VIEWSnEurope Is Not What It SeemsnIt would be logical for me to say that, returning to thenUnited States after another four months this summer andnfall in various countries of Europe, east and west, I found angreat many misconceptions about the continent in Americannmedia and public opinion. Yet it would not be fair tonlimit myself to such a remark, because in Europe too suchnmisconceptions are staggering; at least those which arenengendered in the east about the west and in the west aboutnthe east. This is the more astonishing as these two halves arenscheduled to be gradually working out their rapprochement,nin order finally to unite. The truth is, however, that such an”unity” is nothing more than a slogan, a magic word thatncarries two different meanings: the east of Europe regardsnunity as a method of receiving vast sums from the west, innthe form of gifts, investments, joint ventures, and tourismn(myriad hotels are being built to receive visitors); the west ofnEurope regards unity as a means of flooding the east withnneeded and unneeded merchandise, as a means of makingninstant and huge profits through investment (there arenalready guidebooks to this effect).nThe negative aspect of these sharp ambitions on bothnsides is the fear of the other’s Machiavellianism, or, morenplainly, its tricks. The west, including even Austria, isnworried about the new migrants from the impoverishednlands: Gypsies from Rumania, black-marketeering Poles,nmasses of Russians; the east is even more worried that thenrespective national resources and patrimonies will be boughtnup by foreign capital under the pretext of “privatization,”nThomas Molnar’s most recent book is The Church,nPil grim of Centuries, reviewed in this issue.n18/CHRONICLESnby Thomas Molnarnnnand that “western culture” will invade minds and tastes thatnhave successfully resisted forty years of communism andnbrainwashing.nThis is, then, the rather desolate truth in place of thenillusion that East and West Europe wish nothing better thannto cooperate and unite. Underneath the politicians’ officialnembraces, old and new fears surface, national jealousiesnthrive, and among western investors themselves a kind ofnshark-morality prevails: who can cut a larger slice from thensoon-to-be neocolonized east? About 40 percent of Hungary’snnewspapers are already in the hands of westernnpresslords: Maxwell, Murdoch and the French Hersant.nWith only 30 percent of the take, the German SpringernVerlag (Hamburg) is already in the position of vetoing thenarrival of French newspapers — or at least delaying them forndays (and who wants yesterday’s papers?).nThese are more than just glimpses of the supposedlynhappy east/west relations. In Western Europe proper thenidea of unity is regressing, although the cause has become sonsacred that all lips pay service to the wonderful prospectsncoming in 1993. Yet the Germans want none of then”union,” none of the common currency, and if you look atnFrance or Spain, you readily understand why the Germansnare so reluctant and why they will end up dictating thenfuture. France is full of striking workers, students, publicnemployees — and every month a huge foreign trade deficit.nSpain is increasingly desolate, its industry retrogressing, itsn(socialist) government supported by only 29 percent of thenpopulation. The Germans, with their skill and know-how,npenetrate Spanish economic life like a knife into butter, andnthey are also mightily present in Eastern Europe (andn