In May 2003, after President Bush had declared that major hostilities in Iraq were over, some European philosophers and intellectuals published a manifesto posing questions about Europe in light of the Iraq War. These philosophers, Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida, were later answered by other philosophers and intellectuals - Umberto Eco, Gianni Vattimo, Richard Rorty and others. The questions they posed were: What is the nature of Europe? Was it to eventually to become one nation? Is Europe to oppose the United States? Several European intellectuals had thought that before the Iraq War that Europe was getting closer to unity, but the split over the war showed that unity is still far off.
Some European nations - France, Germany, Belgium Luxembourg, and others – who opposed the Iraq War are called part of “core Europe.” The leaders of these countries are working toward a united Europe. Other countries like the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and others who make up another part of “core Europe” that supported the U.S. in its war in Iraq, show that a united Europe is not going to be coming about soon.
Then there are the “new Europe” nations of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and others who support the U.S. in its war in Iraq and want to be in America’s good graces. They want to experience their new freedom as independent countries after being under long time Soviet oppressive control. They also though want to be part of NATO and the European Union.
This book is very academic, especially since the authors of the essays are some of the important intellectuals of Europe. All sides of the issues are represented; the reader gets views of Eastern and Western Europeans which are quite different. These essays were originally in newspapers throughout Europe and have been gathered here by the editors for the English-speaking world to learn more about what Europeans are thinking about in regard to the future of Europe and its relationship with the United States.
The title harkens back to the words of U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld when he referred to nations who opposed the U.S. war in Iraq as “old Europe” and those who supported the U.S. as the “new Europe.” Many Europeans were insulted by these words, as is evident in these essays, while others seem to bask in them.
There are 33 essays of varying length. There is a list of the contributors with their credentials and the book finishes with an index. The book is recommended to those interested in the Iraq War, the European Union, and European intellectual culture.