Greek European Culture

Islam, Politics

Obama and the american dream – do we want that?

Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House

For those of us who are interested in a European union that will be indeed European, Obama’s tour provides an occasion to think about some issues.

Under Obama, as before (you recall that Ellopos’ pages kept warning, we should not be very optimistic about Obama), American policy dreams of a European Union that will resemble the US, i.e., a more or less commercial union of peoples otherwise having the most diverse ideals, this way reducing all of our common life to commerce, wanting from us just to respect each other’s right to make money! The american dream means that public life will be the life of a company, while anyone enclosed in one’s own home can believe whatever, do and be whatever, etc.

Of course, this is better than a totalitarian state wanting to regulate our lives in each and every aspect – yet it is far away from a real union of peoples, since it creates a shadowy public life, without any relevance with our non-commercial personal interests. We have a real union, when what we want to be and do in our personal life is not regulated, of course, by the state, but it is also not irrelevant with what the state does and with what the whole of the public life is. This means that we, the people, create the state, we need to form the public life in the image of our personal interests. Since we are not (so long as we are not) money-making machines, there can be no public life able to satisfy us, if it is formed according to the commercial dimensions only and ignoring our non-commercial interests.

These, simple I believe, thoughts, seem to be absolutely difficult for the american presidents to understand. Thus we saw Obama, following the previous american policy on the issue, speaking about Turkey entering the European Union! Very rightly president Sarkozy reminded him that this is a European issue in which US has no right to interfere. Yet Obama kept repeating it, and he said it also during his visit to Turkey – to a Turkey that wants to impose itself on Europe!

If Europeans remain even a little worthy of respect, we should not even think about the possibility of accepting in our Union a nation that wants to impose itself, to force us accept it, by using external allies such as the US. And: if Turkey respected us, it would just try to persuade us, instead of trying to force us.

US may be criticized for the way it perceives a union, but it is only logical to dream of a European union that will resemble the American one. This is why US can still be a friend, despite the differences. Things are different with Turkey. Turkey doesn’t raise a voice of its own, trying even to change European views, as US does, but it hides behind the US trying to impose itself on Europe. This alone can be enough for our talks with Turkey to stop completely.

1 Comment

  1. david lee parker

    “The american dream means that public life will be the life of a company, while anyone enclosed in one’s own home can believe whatever, do and be whatever, etc.” –Right on! I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, rural Appalachia, neither “America” in the way the Northeast or Midwest are nor is it the “South.” Very much a, now lost and dead, ethos and ethnos there (I’m only beginning my Greek, hope those words were the right choices). But I remember it and it was not like today, where all life can be like work, where everywhere you look is the ugliness of the real estate developer. Thanks for your blog, your website and your comment.