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 naïve.  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.