in a recent effort to update a paper i wrote on european-russian relations two years ago, i chose to narrow the focus from general economic and foreign policy relations onto the sole issues of militarized conflicts. in a comparison between the 2008 georgia- and 2014 ukraine- case i came to find the european union as reactive instead of active and barking instead of biting.
this behavior, of course, is partially due to the european unique position of being a barking dog with 27 (2008)/28 (2014) heads. considering that it is hard enough to make all the institutions of one state work together and have the population comply on the basis of a pr-created legitimacy, it seems nearly impossible to ever bring together 28 fundamentally different states, with different histories, different objectives and different influences in the process. as such, one might rather consider applauding the european experiment of so far being able to create a half-way coordinated response to international events.
and yes, the response is but a barking instead of a biting one, but that again can be ascribed to the many minds and hearts that are to be consolidated, united or at a minimum just bridged, to find a basic coordination and legitimacy for action in this supra-national project that still dodders in its first steps on the international playing field. after all, it is the economic interest, not the realm of foreign policy, a core of national sovereignty, and god forbid to talk about military actions, that forms the glue of this greater union while it shields and cloaks itself in ‘universal values’ on the international stage. but then again, to speak my mind and heart on the matter, i for would rather live with a toothless dog that barks out loud a warning but is more interested in being petted at the end of the day, than with one who’s teeth are bigger than its brains and who lusts to bite, just because he can.