Belmont Club

The Iron, the Brass and the Clay

The Schuman Declaration “of 9 May 1950 was a governmental proposal by then-French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman to create a new form of organization of States in Europe called a supranational Community. Following the experiences of two world wars, France recognized that certain values such as justice could not be defined by the State apparatus alone. It … led to the peaceful re-organization of post- World War western Europe”

The Declaration had several distinct aims, which it tackled together.

It marked the birth of Europe
It made war between Member States impossible
It encouraged world peace
It would transform Europe by a ‘step by step’ process (building through sectoral supranational communities) leading to the unification of Europe democratically, including both East and West Europe separated by the Iron Curtain
It created the world’s first supranational institution and
the world’s first international anti-cartel agency
It created a single market across the Community
This, starting with the coal and steel sector, would revitalise the whole European economy by similar community processes
It would improve the world economy and the developing countries, such as those in Africa.

Welcome to the European Peace University! — “Since it was established in 1990, more than 1000 students from all continents have come to Stadtschlaining to study peace at EPU … Since its existence, more than 1000 students have studied at our institution. Many of them now have thriving careers with national or international NGOs, international organizations, governments, in education, the private sector etc. . This is a network that students can draw upon when needed.”

Pax Europaea … often associated above all with the creation of the European Union (EU) and its predecessors. After the Cold War this peace was extended to most of Central and Eastern Europe, with the major exception of most of the former Yugoslavia.

Transatlantic cooperation and European integration was designed to maintain the fragile peace that was created in Europe. With the continent consistently falling into war over the past centuries the creation of the European Communities in the 1950s set to integrate its members to such an extent that war between them would be impossible. These Communities, and other organisations including NATO expanded to cover most of Western Europe, Northern Europe and Southern Europe. Although Eastern Europe remained under Soviet influence, they too experienced little conflict, with the exception of internal repression, until the 1990s when a series of wars in Yugoslavia broke out as the country disintegrated. The EU structures were criticised for its inability to prevent the conflict, though the zone is now within its sphere of enlargement.

The EU now comprises 27 countries and has most of Eastern Europe seeking membership (ten eastern European countries joined during the 2000s). Further, most countries in Western Europe which remain outside are tied to the EU by economic agreements and treaties such as the European Economic Area. Within the zone of integration, there has been no conflict since 1945, making it the longest period of peace on the western European mainland since Pax Romana.

The March of Folly — “defining folly as the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interersts, despite the availability of feasible alternatives, Tuchman details four decisive turning points in history that illustrate the very heights of folly in government: the Trojan War, the breakup of the Holy See provoked by the Renaissance Popes, the loss of the American colonies by Britain’s George III, and the United States’ persistent folly in Vietnam.”

The Dream — “And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.”

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

Never ever say it can’t happen again.


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