Europe - the geopolitics of disunion

Europe - The geopolitics of disunion

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José Manuel Freire Nogueira

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Retired Major-General of the Army. Ph.D in International Relations from Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL). President of the International Relations Committee of the Geographical Society of Lisbon.


There are forces which, by acting over a long time frame and by remaining almost unaltered, leave traces in societies and nations that make them more or less prone to certain behaviours. These marks include physical geography, which is like the stage of history and exerts a profound influence on it. Europeans today face challenges that result from their own perceptions and different cultural habits forged by centuries or even thousands of years of conflicts brought about by religion, tribal views or linguistic barriers, reinforced by the compartmentalized division of the territory, by the existence, or lack of it, of large waterways, and by the mildness or rigour of the climate. In fact, the union of Europe, which was often attempted by force, found a new impetus with the end of World War 2, leading to a peaceful construct unprecedented in history. However, as this union expanded and deepened, the aggregating cement that held Europe together has degraded, appearing not to withstand the winds of the crises well. We will only be able to strengthen what unites us when we gain awareness of what divides us. Portugal, a country which is almost one thousand years old and which has validated itself outside Europe from an early age, is facing yet another crisis for survival. Understanding the possible ways-out beyond the “mist of the days” and the politically correct has now become an exercise of citizenship.


Deep forces; geography and politics; the various “Europes”; wealth and poverty of nations

How to cite this article

Nogueira, José Manuel Freire (2011). "Europe - The geopolitics of disunion", JANUS.NET e-journal of International Relations, Vol. 2, N.º 2, Autumn 2011. Accessed [online] on date of last view,

Article received on May 2011 and accepted for publication on October 2011