Hannes Richter

Pax Americana

Hannes Richter

Opportunity or Risk for Europe?

Are Europe and America drifting further apart? What remains for Europe in view of America as the "only remaining world power" (Zbigniew Brzezinski), or in light of America as the "new Rome" (Peter Bender). Last November the Ninth Viennese Congress on Culture devoted itself to a discussion of these, among other related questions.


Because globalization is often perceived as ‘Americanization' in all of the sectors - politics, science, culture and the economy - the question arose whether we are faced with an Anglo-Saxon/American "world of standards?" Publishing in English is a prerequisite in research, American methods of management and finance are on the march, pop music and Hollywood can be found in all corners and back alleys of the planet, and the national identity of "the other" is apparently losing out. What should Europe's future or cultural identity look like faced with American dominance? Has the "battle of Europe's cultural identity been lost long ago?"


Heinz Nußbaumer, editor of the Austrian weekly, Die Furche, saw a contradiction in the expression "Pax" (Peace) and America (Superpower) regarding the curtailing of democracy and the freedom to enter the U.S. Editor-in-Chief of the Austrian daily, Die Presse, Andreas Unterberger, doubted whether or not America was really that interested in Europe's well-being. He emphasized that Germany played a "key role" in repairing transatlantic relations.

The initiative taken by the socalled ‘Chocolate Summit’ – the French, Germans, Belgians, and Luxemburgs – having their own headquarters and a type of European counter alliance to America, has been put on the back burner. Germany's Minister of Defense Peter Struck made that quite clear in Berlin. The one-time vision inspired by the French is no longer. What we now have is a core of planners consisting of some one hundred staff of generals who reside in the NATO headquarters.