EUA, Europa e China, por André Bandeira

Is George Orwell's 1984 right?
The USA, Europe and China ( I - A Theorem of Three Angles)

The width of the Pacific implies estrangement. Estrangement implies fear. Therefore, if you speak of width among Nations, you imply fear and, in Nature, the smell of fear unleashes aggression, often in anticipation.

Many think that a strategic triangle between Europe, the USA and China would make the World ends meet. You have to believe in human touch (many get excited while looking at the war dance of the Mahori, often performed by the New Zealand rugby teams, but they should look at the Mahori cheering ritual, too, used at visiting their relatives, in the Pacific Islands). Maybe then you´d feel a sudden fulfilment for making part of Mankind.

But big Powers don´t believe in Magic. They take either prudent or daring moves. And, in this gulf between Magic and Prudence, nations may become outdated and replaceable by corporation allegiance or States turn into incorporated power. Prudence will wall in its treasures. Magic will jump over the wall as a dragon of fire, in the night. But, at dawn, one will have to choose between Fragmentation and Globalization and follow a leading Power.

Unfortunately, when night falls again, fragmentation will frame itself into nationalism, trans-national tribalism, terrorism. Then, in order to cope with it, the leading Power won´t have any other choice than articulating the world Order as Imperialism, in words or in deeds. The old labels will remain, as the UN and the OSCE, but new or renewed ones may overlap in attrition, as NATO and the Shanghai Seven.

Inferring that changes happen, so that everything may basically remain the same, could be satisfactory for those seeking satisfaction at all costs. But every moment is a step into the unknown. After all, “Novelty” comes from “Novum” in Latin, which meant the ultimate, the latter in a still ongoing series. At this point, some say that finally, the result depends on the auspicious signs of a bare Optimism. These “propitiators of luck” tend to forget the power of second-thoughts or of unintended consequences.

Look at Iran, for example, from Europe and from the USA. If President Ahmadinejad gets the upper hand in a complex constitutional system and builds nuclear weapons, the USA may kick down the table, again, over the Europeans…and over the Iranians.

As long as the oil demand is getting amber all over the world, the USA won´t relinquish of their strategic duty in controlling the Middle-East, whereas the Shanghai Cooperation Initiative will try to balance the spot to Asia, with a view to the Pacific. Japan will worry. Somewhere half-way, the Muslim World, which has its centre in the Middle East, seems to be strategically left on its own. Even if it will keep the West busy, more and more soldiers without an army will look for battles everywhere, also in Asia. One may soon stop calling them Terrorists when they´ll outnumber Divisions and Armies.

The “Caliphate” of Islam which is as unpredictable as it is imaginary has no consistency to be one of the poles. What about Europe? Between two poles, from a continental Asia to a Maritime West, what is needed is not a pole but a space. The image of a Triangle just mirrors this ancient endeavour.

“3” is the first natural number which is indivisible. The Greek Pythagoreans, who worshiped and studied the right-angled Triangle, found out that one has to “square” the two sides and add one to the other in order to equal the square of the hypotenuse, which is a stretched line between some point in space and any edge of a straight line. There will be no hypotenuse, neither between Europe and China, nor between Europe and the USA, similar to the existing line between Europe and the USA (or the USA and China) unless Europe may duplicate, triplicate and quadruplicate that stretch. That is the squaring Europe needs.

Europe should be taken not as a pole but as a “clearing area” of polarization. Without backing down, Europe has been able to lead different policies at the same time, of smoothly changing them, sometimes suddenly, according to the view of different European Constituencies. Maybe America will have to follow and accept too all its Americas, from Chile to Canada. And China will have to do more than duplicate with Russia. At that point, we´ll have not only a Triangle but also a Theorem.

Samuel Huntington´s invented the “Caliphate” of Islam which doesn´t square a space stretching from Chechnya to Indonesia, from downtown New York to Algeria. It is just a sketchy line.

Are we afraid of squaring the circle? Since ages, Geometers invented many mechanisms to do it and the hope of achieving an elegant way hasn´t faded. Maybe the Triangle was just the stepping stone. Maybe it is just a question of perception, and the diameter of a circle is just the hypotenuse which keeps the secret of a “squarable” round area.

Thus, Europe has to follow a circular, pendulum trajectory, sometimes defining a straight line with the USA, opposite to China, other times with China, opposite to the USA. The line with the USA will always be shorter but the angle will remain right. At any time, Europe will be the only one stretching as a hypotenuse, either to the USA or to China. And this hypotenuse will be the only one in the world deserving to be called the square root of a number which equals the areas of interest USA/Europe and USA/China, both summed up.

Only a multi-national and diverse “square”, such as Europe, which hardly occupies a Continent, will be able to mirror to each of the Pacific poles how multifaceted, their own magnetisms and how variable, their meridians, may be. Europe is the only house of mirrors able to square up all of them.

America may be an historical hope fulfilled and China the fulfilment of History itself. But Europe remains the veranda of hope, from which many Asians had to step down, to become one day, on foot or by sailing, Americans.