Pax in Europa

Early (and genuine) feminist Harriet Martineau, writing 30 years after the Congress of Vienna, which was a kind of G4 summit – depending on who you count as having been included:

Harriet. She would make the Cabinet.

…as it was the peace of 1815 was constructed without the slightest effort to secure its perpetuity by something stronger than conventions and protocols- by uniting mankind in a bond of common interests..

Harriet would have recognised the Eurozone for what it is. Another quote from Adam Zamoyski’s superb book on the Congress, Rites of Peace:

..the peacemakers of Vienna had attempted to reconstuct a European community in total disregard of the direction in which the Continent was moving. As a result their new system excluded not only those, such as the liberals and revolutionaries, whom they saw as enemies: it was so thoroughly out of sympathy with the zeitgeist of the times that it alienated most educated people in Europe.

Bismarck famously asked the British ambassador “who is Europe?”. a question Dave could usefully inquire of his new freunde, Angela Merkel. And indeed the great Chancellor offered further advice: “Whoever speaks of Europe is wrong: it is a geographical expression.” One of Bismarck’s more sage recent successors, Helmut Kohl,  also had his doubts

As Tony Blair might say with  his fabled command of  French,  plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose


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