Boston artist Steve Mills - realistic painting

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

European unity: The Right and the Wrong Way

European unity: The Right and the Wrong Way

What is the EU worth if there is real trouble? Hungary: Election day illusions. When violene is recast as a virtue.
1. Central and Western Europe’s existing states mirror the region’s multi-polarity. Neither the State nor the Church could centralize continent-wide their power in order to create the idealized unity and uniformity that these institutions have pursued. As a result, numerous entities could emerge and many of these managed to establish themselves as states. A fall-out product –and sometimes a causative force behind this process of fragmentation- has been the emergence of a multitude of idioms. These are all regarded as expressions of essential identity. It is illustrative of diversification that some of these languages are not even Indo-European. Through this process of fragmentation, a number of states could emerge. They survived the efforts of the likes of Charlemagne, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin who all attempted to create unity by force. The firming tradition of independence, distinguished by a “unique” language, geographic factors and “race” proved to be stronger than muscle-driven projects of unification.
World wars have made clear the dangers inherent in a divided continent whose entities, possibly dominated by chauvinism, are at each other’s throat. The logical and wise solution was to accept the unalterable composition of the region while pulling the fangs of violently competing nationalisms. In part, this demanded economic cooperation and political structures that could prevent enmities from rising and which could moderate differences once discord became discernible. Given the Soviet threat and the protecting US’ nudging, the foundations of today’s EU emerged. The purpose was to prevent conflict and to guarantee the security of what were by global standards essentially small states from aggression. This arrangement was not only to ward off external domination but also to preserve, besides independence, the unique identities of the participating countries.
As time passed, processes unfolded that is frequent enough to be tagged as the “iron law of bureaucracy”. To make anything happen that does not occur naturally, you need an organization. This organization will soon see as its purpose its prolonged existence, and not the task for which it has been created. The resulting association has no interest in liquidating itself by working too well. To secure the members’ wellbeing, the outfit will create new areas of activity to augment its importance, to render itself indispensable and to expand its payroll. This process shaped much of “Europe’s” institutions. The diversity of the members that were dragged into the EU through its forced process of expansion gives the “Apparat” more than only a larger stage to act. The lacking cohesion also justifies bureaucratic intervention to replace natural processes.
Accordingly, the principled non-membership of some countries is a provocation to “Brussels”. Outstanding on the list is Switzerland. Geographically, like in the Hitler era, she is a white spot in the center of Europe. More important, the Swiss system of federalism and popular sovereignty contradicts the EU’s system of governance. The country’s performance generated per capita wealth – check the statistics – make it into a desirable financial contributor to cover the perennial deficit that is built into the EU’s system.
Switzerland and the EU have a number of agreements that regulate common problems. One is the Schengen treaty. The agreement creates a largely border-less community and it regulates access to Europe’s territory. The referendum’s opponents that caused Switzerland to join had strong reservations. Now, regardless of the establishment’s attempts to cover up, the opposition’s earlier fears have become a proven fact.
Switzerland had a conflict with Libya, respectively with the Kaddafi family. Internationally that clan is a steady source of scandals and law breaking. The police of Geneva dared to apply the law an arrested Hannibal Kaddafi. Reacting, the “Guide” of the revolution took Swiss as hostages. After breaking a deal with the apologetic Swiss, Berne imposed a travel ban on Libya’s elite. Under Schengen rules, this meant that these 180 persons could not enter any Schengen country. The “Guide” disliked that. In retaliation, no EU citizen could enter Libya. Europe felt encircled and isolated. With that, a shameful process began. Italy took the lead. Berlusconi visited Tripoli and kissed the ring Kaddafi wears. Then Italy began to criticize Switzerland for involving Europe in its quarrel. The action received support. While the EU “mediates”, the Swiss have already revoked their ban, the clan can visit Europe, and the hostage remains in jail.
The lesson of all this is that whoever gets into trouble cannot count on the EU once the going gets tough. The union protects only against non-existing challenges and practices appeasement that even Chamberlain would envy. Concurrently Greece gets 40 billion to buy it out of self-caused troubles while other collapses and bailouts wait around the corner. Considering the little, that Europe, hiding under the American umbrella, had done to fend off the Soviet threat; all this should be no surprise. Even so, the case, indirectly a major geopolitical indicator, is a lesson that those that need to learn it will ignore.

2. The European Union is no more prepared to meet new challenges then it was willing to face old Soviet-era ones. The community’s attitudes have ossified during the time of the East-West conflict. That situation has been characterized by a balance upheld by American power and Europe’s under performance regardless of the threat to its existence.

3. Hungary’s elections have caused the right-of-center Fidesz party to defeat the Socialist. It even has a chance to attain a two-thirds majority. The primary challenge to the winner is the public’s belief that through fair redistribution, government policy can guarantee “the good life”. The country that in 1989 had the best chances to succeed is now an economic basket case. Only sacrifices can provide the foundations to overcome the damage of twenty lost years.  During that time, the majority, being economic idiots, supported the pursuit of a policy that promised miracles for little input. Another one of the challenges will be a radical right-wing opposition. Its voters come from previously Socialist districts. Explain that with the susceptibility to nurture false hopes. How this element will behave in the parliament of a hard-to-govern because gullible country, is open to conjecture.

4. Those that can be induced to march with their view limited by the blinding light of a shining utopia’s promised heaven, wind up arriving in hell.

5. There are ideologies of good original intention that advocate heaven on earth for mankind. Clouds gather once such utopias proceed from daydreaming to the taking power and exercising it to free mankind from the curse that had, before the “Revolution”, determined its history. Such strategies come paired with an idealized view of the possibilities of system-induced cooperation by people that are recast to be virtuous by a perfect order. It is at that juncture that evil people hijack projects of ordered brotherly love. Having gained power, the men that see their task as the creation of a new order, make a discovery. The people they have inherited from history are tainted by their sinful past. Accordingly, they are unable to live up to the norms of their postulated potential. When moral appeals fail, the choice for the redeemers is between coercion and retreat. The moral high ground created by the original fiction will then make violence designed to replace voluntarism appear to be a virtue.

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