Robert Cooper in Eurozine:
The Habsburg Monarchy lasted five centuries. It was both solid and flexible; it aroused genuine affection among its citizens. But it vanished in a puff of smoke. Should we expect the European Union, shallow in history and unloved by those it serves, to do better?
To be fair, it was more than a puff of smoke. The bullets from Gavrilo Princip's revolver killed the Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sofia. What killed the Habsburg Monarchy was the four years of pounding by artillery that followed. This brought death and ruin to the old Europe; in Russia it brought revolution and tyranny, and in Germany regime change accompanied by failed revolution, then inflation and depression, and finally world war and genocide.
What arose from the ashes? The answer is: the European Union and NATO. It is the EU and its resemblance to the Habsburg Monarchy that is the subject of this essay, but something needs first to be said about NATO which was and is its indispensable partner.