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Vijay Mehta's Peace Beyond Borders Book Review by James Grayson



Review by James Grayson, Journalist

Peace Beyond Borders
Vijay Mehta

ISBN 978-1-78028-376-2

Vijay Mehta produces interesting books. In this addition to his oeuvre the thesis is that because Europe has been peaceful since WWII one can extrapolate conditions which form a sufficient cause for continuing peace elsewhere:

1) Enshrined democracy and the rule of law
2) Economic truce
3) Open borders and human ties
4) Soft power and shared values
5) Permanent discussion dialogue and diplomacy
6) Financial incentives and support
7) Veto and consensus building
8) Resistance to external interference
9) Rules human rights and multiculturalism
10) Mutual trust and peaceful coexistence.

The EU lacks military forces and is mostly, “Protected,” by NATO which moved into the former Soviet Union sphere of influence at the first opportunity and politicians failed to consider the consequences.

Consider activities around the fringes: three cod wars between Britain and Iceland, political violence around the future of Ireland, violent unrest in the Basque region, a proxy war in Cyprus and fighting in the Ukraine whilst refugees continue to seek better lives at great danger to themselves.

Is this picture less rosy?

In the absence of political violence tax revenues might be devoted to mutually advantageous projects, an example, the likely loss of the Erasmus programme is causing some to consider possible alternatives.
The truth is that International relationships are often fraught. The United Nations is perceived as toothless and the present composition of the permanent membership of the Security Council is discredited.

The EU is run by its bureaucracy and local civil services rather than its parliament so it is a flawed example nevertheless it has delivered peace for several decades. Mehta does not mention the outstanding applications: Morocco has been on hold since 1972 and Turkey seems almost to have given up on a serious application using it to extract such political advantage as may be available whilst it establishes itself as an increasingly important player in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

There is a mention of the possibility of the EU taking in, eventually, the former combatants from former Yugoslavia and an analysis of the causes of the war. A commentary on the plethora of post combat, “Peacekeeping,” institutions would have been welcome.

Mehta offers a set of conditions which must be useful in terms of consensus building and his example holds up, but not in all circumstances. This is a welcome contribution to the debate.