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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 November 2004, 19:51 GMT
Eyes Wide Shut?
Map of South East Asia
Is this the place to be to get the current world view?
BBC Radio 4's Analysis: Eyes Wide Shut? was broadcast on Thursday, 18 November, 2004 at 20:30 GMT.

Europe was, not so long ago, by far the most important, outward-going and expansionist continent in the world. Europe was the central actor in two world wars. The fault-line of the Cold War bisected it.

Yet now it seems increasingly peripheral to world events. From being the place to view and understand the dynamics of the world - remember Paris, Frankfurt or London in the 1960s - it no longer provides such a vantage point.

The engines of change have moved elsewhere. To the United States in the first place, but also increasingly to East Asia which is home to one-third of the world's population and which is overtaking Europe economically. The centre of gravity is moving east and west.

Europeans, however, do not seem to recognise this. Indeed, the fact that Europeans are still largely unaware of this slippage in their global importance is itself confirmation of the growing provincialism of our continent.

In as far as Europe has produced a big idea, it is the European Union which was intended to make Europe matter in global affairs. Yet it seems to have achieved the opposite: The EU's preoccupation with expansion and integration has consumed Europe's energies and divisions over Iraq spoke to its weakness.

Martin Jacques asks whether Europe is in danger of becoming inward-looking and self absorbed, and what that could mean for the continent's future.

Contributors include the historian Niall Ferguson, the economist Martin Wolf, Minxin Pei , Director of the China programme at Carnegie Endowment in Washington DC and Robert Cooper, Director General for External Affairs at the European Council in Brussels.

Presenter: Martin Jacques
Producer: Ingrid Hassler
Editor: Nicola Meyrick




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