Tuesday, June 14, 2005

This past Saturday, the New York Times had an interesting story about Turkey and the EU - Turks, Nervous About European Prospects, Turn to U.S. - which ended this way:

[...] Saban Disli, deputy chairman for foreign affairs in the ruling Justice and Development Party, said Europe should not try to project a decision of 10 years from now by looking at Turkey today. "Who knows?" he said, "Maybe in 10 years' time, it will be Turkey who holds a referendum to see if Turks still want to become a part of the E.U."

The Kyiv Post, ten days earlier, had a nice editorial on Ukraine and the EU - France's no - and Ukraine - which had a similar conclusion:

The fact is that Ukraine, famously situated on the borders of empires, is well-situated to form intelligent, self-interested relationships with various other countries. It ought to use the independence it so recently achieved to do so. Sometimes this will mean cultivating relationships with Brussels and the other capitals of the West; other times it will necessitate working closely with Russia, a country with which Ukraine is thoroughly intertwined, and will be for the foreseeable future. Still other times it will mean pairing up with other post-Soviet countries, such as its fellow GUUAM members, with whom supposedly “European” Ukraine shares deeper cultural ties than it does with, say, France or Spain.

George Washington famously warned the young American republic against “entangling alliances.” Now that even Europeans are showing signs of not being happy with the EU, Ukraine should beware of embracing such alliances, too.

Sounds like common sense - if only common sense was the same for everyone.

(A colleague once gave me this wonderful example illustrating how wrong we may be when we think of common sense as something monolithic: in this part of the world, when stopped by the traffic police, many would consider it common sense to swiftly get out of the car and walk towards the cop - in order to appear respectful; in the States, common sense in this situation is the opposite - you have to stay in the car until the cop approaches you himself, or he'll shoot you...)

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