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The Dutch people have received a terrible double blow in recent

days. The first was the news that the Dutch troops who failed to protect
Bosnian Moslems were declared legally culpable. The second is all too
well known. In a strange way the disgrace and the tragedy are related.
Both occurred just outside the perimeter of the European Union. The
article cited below challenges the view that the European Union is solely
a force for good and peace in this world. In 2011 I commented as follows
on this article as follows:

1. Julian Scutts says:
April 12, 2011 at 11:05 pm
I fear this analysis is close to the truth, uncomfortably so. Some
fear that forces in the EU encourage the fragmentation of nations
on its periphery. Early indications of this trend were provided by
the break-up of Yugoslavia and now we witness a similar
phenomenon in Libya. It may not be too long before dangerous
fault lines between east and west Europe will produce the political
equivalent of earthquakes unleashed by frictions between
tectonic plates.
2. Julian Scutts says:
July 23, 2014 at 9:30 am
Sorry that the prediction above turned out to be true.

I ask this question. Is the European Union entitled to being called Europe
(period)? From a historical perspective it is not, I argue in a statement I
posted on the Internet/ See "The Crimea' below.

Greek Left Review

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Europe or The End of Politics
Posted: August 16, 2010 | Author: The grapher | Filed under: EU | Tags: Article, Costas Douzinas,
democracy, Europe, European Left, neoliberalism, social Europe |2 Comments

Costas Douzinas, Professor of Law at Birkbeck College, Director of the Birkbeck
Institute for the Humanities


The End of Politics (2): Europe

1. The Crimea

It might seem only a matter of academic interest that the Crimean
peninsular was once a part of the Roman Empire. Even so, I submit the
somewhat surprising thesis that the present crisis in the Ukraine and the
Russian repossession of the Crimean peninsular trace their origins to
Roman times. Here goes.

For us any talk of the tension between East and West brings the Cold
War to mind. In antiqutiy there was also what we might call a tension
between east and west and this emerged during the civil wars that beset
Rome during the decades that led up to the establishment of the
Principate by Augustus Caesar. In this connection we recall the rivalry
between Julius Caesar and Pompey and later between Octavian (later
Augustus) and Mark Antony. These conflicts gave rise to a propaganda
assault against the East entailing the image of an eastern seductress
portrayed most conspicuously by Cleopatra. Even the architecture of the
mausoleum of Augustus carried a propagandist message as this was
topped by a tumulus, a mound of earth, in accord with native Italian
traditions as opposed to the more sumptuous designs of eastern-style

A lack of coordination between the western and the eastern halves of
the Roman Empire grew apace not so much as a result of military
rivalries as of economic and administrative difficulties, all of which
culminated in the official division of the Empire under Diocletian at the
end of the third century. It was not long after this that Constantine the
Great captured Rome, the capital of the Western Empire before
becoming the ruler of the Eastern Empire also. His commitment to
Christianity led him to establish a new expressly Christian Rome at
Byzantium, which received the name of Constantinople, a move
which reflected badly on Rome itself, where paganism held sway in the
senatorial establishment.

To cut a long story short, the divide between the Rome of the West and
the new Rome of the East crept into the ecclesiastical domain, a fact
that had deep political as well as religious ramifications. After the
extinction of the Imperial line in Rome in 476, in effect the Pope became
the sole figurehead of Catholic Christendom in the West until the
coronation of Charlemagne by the Pope in Rome on Christmas Day in
800. Charlemagne was modest enough not to acclaim himself the new
Roman emperor that should replace the emperor in
Constantinople, adopting the role of his standard-bearer at the head
of Western Christendom. Tensions between the Western and Eastern
domains of Christendom surfaced in the form of theological tenets, and
in one tenet in particular, the one sometimes referred to as the issue of
Filiusque. This expression is tied in with the question as to whether the
Holy Spirit proceeded from God the Father and God the Son, or only
from God the Father, as the tradition of the eastern Church maintained.
The issue first arose during the contentions between the Catholic church
and Arianism, the form of Christianity adopted by the Visigoths in Spain.
Other issues complicated the relations between Rome and
Constantinople, such as those surrounding the veneration of religious
images, the celibacy of priests, the date of Easter, the use of wafers for
the celebration of the Eucharist and others. In combination with an
effort to convert the Khazars from Judaism to Christianity, the famous
missionaries Cyril and Methodius evangelized the lands now occupied by
the Ukraine and created the cyrillic script as the written medium in
which religious documents should be written. As it seems they had the
Pope's blessing in this matter the introduction of the cyrillic alphabet
represented no slight against Western traditions. However, after the
famous comparison of Papal, Byzantine and Islamic liturgies the people
of Kiev accepted the Byzantine form of Christianity, the same tradition
that was later followed in Moscow. The Great Schism of 1053 ossified
the differences between the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox
branches of Christianity.
We now take a quantum leap to the battle of Stalingrad , formerly
named Tsaritsyn in honour of the Czar. It became Stalingrad in
recognition of Stalin's role in the victory of Tsaritsyn over the Whites in
1919. Stalin evidently much admired Ivan IV, Ivan the Terrible (Grozny),
as we can judge from a film he promoted and which Sergei Eisenstein
produced depicting Ivan's victories. Ivan adopted the
formulation coined by a learned monk to the effect that Moscow was
The Third Rome, after ancient Rome and Constantinople. This finds a
strange parallel in Hitler's concept of The Third Reich as that which
forms a line beginning with the empire of Charlemagne and continued
with the foundation of Imperial Germany in 1871 to reach its climax in

The mindset evinced now by President Putin rests in a tradition that
sees western incursions into Russia as some form of crusade. The
Russians, according to this analysis, beat back the Poles in the
seventeenth century, the Swedes in the eighteenth, Napoleon in the
nineteenth and Hitler in the twentieth. In such terms the West can now
be seen as having another bash at Moscow and going for Russia's
jugular vein in Holy Kiev. Let us proceed with caution