The Cacophonic Concert of Europe: Between Nationalism and Grand Strategy

    • EUPE Florence Dec2017
    • Presentation speakers
      • Wolfgang Danspeckgruber, Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton University
      • Uriel Abulof, Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton University


    Humans need to belong, and search for communities in order to live and interact with each other according to a certain set of norms and regulations that preserve and protect their families. Thus, self-determination – one’s right, and capacity, to determine his or her own private, and communal, destiny – has a potent role to play in postmodern politics in and beyond Europe. Still, the means by which self-determination is pursued are neither static nor monolithic. These days, aspirations and claims to self-determination can be transmitted globally in real-time; as a result, the troubles of one community can very quickly be communicated to and by others. When the interaction of men and women and across generations is also taken into account, local politics becomes potentially global in real-time. These factors do make a difference, as they invite outside interference and render effective crisis management much more difficult. By extension, the construction of grand strategy is all the more necessary, but harder to achieve – as the unfolding situations in Catalonia, Scotland and Kurdistan demonstrate. With today’s apparent endless succession of international crises, we need to bring fresh insights to bear on the political conversation in our less-than-golden age. The problems and crises concerning self-determination and strategy, as well as the state and its various forms, have become ever more relevant, fundamental, and far reaching. This paper will discuss these multifaceted challenges, and explore whether there is a future for “self-determining Europe,” and whether this could serve as a vision for a new, regional, grand strategy.