Published on The Brussels Journal (http://www.brusselsjournal.com)
Only One Country Meets EU Criteria. It Is Not In EU
By George Handlery
Created 2010-05-15 11:00
Natural and unnatural unions. Guess who fits the €-zone’s requirements! Who and what has failed? The overcooked spaghetti and the perils of police work.
1. What masquerades as the Greek crisis is in reality a general solvency crisis of profligate sovereign borrowers. The dilemma presented still demands a long-term response. The situation makes one conclude that Europe’s economic union is composed of bits that do not fit. Or that the pieces fit – but only in another picture. A union – whether political or economic – can be forged out of parts that have, while still separated, developed underlying similarities. This criterion amounts to a spontaneous convergence. Lacking this pre-condition, creating by fiat an association for the purpose of cajoling incompatibles mix into a new brew, will totter at the first challenge. Economically and politically, the EU has been made to grow too fast and too far.
2. Does any European country meet fully the EU’s criteria for membership? No, even Germany does not. By now, you have probably guessed that the list is likely to be as short as an amputated poodle’s tail is. “No one” would be an answer that sounds well. True it is not. But that allegation, too, would be wrong. Switzerland is the one country that meets the criteria.
The problem with this exception is that the only country in the center of the EU that surrounds it and that is stubbornly a non-member, is Switzerland. Could one say that the situation is a surprise? Not necessarily. Is it proper to state that her finances are sound although she is not a member? Hardly. The best fitting explanation is that Switzerland is OK because she is, regardless of being maligned, cajoled, pushed and extorted, not part of the EU.
3. Is the Greek crisis a sign of the failure of capitalism, perhaps a failure of the markets or a result of too much “socialism”? In its pure form, neither the categorical “yes” nor the unqualified “no” fits the case entirely. Today’s implosion is the joint product of socialist and supposedly right-of-center governments. These might have fed different clans by exploiting state power in their favor while they might also have articulated different platforms. In doing so, while they contested each other for access to the purse, they were united in one thing. They all pursued collectivistic policies, they separated input from output (dividends for support), and they interfered in favor of this clan or that clan in the free operation of the market.
4. Legislation that forbids the public use of burqas and other garbs that cover the entire body and the face, are becoming trendy in Europe. Three very different arguments are used to justify such bans. One is that the veil discriminates against women. Therefore, it is an expression of their subservience. Second, the wrap is considered to be an outward expression of a fundamentalist variety of Islamism. That is of an “ism” that intends to infringe upon the order and way of life of the host nation. Given this danger, the process by which pressure is applied on the majority needs to be disrupted. Third, there is a security argument. A head-to-toe camouflaged person’s identity cannot be ascertained. Furthermore, the tent worn hides the intentions of the wearer and is a potential cover for instruments that might harm bystanders. The burqa’s defenders’ best argument addresses itself to the first objection. They claim that the wearers do so voluntarily. The claim tends to be supported by a wearer or two. These tell reporters that they feel comfortable because they are protected from the perverted observers of their curves. In the interest of that, they wear the veil voluntarily.
This allegation of acting of their own volition reminds the writer of his own youth. He used to march on May 1st, November 7, and write letters to Stalin to congratulate him on his birthday. You either did this voluntarily while shouting enthusiastically and smiling ear-to-ear. Or you –and your family-experienced the crushing blows of the “fist” of the “toilers,” that is of the State Security. So it was voluntary. Totally. To avoid something that was assuredly worse.
5. Europe’s Socialist, whether appearing under this label or as Social Democrats that govern, co-direct, or form a majority-capable opposition in numerous countries. They like to present themselves as a leftist, therefore socially sensitive and “kind” alternative to exploitative capitalism. Meanwhile, their name is to indicate that they are untainted by actual Communist domination’s crimes. The persecution of Social Democrats in east Europe would support the claim. The fly-speck on this picture is that, with some connivance of a new social democracy’s leaders, this era of history is beyond the pale and is made by PC forgotten to the extent that it is unmentionable. Therefore, the case is focused on what SDs do nowadays when they are close to achieving a majority. They willingly coalesce, for the sake of power, with the Communists, respectively with party that claims to be, under a new name, a continuation of the “best” of the totalitarian Left.
Also in the case of the Greens, during election campaigns, such as in Germany, the voters are assured that being democrats, an alliance with the Reds is out of the question. After the vote, the possibility of what had been denied earlier, is considered and then rejected or practiced. In the latter case, the cooperation can avoid a formal alliance and operate on the level of silent support.
A general rule needs to be formulated. All parties, whether left or right of center, have a radical totalitarian fringe on their wings. The consequent refusal of cooperation with the extremist on their side of the political spectrum is a reoccurring temptation.
6. Would someone please hurry and come to protect the police? You learn something if you talk to policemen and watch for the between-the-lines revelations in reports about riots and actions against criminals. These cases tell that being a cop is as perilous as it is futile. For one thing, the persons on the other side can afford to be dangerous without paying the price as they are protected by old regulations that do not fit new situations. What this element might do to you is explained away by claims that they were under the influence of drugs, booze or in a state of general frustration. If you act against such persons and if, in the heat of a threat, you proceed utilizing the means at your disposal, you are in trouble. Suppose that you shoot and someone that had pointed a toy gun at you. You get the shaft because it was only a toy. How could you find out about the difference to the real thing? By waiting for the guy to click? In which case, depending on his skills, you might be dead if, what might have been a toy, turned out to be real. This is Russian roulette with a fully loaded chamber. The best thing that an investigation can conclude is that you were right. That, however, will only happen after a long procedure before a board of inquiry that handles you and the criminal as being of equal worth.
What are you to do if you and your partner are called to face a crowd armed with axes, knives, bats and are known to be likely to have firearms, too? Draw you weapon? You become guilty of aggravating a tense situation. Failing to demonstratively ready your means of violence at the outset, you might be clubbed or killed. Meanwhile, your attackers are likely to be protected by their lack of personal identity. Too bad for you if the group has official victim status because that will soften the inquiry until it has the hardness of an overcooked spaghetti.
Have you ever thought it through how it must feel to be a cop facing a crowd that throws at you Molotov cocktails, bricks and whatever that explodes or burns. This while you swing a baton and react by tear gas.
To cover yourself from the dangers of your reaction, even more from the consequences of the law that is not only impartial but also blind and in reality-denial, you have two solutions. One is short-term, the other is long-term. First, try to arrive late to the scene. Once the trouble is over you might be overdue. At the same time, you will also be freed of the risk that emanates out of the violence to which you are ordered to under-react. Being tardy helps to avoid the blame that follows if, you exerted the necessary counter violence. This investigation is more than just a bother. It is also an irritant given the fact that the impostors you had apprehended might be let go after a perfunctory scrutiny. Second, find another job.
Both personal solutions for the policeman’s dilemma have a significant and chilling social consequence. It is that the public that rightfully expects the state to protect it by using its monopoly of violence, decides to seek security elsewhere. This protection will come from essentially extra-legal forces.
When, for whatever reason, the state is incapable to protect the citizen (hello there, Arizona) in his rights, alternative organizations will fill the void. Society is quite capable to act spontaneously in its own behalf once civilization collapses and an order of Hobbesian lawlessness threatens to take over. This instinctive self-protection will produce paralegal “armies” that might be willing to act without regard for due process and proportionality. Their assertion of a semblance of “order” will even be supported by majorities once the alternative seems to be chaos.