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What Caused the Peace in Europe?

  • Date Submitted: 10/05/2013 08:45 PM
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What Caused the Peace of Europe?
JULY 20, 2008
by Blackadder
After century upon century of periodic warfare, the continent of Europe has, for the last 60 years or so, enjoyed a period of unprecedented peace. Why is that? To hear many Europeans tell it, the recent spate of peace in Europe is due to the advanced moral sentiments of its peoples. After enduring centuries of bloodshed, in the 1940s Europeans finally grew up, and learned to settle their disagreements peacefully (unlike the warmongering Americans).
This explanation is only plausible to the extent one ignores just how fragile and limited the peace of Europe since WWII has actually been. One can say that Europe has known 60 years of uninterrupted peace only if one ignores the Cold War that left half the continent under Soviet domination with the other half under constant threat of total annihilation, as well as repeated wars in the Balkans, the IRA in the United Kingdom, ETA in Spain, Greece’s civil war and conflict with Turkey, French wars in Algeria and Indochina, the Suez crisis, British military engagements ranging from Malaysia to the Falklands, not to mention participation by numerous European countries in the Korean war, Afghanistan, and one or both of the Iraq conflicts, to give but a partial list. If what European peace does exist is the result of some moral advancement and conflict resolution skills developed by the Europeans, then it is unclear why the above mentioned conflicts occurred.
The most one can say for European peace is that since WWII no western European power has gone to war against another western European power. But this is hardly a unique achievement. After all, the U.S. hasn’t gone to war with any of these countries since WWII either. And if it be objected that is not the same as the U.S. shares no border with any of these countries, then it should be noted that the last time the United States went to war with Mexico was 1848, and the last time it went to war with Canada was...

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