There was a good column by Gideon Rachman in the FT a while back, arguing that the EU was dropping out of world history, safe and utterly absorbed in its own concerns:
There are some advantages to the semi-pacifist outlook of modern Europe. The downside is that when an international crisis breaks out, Europeans often look like irrelevant whiners. They complain about the American response – but they are powerless to alter events themselves.
Irrelevance is not particularly dignified or noble. But it could still be the logical choice for Europe. Arguably, the EU has achieved a sort of nirvana. It is too strong to be attacked; and too weak to be asked to sort out the rest of the world’s problems. As Harry Lime might have pointed out, Europe has become a giant Switzerland.
We were powerfully reminded of that piece when we saw this comment from the Swedish Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors, which he made back in April:
“[The Swedish military] has for example assisted in introducing an Environmental Management System in Georgia. In this way, the Georgian military should be taking a more environmentally friendly approach, from the command level down to the unit level.”
Given what just happened, it's incredible to think that back in April (when things were already on the slide) EU members were worried about whether the Georgian military were environmentally friendly.
The EU members and Georgia are living in different worlds.