Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reflection (Week #5)

Personally, I found our latest visit to the European Union delegation both entertaining and informative, from Dr. Deak's use of the adjective “sexy” to his opinions on the incorporation of Turkey into the EU and the EU delegation’s role in Washington compared to that of the member state's embassies. However, what I found most interesting were the parallels and differences Dr. Deak emphasized between the US Constitution and the defining document behind the European Union: the Maastricht Treaty (Treaty on European Union). In particular, he mentioned the phrases “to form a more perfect union” (Preamble to the United States Constitution) and “to continue the process of creating an ever closer union” (Treaty on European Union). Dr. Deak said that the phrases “more perfect” and “ever closer” were what he believed most clearly differentiated the goals of the United States from those of the European Union. He explained that the words “ever closer”, included in the Maastricht Treaty, define the European Union's goals to not simply leave different European cultures unchanged, but to actively preserve them. Although, political structures and economies may blend, and individual European cultures may continue to “strive for harmonious coexistence” (France and Germany), Dr. Deak's interpretation of the “ever closer” (but never perfect) clause entails that individual state identities and cultures will remain permanently unaltered. In contrast, the continuous goal for a “more perfect” union in the United States implies that our union is already perfect and therefore culturally we are united as well. Now whether either of these interpretations of defining lines in these two formative political documents were realised is a debate that could likely take another ten to twenty pages. However, what these interpretations say about Dr. Deak's positive view of the Union I think is undeniable and perfectly explain why he finds the arguments over Turkish culture rather than its political and economic structure quite “un-sexy”.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I really wish I had been able to see the European Delegation! The parallels between the European Union and the United States of America aren't ones that I would tend to draw in the first place. After all, the world in general still sees the European Union as being made up of sovereign states, as is not the case with the USA.

    It's also interesting that the Treaty on European Union identifies becoming a union as a process, while the United States Constitution regards it as less of a process and more of an immediate thing. I agree that this is what makes European states more insistent on preserving their cultures than the individual American states. This was something that became really obvious to me when my section went to the French embassy. The diplomat we met with really stressed the idea of integration and assimilation of immigrants into French culture.

    For the record, I really wanted to work the word "un-sexy" into this comment, but I just don't have the attention span at the moment.