Walk the Oxen Path

He walks back to his house, after he has driven his small but valuable flock of sheep. First he treads down a dirt road. It is rather dusty during summer. Thankfully, not a single vehicle drives past him while he is gong down that road. He reaches small grove which has a small path that leads through before-mentioned grove. That path was once used as a main road for oxen and horse carriages and carts. But that was long time ago. Cars, tractors and trucks require wider and straighter roads than this forest path. Only his sheep use that path now, since oxen are existing only in memories of older generations in his village. And there are only two horses in that same village. Tractor really killed them off.  Path is not long, and he steps out on asphalt road. Road is narrow, so called election road. That term describes roads built in months before elections. Good luck getting road built or repaired in any other period. It is narrow to reduce cost, but people are generally quite happy just to be able to drive their vehicles without being smothered in dust during summer, or bogged down in mud and holes in autumn and spring. Still he meets no one. No neighbors, no travelers, no farmers. No cars. Nothing.

He then turns from the main road to the small gravel road that leads to his home. It is getting hot, but cherry and walnut trees that run along the road make a thick shade. He enters his yard, and sits to have a breakfast. During summer he eats and cooks in summer kitchen as they call it. It is a wooden cabin, with three rooms and a porch. One is kitchen, other is something like a pantry and the third one is where some of the grain is stored. And this is also where wooden barrels  are stored. And in them rakija, traditional homemade alcohol. He eats at the table that is set on the porch. It is quite pleasant atmosphere to be in. Porch has decorated posts and fence. There are flowers, and nicely mowed lawn. And the view that shows the beauty of his village. Green hills, lush forests through which small streams run. He loves it. Sunrise is beautiful. Sunset is even more glorious. He loves it. He doesn’t want to leave it all. And he wont. Because if everyone leaves, there will be no beauty here. No one will walk that old path. No one will go up and down those dusty old roads. No one will drive on those election narrow asphalt roads. Today was a slow day. That is why he hasn’t met anyone. But when he came home things sped up. People came and went. Words were spoken, laughter was heard. Rakija and bear were served. All was alive again.

That road home was a moment of doubt. But he is sure more then ever now that he is staying.

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EU – Superpower That Never Will Be

When we talk about power of one country today, often is there a sense that main reference point is its economic proves.  Is that really so? Is economy the ultimate tool of one’s might?   Can economic strength alone be the ultimate persuasion and manipulation tool in international affairs? Can we look at elements of power as stand-alone entities? Answer to these questions is probably no.  Economic power can only be efficient if used properly. And that proper use requires it to be used together with other power sources and tools, in accordance with circumstances. That means that economic force should be used with other elements of country’s power, specifically with political and military power. We might think that human societies are a bit beyond all that brutal physical enforcement, or threat of it. That international powerhouses now tend to use less barbaric instruments to exert influence on other countries or crisis areas. But behind all those economic threats, sanctions, political pressure there is that ultimate persuader. Good old-fashioned physical violence. That is why USA is the superpower. Sure, it is also world’s strongest economy even despite crisis. But source of US power is in how political, economic and military might are used and how they complement each other. Economy of USA enables it to sustain world´s largest military budget. It costs a lot to be able to project your power anywhere in the world, any time. That is not to say that economic punishment and reward aren’t  very potent tools in international relations.  No real foreign threat, being that USA are located between  two oceans which they rule with world’s mightiest naval force, also helps position of USA. “But why can´t I bee like that?” ,European Union asks itself. On paper, EU should be world´s economy force, if we look at it as one entity. And that would be it.  Other than this fact, EU has nothing else that makes it a serious power. First of all, it is not a country. So, there goes that “number one” spot in economy. It is community of many countries, each with its own specific domestic and foreign policies. Well, at least when we talk about major EU countries, like Germany, UK, France, etc. Small ones? Well, thy mostly agree on policies of big ones, or they have to (due to simply joining EU, or they need help in cash, like Greece). But do “big ones” have some consensus on foreign policy of EU? UK was always weary of the whole Europe as one country idea. France and Germany are more for EU as a country, but there is a question of who would dominate the Union. And those are just three major countries. Political consensus, just an idea. Just like United States of Europe. EU, economic union of European countries. That level of cooperation is passable for member states. Even questions of economy are not always solved by consensus of members. Let’s take Euro which was supposed to be currency of EU which would replace all national currencies. It didn’t. So even in most successful area of cooperation there are significant differences between members. It’s hard to expect better integration on other crucial topics which require transfer of parts of sovereignty from nation state to European Union. In the light of Ukrainian crisis, it is hard to get different countries of EU on the same page. Baltic states perhaps would like to see more determined stance of it`s    allies  when it comes to Russia. But what’s the stance of Germany, or France ( French built naval ships for Russians are issue which further strains relations between two countries, and with before mentioned  crisis in Ukraine they are already troubled)? Common foreign policy is hampered by individual national foreign policies. And if there was common foreign and defensive policy, how would it be implemented? Would countries be willing to integrate their armed forces in armed forces of EU? And what would be role of NATO? What would be reaction of foreign powers? What would be position of USA, which use their position in NATO to influence EU?

Introdution of a kind

First of all, I wish to say hello to anyone who is wiling to sacrifice their time to read insignificant words of not to important person.  I have no delusions that I can say and write something that will blow someones mind in any way. Intention is to have a place to practice writing, to express and share a thought or two, and to get some kind of response. So, no high expectations. On either side.

And one important thing, English is not my native language, so there will probably be some mistakes.