Neighboring countries in many regions of the world have negative feelings toward each other. Negative attitudes that are rooted in historical memories of part wars and atrocities, racial and ethnic jealousy, and competition for power and domination in the same neighborhood. When we look at the history of various regions of the world, it is not an error to claim that, up until World War II, no region had experienced more war and violence than Europe. Yet after experiencing the devastating destruction of two World Wars in the first half of 20th century, the Europeans were able to overcome their deep animosities and develop close ties with one another.
They have managed to create the European Union and propagate a pan-European cultural identity among a large segment of each member-nation’s citizens. The French, the Germans and the British still feel very competitive toward each other but they have managed to channel those competitive feelings away from bloodshed and into athletic, artistic, scientific and industrial competition.
Surrounded by two superpowers (the United States and the former USSR), they have realized that cooperation and unity is the only way that they can remain relevant and competitive as a continent. The historical grievances and cultural hatreds among Arabs, Turks and Iranians, are no worse than the French, British and Germans in 19th and first half of 20th centuries. If Europeans have been able to transform those deep rooted animosities into productive competition and a strong European identity, then perhaps their success can serve as a lesson for the ATI.