Can Europe Be United?
A British View of the Continent
THE ratification of the “Euratom” and “Common Market” treaties, and the prospect of their coming into force in less than a year’s time, has given a new urgency to the problem of the form that the unity of Western Europe should take, and to the question of how far geographically its boundaries ought to extend. There is now an awareness of the possible obsolescence of postwar ideas of defense, and a hope that a new effort at understanding with the East might permit some lessening in the rigidity of the division separating the two halves of Europe.
Conversely, it is becoming more obvious that the basic questions of defense have to be settled in a non-European context, and that the development of federal or quasi-federal institutions in Western Europe is not likely to affect this issue in the way many people previously hoped that it would. In other words, the unification of Western Europe will not substantially relieve the United States of its share in the burden of defense. Even if the hope of relaxation be an illusion, the mere discussion of it has revealed that it is by no means only the Germans who cannot accept as a permanent political frontier the line of demarcation between the victorious armies of 1945.
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