Politico, the online magazine, suggests that there is a "surprising reason" that Europe came together, so quickly (and unexpectedly), to stand up against Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Why did that happen? Despite our president's suggestion that he was the one who was able to get everyone together, Politico gives the most credit to Google Translate.
A friend sent me a link to the Politico article - and here that link is, for you! As far as I know, no paywall will prevent anyone from reading what Politico has to say - and I think that the article is well worth reading.
Since Feb. 24, when Russia launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine, we’ve heard from many quarters that Europe is united as never before. “Fifteen years ago, during the financial crisis, it took us years to find lasting solutions,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the European Union address to the European Parliament on Sept. 14. “But this year, as soon as Russian troops crossed the border into Ukraine, our response was united, determined and immediate.”
Apart from Hungary (which continues to pay Russian President Vladimir Putin obsequious court), Europe has indeed displayed an uncommon unity since the invasion began. Converging on Brussels within hours of the invasion, European leaders surprised the world by swiftly passing package after package of sanctions designed to crush Russian finance, deprive it of revenue from energy exports, hamstring its defense sector, punish its elites and shut down its propaganda organs.
Von der Leyen attributes this uncommon unity and efficiency to Europe’s “courage and solidarity.” The Biden administration attributes it to the president’s diplomatic prowess: Administration officials told the Washington Post that Biden had engaged “in discreet diplomacy with European allies, and in recent weeks he ha[d] encouraged them to take action.” One European diplomat attributed it to Putin: “Putin has done much more than any other to unite the Europeans and to go for a stronger European Union.” All of this is true. The prospect of invasion by Russia concentrates the mind wonderfully.
But there is another, less widely acknowledged source of Europe’s newfound unity: The latest version of Google Translate, which has turned the ancient dream of a world without language barriers into reality.
Putin and the War in Ukraine seem to be providing a confirmation, the way Politico sees it, that "talking to strangers" can have a powerful impact on what we do. Let's take heed of what happened in this case, and start thinking about ways to use technology, and just plain old human interaction, to realize that John Lennon dream:
… Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
… Imagine all the people
Livin' life in peace
… You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
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