97 (E) - Europe and its Meddling Mandarins

Peace at the detriment of personal and economical freedom. A view from Flanders.

I - When the founders of the current EU forged a common market for steel and coal (ECSC) back in the fifties, they had a much wider agenda. The European continent had suffered from two major devastating wars in just 30 years, with millions of victims. The German feeling that they were surrounded and economically crippled by the Versailles treaty fueled World War II in Europe. Let's cut the Nazi crap, Germany would have gone to war anyway.

The world changed a lot in the interbellum. The U.K. (Asia all over), France (Central and North Africa), Holland (Indonesia) even Belgium (Congo) had colonies and they had an access to the Atlantic to haul in the raw materials they needed so badly for their expanding industries and their trade. Unlike the vast U.S., no European country had raw materials autarky. Germany didn't have colonies. It was cut off from the ocean, apart from a tiny stretch of beach on the North Sea, - and both exits were controlled by the U.K, France and Norway. And it didn't have oil. Why did the U.S. occupy Iraq? Let's cut the WMD, dictatorship and democracy crap. It was oil.

Germany had to go to war, to survive, it needed Lebensraum, breathing space to keep up its identity. The founders of the EU (the ECSC as an embryo) were clever. Let's apply the autarky paradigm to the whole of Europe, let's tie the European economies together in such a way, that any future intra-European war would be a lose-lose operation. And of course let's forge European cartels to avoid price competition in coal and steel, let's keep prices high.

It started with coal and steel, it ended up with a free trade zone and with a common currency (Maastricht, 1992). Now, that's really tying together. The least one can say about the EU is that it phased out intra-European war for the last 60 years, a unique thing in known European history. But the founders had a profound political agenda too, they dreamed of a European Nation, with one flag, one common foreign policy and one common nationalism. Ein Volk,Ein Reich,Ein Fuhrer. Nothing new under the European sun. But what's more, one common socialism. One could wonder what Europe would have looked like when Hitler had won. The answer is probably, just the same. Immigration phobia included.

II - For the last 200-300 years, centralism and strong state regulation have been a major goal in the core EU, which is the German-French axis. It started with France that oppressed all its internal non-French national minorities and stifled its economical growth under Louis XIV by expelling the industrious Huguenots. The same happened with centralism and over regulation in China, 600 years ago, by the Meddling Mandarins. Only 150 years ago, Germany and Italy unified and embraced the French central model. Karl Marx might have been opposed to the powerful bourgeois capitalist class in the 19-th century, but he too, and even more, favored a strong centrally guided regulating state. And he brought in a new concept, which is socialism.

A hundred years ago, Liberté had faded away; Égalité and Fraternité had taken over under a vilified form called socialism. While the U.S. thrived under a mere market and economical interpretation of the ideals of the French revolution in its Minimal State, the U.S.S.R. imploded under centralism, total Maximal State regulation and the notion that wealth belongs to all, not to those that generate it. Fraternité had become Solidarité. The State should not enable and defend its citizens pursuit of happiness, it should provide it. Rammed down the throat. The Maximal State should distribute wealth, not generate it.

The core EU started with the continental centralist states. Birds of a feather flock together (the Elysée Treaty, 1963). L'Europe sera socialiste, ou elle ne sera pas. And the atlanticist maritime free traders of the U.K. didn't fit in the EU, as De Gaulle and Adenauer declared. Then enters the U.K. after all, but not whole-heartedly on either side. The U.K. was of course envious on the new opportunities in a large market, and it worried about the demon fought for centuries: a very large and strong continental state. If you can't beat them, join them (1973). But with a caveat, I want my money back (Fontainebleau, 1984).

III - It was 2003, and Old Europe with Berlusconi was in a hurry. Soon the atlanticist East-European countries would enter the EU, fatally strengthening the till then minorized U.K. eurosceptic view of EU. Not only economically, but also politically. Forget about a common foreign policy, about centralism, about a confederation. Just a free trade zone.
Enters the U.S. (never really been away). The U.S. recently assumed Great-Britain's role in undermining a competitive and strong continental European union. If you can't beat them, divide them, they obviously thought. That's why the U.S. favors Turkey's entry into the EU too, after all. Mission accomplished, the U.S. can sit back and watch Europe implode. That's why Old Europe was in such a rush to draft a future European Constitution. If we can't save the crown jewels (a Union of Soviet European Republics), let's at least save centralism and socialism, err... solidarity.

The draft was written as a pre-emptive strike by Valery Giscard d'Estaing and former trade-union aficionado Jean-Luc Dehaene. New Europe should just ratify it, not co-write it. Before the shares were diluted, the old board ensured its privileged shares. Regulation takes a lot of rules of course, so size does matter. The EU Constitution draft's size is XXL. So big and all encompassing that We the People are too moronic to understand it. We the politicians will just do it for you, at least in Belgium where we are denied a referendum on the draft.

So, can the U.S. really sit back watching the implosion of a feared global competitor in the making, as seems to be the wet dream of the CIA? No, they can't. They don't want a continental Yugoslavia when they barely can ensure their oil wells in and around Iraq, and keep the Iranians and the Koreans from their nuclear toys. You can throw 25M $ cruise missiles to 100 $ buildings for a while, but not all the time and everywhere. The U.S. just wants a friendly harmless giant Shrek with no balls. Strong enough to stifle the ethnic-religious-nationalist dynamite in West Eurasia, not strong enough to sail an independent political-military course and to ally with the real future global competitor, which is China.

And yes, the EU is crippled by many centrifugal tendencies and internal contradictions. The social(ist) security and over regulating framework won't hold up in the global market eventually. Demography is politics and Old Europe will be Islamic 50 years from now. New Europe (Poland for instance) is atlanticist, but of course they joined the EU to sit on the overloaded centralist redistributing banquets in Brussels. We are only in it for the money, as Frank Zappa said. And that doesn't go down well in Old Europe where the French and Germans face increasing budget deficits - the Brits still want their money back (also here) - and Greece, Spain and Portugal fear the dilution of their Brussels manna. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, has urged for a larger contribution of Old Europe to the EU budget. New Europe missed a good chance to remain silent, as French president Chirac said about the diverging views on the U.S. Iraq war, but they won't keep their silence forever as their economies grow faster than in Old Europe.

Europe's explosion has been predicted before nearly every new treaty or turning point. It's still around. Because the EU founding fathers back in the 50's and 60's succeeded marvelously well in their strategy. There simply is no alternative. The EU has passed the point of no return long ago. In the EU, you lose, outside the EU, you lose much more. Then, if there is no road back, what's the road ahead?

IV - In a remarkable book, "A Throne in Brussels", the equally remarkable Flemish journalist and libertarian atlanticist thinker Paul Belien outlines a possible scenario: the Belgianisation of Europe. Belien calls himself "Flanders most free journalist" in a comment on LVBlog, and regularly contributes to the Wall Street Journal. His view:

If Crown Princess Charlotte had not died in childbirth in 1817, she and her husband, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, would have succeeded to the British throne. But instead the great powers installed Leopold as king of Belgium - a new, artificial state inhabited by Catholic Dutch in the North, and French-speaking Walloons in the South. Belgium is sometimes compared to multilingual Switzerland, but whereas Switzerland grew organically, gradually creating a Swiss national consciousness, Belgium is an artificial state, in which two peoples were forced to live together and where no Belgian national consciousness developed. It could fall apart in the next ten years.

Paul Belien argues that the pan-European super-state currently in the making will resemble a 'Greater-Belgium' rather than a 'Greater-Switzerland', since Europe will also be an artificial construct. Belgium has infected EU political attitudes and acts as a model for the EU — a failed attempt to 'construct a nation' out of different peoples with separate languages and traditions. To learn what the EU as a single state might be like, take up this highly readable mix of history, analysis and warning. You'll never feel the same about Belgium again.

A Throne in Brussels


Paul Belien in English
LVBlog about the book (in Dutch)
U.S. can sit back and watch Europe implode
The Myth of Europe
Landmark dates in the EU
What Has Europe Ever Done For You?
Subsidiarity and the Illusion of Democratic Control
Hands off our rebate
Summit in the Air
"Go screw my grandmother"

Photo: (click to enlarge) Brave New Europe.

19:24 Gepost door VH | Permalink | Commentaren (2) |  Facebook |


some thoughts VH, I would tend to disagree. You state a.o.:

"But the founders had a profound political agenda too, they dreamed of a European Nation, with one flag, one common foreign policy and one common nationalism. Ein Volk,Ein Reich,Ein Fuhrer. Nothing new under the European sun. But what's more, one common socialism."

I would challenge the idea as if it was a founder's plot to turn Europe into a socialist superstate, at least from the beginning. There were 7 founding fathers, see also something I posted a while ago:

EU" target="_blank">http://downeastblog.blogspot.com/2004_04_25_downeastblog_archive.html">EU Founding Fathers

* Jean Monnet: I don't know his political leanings but since he came from a merchants milieu I'd doubt he was a socialist
* Robert Schuman: christian democrat
*Konrad Adenauer: christian democrat
*PH Spaak: socialist
*Jan Willem Beyen: partyless (technocrat)
*Joseph Bech: conservative
*Alcide de Gasperi: christian democrat

As you can see it was rather a christian democratic thingy, NOT a socialist one. Also, IMHO the main thrust in those days was provided by Monnet, whom I admire very much.

Personally, I'm ALL for a strong Europe (which is why I like Monnet so much, even during WWII he was advocating the idea of a unified Europe), since I consider it the only way to secure European rights in a world ruled by blocs. And I would very much see a Grand Transatlantic Alliance of USA and USE take shape. Now I don't see that happen with a USE ruled by socialists, but for that reason I don't condemn the rationale behind a European Union.

I mean, it's not because Arena has her HQ in a soundly designed building that one has to condemn the building, if you get what I mean. One should make a distinction between the building and those who occupy it.

Gepost door: The Outlaw Michael Cosyns | 06-03-05

afterthought Also, I think that the credit for keeping Europe at peace with itself has to go as much to NATO as to the ECCS/EEC/EU.

Probably even more to NATO than to EU. When one looks at the European treaties, one does not discern immediately clauses inhibiting war between member states (I may be wrong about that though, since, admitted, I did not check it out thoroughly).

On the other hand, NATOs basic rules EXCLUDE war between member states.

Gepost door: The Outlaw Michael Cosyns | 06-03-05

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