De Kracht van het Paradijs – Jonathan Holslag (2014)

The latest book by the Belgian prodigy (32 year-old professor of  International Relations in Brussels). His analyses are stronger than his solutions and the book as a whole is somewhat chaotic – large parts of the book deserve better editing – but as an overview of Europa as an idea it’s a tour de force that is worth the read. Bottom line: Europa is in bad shape, but can resurrect if it’s willing to invest in the values that once made it a paradise. Another important conclusion is that Europe is the only scale for the member countries to wage real geopolitical power. The United States are the only superpower and two other have the potential to rival them; China and Europe. The question then is: are we willing to take the necessary measures to achieve that strength or do we choose to muddle through in the swamp of division and bureaucracy? Holslag’s conclusion is that we should strive for a stronger federal construction with humanism as its leading principle. It remains somewhat unclear how this will work in practice, but it sounds nice. Personally I believe we need a European army, for not having the luxury anymore to rely on America as our savior and protector. And there will be more danger coming towards us; from the region ranging from Northern Africa, via the Middle East to Ukraine and further afield – Iran, Russia, Saudi-Arabia and Turkey. We need to give them a reason to like us, a perspective on economic growth and real progress. That is in our interest as well.