Sunday, May 14, 2017

Instead of Brexit Repeats Why Not a Smarter Europe?

  In my on-line discussions with American fans of Marine Le Pen discussing her last Sunday's loss several issues kept returning undigested. One was the idea that to save France, (and the cultural traditions of other European nations) the nation states must return in toto, that is they need to exit the EU and destroy it.  This is extremely na├»ve.  Mind you, this would not really be surprising coming from Americans, but surely it was from Le Pen and the Front National.  In the past, I praised Marine for political acumen, especially her ability to avoid extremist positions (despite the label being pinned on her) and her push to get her movement into the mainstream. However, it appears now that since the Regionals in 2015 she has gone the way of other European "protest movements", which assure themselves of remaining on the fringes of political life by saying and doing stupid things. Take for example the proposal of Geert Wilders to ban the Qur'an in the Netherlands as "hate literature".  The idea was criticized even from within the ranks as outlandish, to which Geert replied, in a standard defense, by saying that "you have to demand more than you know you can get". 

    To me however, this is precisely why Wilders' PVV will remain the pariah in Netherlands despite growing apprehension of Europe committing suicide by immigration which threatens not just the culture and traditions but social welfare of the "native Europeans" (a notion which has already been equated with Nazism and racism by the EU matriarchs).  The home-grown Dutch will simply conclude that Wilders is too much of a twit to lead the country, and the "extra" bubble of support - that he gets after each Islamist atrocity - goes "poof". 

    But there is a bigger issue, in fact the elephant in the room in both the Dutch and French spring elections: Ne/Fre/xit.  The problem of the populist Europe is that it took first the (phoney) threat of Grexit and then the real Brexit as a start of an inevitable massacre whereby the monster-chicken of EU would be cut up back to completely sovereign states, each proud and free with defended borders and national economy and presumably twenty-seven spanking-new European embassies. Big mistake!

     Brexit will not be repeated because there is no other island nation in Europe with a history like Britain's and its unique ties to Europe. Europe is a continent which was once dominated by a few dynastic houses competing for supremacy first on its territory and then the globe. When in a world war one of those houses was denied and scrapped, a new political movement soon sprang up in the
abolished Empire with a dominance ideology which repeated a world war in a generation.  After the war, the EU logically evolved from a struggle for global dominance by the US and USSR, i.e. states outside of the traditional inner political orbit of Europe. First, the economic and then the political integration of Europe made sense. It was foreseen by political visionaries like Georges Clemenceau and the first Czechoslovak president T.G. Masaryk between the wars.  Masaryk, whose wife was an American suffragette, spoke of the desirability of United States of Europe to prevent wars and to build on the common purpose of the continent's Judeo-Christian culture. Sure, made sense then and makes sense now.  It is somewhat ironic that the anti-EU populist movements find so much common ground in their conferences. They really do look like a new Nationalist Internationale.

    So, hopefully when Marine Le Pen sobers up from her stinging defeat by an empty-headed political mannequin, she will reflect on the depth of folly of  "demanding more than you know you can get".  The EU and Eurozone are here to stay and France will stay in them. Too much has been invested in European integration and most people feel comfortable in it (even if they complain). That should be a starting point. 

    Then perhaps one can start to push for a reform in the way EU sees itself as a hyper-concentrated political monolith and take it down a few pegs, especially the monstrous ideological pseudo-shrine where noone prays but the self-serving elites.  Devolve some of the regulatory powers back to the  member nations. As for national borders, they should remain but the emphasis should be on common European interests. Instead of AfD wanting to protect Germany's borders and Front National the French, then perhaps what seems a more rational, and efficient solution in protecting both from barbarian invasions is protecting the Schengen border.  No ?

    Clearly, what is needed in Europe is much smarter political thinking than we see right now. The popular anti-elitist movements need to forget about abandoning the EU. It's there for a reason, and it may yet show itself a powerful tool in protecting the common interests of the Europeans.  Call for reform, cut out the crap, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Trump Cans Comey CNN Goes Gorilla

Neither item of the news is surprising, really. The head of FBI should have been gone day one of Trump administration for incompetence and overstepping his mandate.  His handling of the Clinton email saga was atrocious, whichever way you want to look at it. In the Democratic version of the beef, his "re-opening" of the investigation into Clinton two weeks before the election day, was a capital offense (,and in the extreme form of denial, one of two major causes of her losing the vote on November 8th). In the Republican one, Comey in the summer gave a pass to a blatant breach of security and unconscionable handling of government secret documents by the former Secretary of State Clinton. Only last week, the FBI director raised some eyebrows again when it was revealed during the Senate hearings that the some of the classified emails on Huma Abedin husband's laptop did not get there via backup (accepted as a bona fide explanation, and by the disseminated by the Bureau in news releases) but via transmission over public network (obviously unencrypted) to secure a hard copy. So two GOP beefs against Comey, against one Democratic one.

      No sooner the news of firing Comey hit the airwaves, CNN had its take on it, which went on like this: "Trump fired Comey because the FBI was getting closer and closer to him. This was a cynical, Nixonian ploy to get the DOJ off Trump's back on his wheeling dealing American democracy away to Putin. "

Nothing surprising in this for the ongoing congressional investigations into Russian interference in last year's US election, which has come straight out of Kafka. Perhaps only Jeff Toobin, one of the CNN regulars who usually keeps his head above silly babblefests, who this time went completely bonkers, fuming about the absurdity of Trump's "firing Comey in May 2017 because he was nasty to Hillary in October 2016", an obviously stupid way to try to get rid of the Inquisitor just as he was to confirm the Bureau has incriminating evidence of the Donald fellating Putin. Toobin, turning colors kept bleating the instant litany of the Dems, that this act was to sabotage The Investigation (which has so far produced absolutely nothing that would warrant interest), and that a special prosecutor was needed who would be impartial, which in translation means:  ready to conclude the prosecution of the president without facts to the satisfaction of the combined force of  Democrats and NeverTrumpers and get the sorry SOB out of the White House where he had no business to be in the first place.

Of course, I am a cynic and therefore do not believe that the canning of Comey had to do with the botched Hillary-Abedin investigation. But unlike Toobin, I think the official case for getting rid of him is good and solid. The real reason though that Trump finally got his fill of the FBI chief is, I have convinced myself,  because both of them know that Trump has not been investigated by the FBI, and Comey during the Senate hearing last week played stupid and chose to dance around it when he could have simply and truthfully said: "No, president Trump himself is not being investigated by the FBI".  That would have been the end of the despicable charade. There was no collusion between Trump's team and Russia because the pathetic little non-items on Michal Flynn, Carter Page, Roger Stone or Paul Manafort that have bubbled up are far, far from anything even resembling some unseemly conspiracy.  Now, to believe that with the sentiments that Washington and the mainstream media have toward the sitting president, the blatant  effects of some vast Manchurian candidate conspiracy would have been hidden this long strikes me as far stupider than believing Trump fired Comey because of his inept handling of the Hillary Clinton emails investigation.