I’m calling it.  The Mediterranean.  The Caucuses.  He’s just not very good at empire building, although Saakashvili appeared on CNN sitting next to the EU flag.

In all seriousness, Sarkozy’s six-month term as EU president has already twice brought about confrontation with the union’s expansion.  The failed gambit at a Mediterranean Union was knocked down by German media and public who saw it as an attempt at reconstituting the French colonial empire.  Now any questions of Georgia’s belonging to the community of Europe are mute–a nation farther east than Turkey, with less of a Hellenic imprint, which could not be aided militarily by either union or any member nation without going through the Black Sea (controlled by Turkey and Russia).  If the Russian invasion accelerates Georgian membership to the EU, Turkish membership would have to follow quickly, effectively killing the dream of an overlapping Mediterranean community.

Side note: there were some interesting editorials in German papers about Braudel’s The Mediterranean in the wake of Sarkozy’s project.  Wolf Lepenies and others wrote an editorial that describes how the book, conceived in Nazi captivity, imagines for the French the region as a counterweight to northern Europe, protecting and nurturing peace and liberty.  Unfortunately, Braudel ignored France’s domination of North Africa.

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