The adoption of Western technology or Western political institutions in Chinese, Indian, and Muslim cultures, for example, does not alter the fundamental cultural gap between them and the West. Thus, Nemo’s excursus in the history of ideas that I have succinctly sketched turns out to be a pretext for a geopolitical reflection.

His immediate concern, when the book was first published in French in 2004, was the enlargement of the European Union eastward (now a fait accompli). This movement amounted, in his view, to a dilution of the Western character—Greece being disregarded—of the former fifteen-nations club of the old continent by the inclusion of countries that have not passed fully or partially through one of the morphogenetic stages described earlier.

This lack of passage is particularly the case for Romania and Bulgaria, two predominantly Orthodox countries that did not experience a Papal Revolution during the Middle Ages and, like the Catholic and Protestant countries in central and eastern Europe and Latin America, experienced a more or less incomplete “liberal-democratic revolution” in the nineteenth century. Moreover, the European Union’s enlargement process now includes Turkey, a Muslim country, on its waiting list, which we may assume Nemo finds an even more worrisome development.

He therefore proposes instead the creation of a Western Union, which would include all of the properly Western countries under his criteria: the Catholic and Protestant countries of western Europe, Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, various European dependencies overseas, and maybe Israel, if it chooses a Western instead of a Zionist identity.

This Western Union should be a confederacy, less centralized than the current European Union and with a more balanced North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Although this proposal expresses a “clash of civilizations” mentality a la Samuel Huntington, Nemo asserts that the Western Union should promote “the dialogue of cultures” in its political dealings with other cultures…