History of Europe
by Jakub Caithaml, 2010
Post-communist countries. States, where for half of the century terms like democracy, free market and human rights didn’t exist. Is it possible for these countries to become independent? How long can it take them to regain the freedom and respect they've lost decades ago?
To answer these questions it is essential to ask what exactly do we mean by freedom and independence, and to clearly set a border between the western and the eastern Europe. We can divide the post-communist countries to three major groups:
the ones that are in Europe and have already become members of the EU,
states that are in Europe but for some reasons they are not (yet?) part of the EU, most of them were part of the former Soviet Union
post communist states in Asia, which, again, were part of the SU.
When we have clearly divided the states, we can focus on the meaning of the keywords - independence and freedom. Independence, according to the Bouvier's Law Dictionary is: A state of perfect irresponsibility to any superior. And freedom, on the other hand is the condition of being free of restraints. (thefreedictionary.com)
Since the terms are clear we can now move on and immediately erase the first group of states from our list of potential candidates for freedom. As implies from the definition of independence, any state of the EU cannot be considered independent, since there always is an organisation which is above the states themselves - it is the European Union itself.
There is nothing like that for the second and third group of states, at least officially. Technically, they are under pressure of at least same intensity as the EU ones. These which are in Europe have to act as the EU wants them to, because if they don't, they are not going to be invited, so the money that EU provides to the poor countries are going to go to their neighbours instead of to them and they are going to end up bankrupt, unable to compete the supported economics of states that acted as they were told and were invited to EU. The states in Asia on the other hand have to act as they are expected because of the neverending danger of invasion from Russia or/and China, because their sovereignty is not much more that a word, and everyone knows that if there really was an invasion, no one would have helped (since no one wants China and/or Russia to get angry and the global peace is more important than a regional loss of freedom).
None of the post-communist states is really independent, and when you consider the power of their armies and economics, you can quite clearly see that the chance that one day they will be is very low. It might seem really pesimistic, but when we think about the world as a whole, we can see that it's so connected that no one is really independent. USA depends on China, cause China owns a big part of their debt. China depends on USA, together with the EU, because without the companies from the west, China would still be mostly a rural country. And the EU depends on China, since the European lifestyle isn't sustainable anymore, and if there wasn’t a group of hardworking people with practically no salary, our life standard would be several times lower. The globalization made the states so connected that no one is really free.
When we realize it, we can see the post-communist countries as they are - developing, on the field of economics, industry and culture, some slower and some faster, and even though they are not really free and independent, the most important thing, the independence and freedom of oneself is incomparable to the state where has it been just a few years ago.
If we want to answer the question from the title, we got to say no. It's not an opportunity for gaining something that even the biggest and most influential states don’t have. It is an opportunity for something else. An opportunity to become (so called) democratic country, with (mostly) working system and (at least pretending to have an) uncorrupted justice, with even opportunities (at least for the ones in charge) and successful economics (talking especially about the companies that fulfills the state commissions). An opportunity to get at (almost) the same level of dependence as all of the other states are. It is an opportunity to become respected, even if not equal. An opportunity to start a different way, which might be long and difficult, but on the end awaits the sweet rewards of possible success, moderate equality and reasonable independence.
Wish them a good journey!