate to reflect on the state of Europe and of our world.
On June 28 Franz Ferdinand was murdered in Sarajevo. In itself not necessarily so unique in those times. But suddenly everything started to fall apart, and within little more than a month more of less all Europe was at war.
“Lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetimes” Sir Edward Grey 3 August 1914″ The horrible 20th century had begun. And horrible it was. The trenches, The revolutions, The depressions, the dictatorships, The gas chambers, The camps, the barbed wire and The walls.
Margaret Macmillan, fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and professor of international history at Oxford University, Questions about events in Sarajevo, a century ago and how close did the world come to peace in 1914.
There are very good reasons not to treat these events, and the borders of Europa, that come out of challenging attempts to deal with the break-ups of first WW1 and WW2, as a distinct set of phenomena.
It is fruitful to include them in the comparative analysis of the political process. Lessons of the past can inform how we understand and confront the future. This basic approach ( as i have called it here: Wold of Liberty Under Law) is devised to explain what happens among the state entities as levels of military and economic capability among them change.
As an starting point, in his peace plan, Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine´s new president has opened talks with Russia on restoring peace in eastern province a day after taking office as no country is prepared to guarantee his nations security from further attack.
For liberals, an necessary condition for war is that these factors lead one or more aggressor states to possess revisionist preferences so extreme that other states are unwilling to submit. Thus, the principle of respecting existing borders was laid down as one of the key foundations of peace in our Europe. And it has been adhered to up until March of this year.
On the one hand , under Mr Putin Russia has again become a threat to international norms, to his neighbours and to the Russians themselves. Russia´s military actions against Ukraine by forces is clearly a brach of international law and a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.
This could also pose a clear danger to peace in Europe. NATO wont´t go to war in Ukraine but it will in Baltics. If Russia invades Ukraine it will face debilitating insurgent opposition.
The world needs to face the danger Mr Putin poses, if it does not stand up to him today, worse will follow. EU´s capacity to deliver support and Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine in order to continue to assist Ukraine is very important for the security of Europe as a whole.
Another aspect is Mr Putin has blamed the recent tragedy of MH17 flight on Ukraine, yet he is the author of it destruction A high-court´s worth of circumstantial evidence points to the conclusion that the plane was shot down by a missile fired by the pro-Russian separatists. A system known in Nato as SA-11 and designated “Buk” in the Soviet union.
On the other hand, a strict realist view, the struggle continues to dominate among Russian decision-makers and Russians. There is also the question of human rights in Russia and how Russia leaders continue to view the world as zero-sum power and violence is by no means a common solution of Putin.
A number of mechanisms contribute to integrate contemporary social movements into the political process of liberal democracies. Citizens and pary-based democracy, policy-making, communication and socialization processes, and political cultures to explain and predict similarities and differences across political systems. Among the specialists of comparative politics, the political process approach is of particular interest.
To previous generations, the role played by their prime minister would have been amongst the first items worthy of comment.
In a less hierarchical age priorities have changed: but prime ministerial responses to the Great War are, in fact, crucial to how we remember today in some quite unexpected ways.
For each of the 23 years between May 1940 and October men who had fought in the First World War held the office of Prime Minister. By contrast, Second World War veterans held the office for a mere seven years. Four British Prime Ministers saw active service in the Great War: Winston Churchill was one of them.
War would later force the four men to work together. In May 1940 Churchill formed his wartime coalition government: and in February 1942 became Deputy Prime Minister.
The most successful memorial of the era was the great speeches given by great leaders, such as Churchill´s speeches: A few days after his first broadcast, Churchill again addressed the people, this time emphasizing the impending attacks on their homes. His realistic yet determined manner served as a model for all the people turned in on their radios.
- PM: Winston Churchill: 4 Jun 1940: ” I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for year, if necessary alone..”
The theme of the British homeland became increasingly important, because it gave the people a cause worth fighting for.
Sir: Winston Churchill, who was the conservative Prime Minister from 1940-1945, had played a major part in helping the Allies to win the World War II.
After the Soviet Union and the United States entered the war in 1941, he worked to build what he called a “Grand Alliance” traveling tens of thousands of miles to meet with allies and coordinate military strategy, With them he redrew the map of Europe as Germany collapsed in 1945.
At the end of World War II, in one of the most famous speeches of the Cold War period, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill condemns the Soviet Union´s policies in Europe and declares,
In the words of Sir Winston Churchill: “From Statein in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe….and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in some cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.
..the safety of the world, ladies and gentlemen, requires a new unity in Europe, from which no nation should be permanently outcast.. Before we cast away the solid assurances of national armaments for self-preservation we must be certain that our temple is built,upon a rock. …
Anyone can see with his eyes open that our path will be difficult and also long, but if we persevere together as we did in the two world wars – though not, alas, in the interval between them – I cannot doubt that we shall achieve our common purpose in the end..”
Churchill´s speech is considered one of the opening volleys announcing the beginning of the Cold War.
Much has changed. The Iron Curtain that once divided Europe was replaced by an open door. Since the end of the cold War and the collapse of the Soviet empire, EU have tried to build a new peace and security order in Europe.
The building blocks have been placed one after the other to make it as solid as possible. It has been important to take certain basic principles as a starting point, and ensure that they are accepted by all states and actors.
One of these principles is accepting and respecting the borders between states in Europe.
What is happening now in eastern Europe is act aggression and an attack against Ukraine. It is for this reason that EU support for that country´s efforts to deal with Russian aggression is one of the most important things that world leaders, the EU and others democratic partners, can offer.