Tagged: Europe

Eastern Europe

I spent some time during the summer of 2015 traveling through Eastern Europe. It has changed dramatically since 1991, the year in which the Sowjet Union dissolved and the Warsaw Pact ended. Former Czechoslovakia became two countries, and former Yugoslavia fragmented in 1991/1992 into six states (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Croatia, and Slovenia). This led to several wars in the territory of former Yugoslavia, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 140,000 people. Today, the region is again in the spotlight, because it is a transit hub for many refuges from the Syrian war and the unrest in the Middle East. Where is Eastern Europe today,...

Europe: What now?

When I grew up in West Germany in the 70’s and 80’s, I learned French in High School, and I participated in a student exchange program that sent us young Germans to live during the Summer months with French families, while their teenagers came to our homes. I learned that the Germans and the French belong together, in the words of one of our Chancellors, we are a “Schicksalsgemeinschaft,” a community created by a shared destiny. These experiences were deeply emotional for us, because we had also visited the battlefields of Verdun, and we knew that our grandfathers had fought...

Emmanuel Levinas on Peace

The last entry on Carl Schmitt reflected on the implications of a realpolitik where the sovereign state is necessary to protect us from the hatred that can erupt so easily in human relationships. On one extreme end of this spectrum is war as the ultimate option to defend collective interests against enemies. What is on the other end? Can we find a viable political philosophy driven by a vision of peace? The Root of Ethics in the Encounter with the Other. This entry is dedicated to Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995), another European thinker who lived at the same time as Schmitt, but who developed very different...

The Rivers of Europe

The rivers of Europe are the veins that run through European culture and geography. They are the main lines of transportation and commerce, they irrigate and feed the surrounding landscapes, but they also serve as natural borders. European rivers are celebrated in songs and poems; they play a major role in the economy as well as in politics. Hundreds of rivers and their tributaries crisscross the European continent, thus connecting many cities and landscapes. Nowadays, tourism booms along these rivers: River cruises offer an easy way for foreigners to travel through Europe and experience many cities and historic places close-up. The following list includes...