Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bulgaria: Poster Child for Empty Promises?

“Everything in Bulgaria looks fine formally: the free market, human rights, free speech, the multiparty political system, membership in E.U. and NATO,” Mr. Sugarev said. “But that’s only a facade. Behind it there is nothing.”  NYT
In Kin or Country (see pic on right-hand side of this blog), Bill Ayres and I argue that the membership processes of NATO and the EU were not as influential as often averred.  So, I have mixed feelings to see Bulgaria lagging behind: I am not surprised that we were right, but it is because Bulgarians are doing poorly.  On the other hand, whether we are right or wrong is immaterial to the lives of Bulgarians, so I guess I should not feel much guilt about being happy we have been correct.

Ah, the world is a complex place.  But it is generally safer to underestimate the transformative power of international organizations than to overestimate. 

On another European story, I am not going to link my blog to an article by Robert Kaplan that says that Europe is, in many ways, worse off after the Cold War because it is not united in some grand mission.  I may not be entirely right about Kaplan's assertions, but the general thrust makes reading the argument more closely a waste of time.

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